John Ralfe, an independent pensions expert, is convinced that the National Union of Teachers has misled members in a fact sheet it gave them ahead of today’s strike.
The NUT insist that their wording is correct; not being a pensions guru, I can only present the two sides of the argument.
The key bit is near the top of the second page, “How much longer does the government want me to work?” The document says that older teachers will be affected: “Anyone aged 57 or less would have to work to 66 and anyone aged 42 or less to 67 (to get their teachers’ pension in full.)”
I’ve spent a very long half-hour at Methodist Central Hall to soak up the “strike” vibes. There were all the usual trimmings; hand-made flags, people outside playing the drums and lots of strong rhetoric, viz, the government has a “loaded gun” to the heads of teachers et cetera.
Most interesting, however, was the thoroughly negative response to even the mention of Ed Miliband, who has sat right on the fence over today’s one-day action.
George Osborne has just announced that, for the first time since 1760, the royal household will be paid not by a set grant from the government but through a proportion (15 per cent) of the net revenue of the crown estate.
It is a change Prince Charles has been campaigning for for years, and if the crown estate has a good year, could provide a bumper pay out for the royal family.
For quote of the day, few will match Boris Johnson on Today this morning as he discussed the strikes – referring to his role as the token right-winger calling for a clampdown on the unions:
“It’s like some kind of Indonesian puppet theatre and I’m kept in the wings and wheeled on like some kind of ogre to say this terrifying play that old Johnson has, we’ll do it unless you shape up. People really need to start thinking seriously about it.”