Evan Davies is running a one man campaign to inform us that maintaining public sector pension provision is both affordable and a moral imperative! Listen to the petulant tone he adopts in this interview with Treasury Minister Justine Greening as he doggedly tries to get her to say that it is wrong to suggest that the gilt-edged public sector pensions are in any way “unaffordable”. His semantic point is neither here nor there and yet he made it the main focus of the interview. Greening should have been more direct and simply pointed out that since Labour devastated private sector pension provision (to the complete indifference of the comrades at the BBC) then the public sector must now pay part of the consequences. It is immoral to expect the private sector workers to retire on a pittance in order to ensure that public sector workers – like BBC employees -can continue to enjoy their bloated pension benefits. Whatever happened to we are all in this together, eh?

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  1. Ian says:

    Surely the BBC privatisation bill should cap pension entitlements at a reasonable level….heh heh heh


  2. Backwoodsman says:

    I heard this and thought the beeboid was demented in his insistence that a section of a report shows that the cost of public sector pensions has peaked and that therefore there is no problem. He absolutely refused to move from this contention.
    Beeboids really don’t seem to grasp the reality that ordinary tax payers have said to their MPs,  ‘enough, it ain’t fair, fix it !’


  3. Umbongo says:

    Greening is supposed to be one of the more assertive of the CINOs.  If she is happy to accept Evan’s semantic nit-picking then the game really is up.  Or is it just semantics?

    Greening could have shut Evan up by saying that the distinction between “unacceptable” and “untenable” is a distinction without a difference.  Public pensions are untenable because they’re unacceptable.  This has nothing to do with them being a reducing part of GDP (if that is actually so); this is all to do with it being next to impossible to obtain the pension benefits of public sector workers in the real (ie non-governmental) world.  So public pensions being a “reducing” part of GNP is flim-flam.

    Were public sector pensions to be costed properly it would be immediately obvious that a substantial part of the liability for the benefits is off balance sheet (sound familiar?).  Were insurance companies or private sector pension schemes required to provide all the benefits of public sector pensions, the premiums would be prohibitive and/or the liabilities on the insurance companies would be crippling.

    Of course Evan knows this – but, in the world of BBC double-think – he also doesn’t know this and is in denial.  Greening either knows and (so as not to look “nasty” in Dave’s eyes) is concealing her knowledge or, worse and more probable, the civil servants briefing her have concealed the reality.

    The strike of the parasites tomorrow is a knife aimed not at Dave but at those working in the private sector or private sector pensioners.  Remember every penny paid to the public sector  (whether in pay or pensions) is provided by the wealth-creating part of the economy.  Just because public sector pay packets may be reduced by an amount in respect of what are called “pension contributions” just means – in most cases- that the worker in question is getting less than his/her stated salary.  In reality there is a wholly notional contribution (much like national insurance which, to a private sector employer, for example, is a real tax and in the public sector is an exercise in bookkeeping).  There are public sector pension schemes which are funded but, mostly public worker schemes are pay as you go just like NI ie Ponzi schemes underwritten by the taxpayer.  Accordingly, those striking tomorrow are, for the most part, insisting that the swindle on the productive continues.  I fear that Dave will (eventually) agree with them.


    • MarkE says:

      I have found on a couple of other forums people confusing contributory with funded.  I understand many state employees are in contributory schemes in that they are required to pay something each month which is described as a pension contribution.  Few if any however are funded, which would require the contributions to be held in a fund that would be used to buy an annuity when the employee retires and draws their pension.

      It is possible of course that some state employees have a semi legitimate grievance in that they are seeing the terms and conditions of their employment changed, and it is not being handled as gently as perhaps they would like.  My sympathy is not great however as they are only suffering the same as those of us in the productive sector, and they did make a choice to seek employment with the most corrupt and unethical employer available to them.


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        Funny I don’t remember the BBC getting too excercised back when Gordon Brown dipped his fingers into private sector pensions.  I also don’t remember all these union mandarins and economics experts complaining about severe public sector cuts back when Mr. Brown was going to do it.

        The BBC’s coverage of this subject is a biased joke.


    • London Calling says:

      No-one seems to get the full picture of this.

      Public sector pensions are nominally contributory – my Civil service payslips showed 6% or whatever deducted for pension. Since that money never existed,and was never invested, it merely cut the cost of the Government employing me by 6%.

      The same story for the 14% employer contribution to my civil service pension. Smoke and mirrors. It never existed, was never invested, Mickey Mouse money. The cost of paying out my pension now is merely current expenditure by government in current year from current year tax revenue.

      “But”, as the BBC loves to add, the Private Sector employees lost all these golden pension arrangements long ago, as unaffordable and uncompetitive. As a result of which, goods produced by the private sector are CHEAPER than they would otherwise have been had their pensions been maintained.

      When a Public Sector worker buys a car or a chocolate bar, he benefits from cheaper goods because their price is lower because of private sector pension cuts.

      They want to benefit from cheaper private sector goods, paid for with bloated public sector pensions paid for by the people who lost theirs..

      Contribute more and work longer? I suggest the unions consider the third option: tell their member to stop living so long.


  4. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Davies sets up the segment by stating that the cuts are “severe”, and everything else is based on that premise.  Yet it’s false.  And the semantic argument of “affordable” was a very clever method of dressing up class war.  Very clever.  “Is it fair….blah, blah, blah….pooblic sector worker…blah, blah, blah.”

    And I think in BBC doublespeak, “it’s complicated” means “the other side is wrong if they have an answer you can understand”.  Greening never had a chance.


    • Craig says:

      Even worse, he said “very severe”!

      After all the loaded build-up, the interview proper with Justine began at 3.35 into the clip and ended at 7.56, an interview lasting 4 mins 21 secs. Counting up all the time Evan Davis spent talking shows that he talked for precisely 2 mins 7 secs of that interview. That’s 49% of the interview. She really didn’t have a chance.


      • Umbongo says:


        You’re being rather generous to Greening.  Of course she had a chance.  She could have asked Evan to stop talking so she could answer his questions.  She could also have complained about his intro to the interview and his hectoring during the interview.  She didn’t.  Sure Evan is biased – and she knows that he’s biased (it’s Today after all) – but when the interviewee effectively asks to be kicked then it’s hard to blame Evan when he starts kicking her.


        • Craig says:

          True. And she could have objected when he interrupted her first answer to say that they hadn’t got a lot of time, having just spent nearly four minutes teeing up the interview.


        • The Cattle Prod of Destiny says:

          Apologies if this sounds rude but you really have missed the point, by quite a way.
          Evans tactics are purely concerned with preventing the Tory, whichever one it is, from getting the message out to the public. Interruptions break the train of thought, irrelevant asides send them down blind alleys. Long convoluted questions eat up time and are intended to confuse the listener.
          If the Tory complains then, not only do they often sound petulant, but the interview then becomes an argument about interruptions and the message is blocked.
          Attempting to ignore the interviewer and ploughing on regardless makes them sound like Arthur Scargil.

          They can’t and don’t win.


  5. Phil says:

    Evans is right to say the current public sector pension schemes aren’t ‘unaffordable’. We can afford them so long as we all continue pay through the nose for them through our taxes.

    To Evans, the BBC and all the public sector this is an entirely justifiable and correct state of affairs.

    These days those employed by the public seem to have such a high opinion of themselves and a low opinion of the rest of us as we greedily grub for profit.

    They seem to loathe everything about the real economy, but they are keen to grab more of their fair share of the money it makes.


  6. George R says:

    “BBC News Channel may cut costs by switching to solo anchor on weekdays”

    BBC-NUJ staff admit: there’d be the same output with half staff.



  7. geewiz says:

    From Amazon on the book ”Ed” by Hasan and Macintyre.

    “In this biography, based on interviews with scores of his friends, critics and colleagues, two of Britain s finest young political journalists penetrate far beyond the prevailing gossip and hearsay to provide an illuminating portrait of the youngest Labour leader in the party’s history. Writing with verve and acuity, the authors provide the first authoritative account of Miliband’s dramatic rise to power” –Jonathan Dimbleby.

    Any bets as to how many free plugs this will get on the totally unbiased (bwahahaha)BBC? Their support of socialist nutjobs is unrelenting.


    • Craig says:

      At least two plugs so far geewiz. Jon Sopel helped Mehdi Hasan plug it over a week ago on The Politics Show, bringing it into the conversation, and Hasan was on Breakfast the day before and brought it up himself. I’ve not been watching/listening to much politics in the last couple of weeks, so there’s doubtless been more.


  8. My Site (click to edit) says:

    Would dearly love to see this ‘discussed’ by Today or Newsnight using one of those twofer set-ups they hold so dear.

    Say, a low-paid private sector employee who is just glad to have a job that puts food on the table this weekend, with the need for her to work longer and pay more tax explained from the other side by this guy:


    One is sure Evan’s ‘crack’ is much more modest.


  9. Roland Deschain says:

    I didn’t hear Justine Greening’s interview yesterday.  But you’d think Francis Maude might have bothered to, before going on this morning’s Today.

    Because he didn’t seem to have a clue how to deal with Evan Davies’s points regarding the cost of public pensions being affordable and having peaked.  I can only assume the report does say that, although as has been said above, that isn’t the issue.  The issue is those in the private sector who cannot afford a decent pension being made, through their taxes, to continue contributing to generous public sector pensions.


    • Umbongo says:

      BTW, as I assume you also noticed, Serwotka took a back seat in the Today “discussion”.  Evan quickly became impatient with Serwotka’s inability to make an intelligent point and proceeded to argue with Maude and put forward aggressively the (lame) points that Serwotka was brought into the studio to deliver.  At the finish Serwotka summed up the discussion between Maude and Evan with an ad hominem point against Maude.  To this listener it was a straightforward argument between Maude and the TU advocate – Davis – with Serwotka holding the ring.  And, yes, Maude was next to useless.  He achieved his aim of not appearing “nasty” but, thereby, avoiding any killer arguments: hence my fear of a government cave-in on this one.

      BTW why has no government representative suggested that, OK, if the proposed changes in the public sector pension schemes are so awful (and “no change” is so cheap), the obvious solution is for the government to deduct no pension “contributions” from public sector workers and allow the Ponzi beneficiaries to buy their own pensions in the real world?  To answer my own question, it’s because the government and the unions know (but are scared to admit) that such a solution would result in severely smaller pensions and/or that the government top-up to maintain the present pension chracteristics would make the wealth destruction of taxpayer contributions to prop up the EU and the sun/wind energy scams look like pocket money.


  10. cjhartnett says:

    The Coalition are hopeless-maybe even deliberately so at times.
    That said, Gove was the very voice of sweet reason on Martha Kearneys brownie bake of a show this lunchtime. Must be a tactic…if you let an Evan Davis win his swordfight in the showers every morning, you`re either intellectually dead or just not cut out for politics. 
    Why must it take a Nick Robinson to remind Evan etc about their own pensions at the BBC?
    I`m afradi the Greenings, Spelmans, Maudes, Mays are the reason that the Tories are still unelectable…I used to hate the Tebbits of the world, but I was wrong…he, Lawson , Widdicombes are giants in comparison to most of Camerons chums.
    That said though, the Davies lads, Raab, Carswell and the might Hannan give me great hope…a few years on should be much better, and the BBC will be on the gurney once the next crop comes through!


    • MarkE says:

      The Coalition are hopeless-maybe even deliberately so at times.

      I think the idiot Cameron has painted himself into a corner with his determination not to be seen as “nasty”.  In the real world you are often faced with having to admit to a nasty truth (public sector pension are unaffordable by taxpayers deliberately impoversihed by Brown’s malice) or tell a “nice” but obvious lie (we’re all better off than we’ve ever been, and getting even better, there is no debt or deficit and we’ll all be farting into silk before the end of this parliament).

      Honest politicians wanted to be respected but accepted they would never be loved, or even liked.  Crooks and charlatans like Blair and Cameron want to be loved and hide, crying, under the table if faced with having to do something that means someone, somewhere loves them less.  I’ll let them into a secret; I do not love you.  I also do not hate you, because I have never hated a man (nor, incidently, loved a woman) I despised.