Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Take from the young, give to the elderly - good politics, but terrible leadership

The Prime Minister is continuing his elderly voter giveaway ahead of the election. This may be good politics, but it is terrible leadership. The UK should expect more from its Prime Minster than simple Tammany Hall politics.

I've previously blogged about Osborne's pensioner giveaway, signing us up to £500m more in interest payments on our national debt than the market required. This was in effect paid for by scrapping Child Trust Funds. Money taken away from the young, and given to the elderly.

Now we have a commitment to no means testing of pensioner benefits. So the winter fuel allowance, free bus passes, and TV licences will continue to be funded for those on final salary pension schemes, with a Jag in the driveway and a Sky Sports subscription.

For comparison, this is the government that scrapped the means-tested Education Maintenance Allowance for those aged 16-19, introduced a decidedly cack-handed means testing of child benefit, and withdrew funding from SureStart.

Many commentators suggest that policy choices such as this reflect the fact that the elderly turn out to vote and the young do not. Many even fawningly applaud the leaders for smart 'politics'. However, many of the young people affected by cuts cannot vote. They are the under 18s, and they need leaders to have a view beyond the next election cycle.

This is why it is terrible leadership. It is pandering to those that can vote, at the expense of those who cannot. 

The young need political leaders to stand up for them, protect them, and invest in their future. They are not enfranchised to do this themselves. Cameron and Osborne have instead decided that power itself is more important than what you do with it, and are mortgaging their future to buy off voting pensioners this May.

I'm reminded of a Mr Burns quote from the Simpsons, at a time when there was a power shortage in Springfield,
"We've syphoned extra power off from the orphanage. Who are they going to complain to? Their parents?"

1 comment:

  1. Peter, your Simpsons quote would be funny if it were not so apt. Sadly older people are also about to be robbed: The big pension cash-in goes completely against the principle of encouraging people to prepare pensions for when they are no longer working. Financial institutions are gearing up to give people a pittance for their valuable pension rights. This Government is opening the door to asset stripping of every kind, lets hope the electorate shut the door firmly in their face this May.