Breakups are often difficult, but that seems to be the end of the relationship between the Conservative Party and pensioners. It seems their usefulness has come to an end, the Tories have their majority in Parliament, it was the pensioner vote which delivered Brexit. Now the Tories are free to scrap the triple lock on pensions, make the winter fuel allowance means-tested so that some pensioners will no longer receive it, and make some pensioners pay more for care in their own home.
Will this mean the rekindling of the old flame with Labour? We will have to wait until 8 June to see. The party of Jeremy Corbyn has said it will keep the triple lock, and it wants to invest money to create an integrated health and social care system.
Labour still looks fondly back to the old days. Labour created the bus pass. And the winter fuel payments. Not forgetting pension credit, which did so much to help less well-off pensioners. Or Labour’s greatest creation, the NHS. Labour is often criticised for spending money, but in our new hospitals, and the extra doctors and nurses, we can all see the difference Labour made.
It is often forgotten that it was Labour who said pensions would increase by a minimum of inflation or £2.50 a week, and the Conservatives who abolished the link with earnings in 1981. That was two years after Margaret Thatcher came to power and found she didn’t want the pensioners vote either. The nasty party always needs to keep up its reputation.
The social care system will continue to be unfair
The proposal to provide free social care at the point of use, but tie this to a property and to be repaid after death, will ensure unfairness continues in the social care sector. I firmly believe that private care providers will ramp up their fees, knowing full well they will recoup it from the estate.
Far from being fair, or friendly, this is the nuclear option which will only benefit care providers. Already many disabled people miss out on care, because authorities are already rationing services, often denying people who genuinely need support, due to financial pressures brought on by the Government.
There will be hard choices for families to make in terms of caring for elderly and sick relatives, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Or does it?
Of course winter fuel payments should be means-tested
Of course the winter fuel allowance should be means-tested. I realise those on basic pensions need it and should receive it but I feel embarrassed when it drops into my bank and ensure it is redirected to charity. If you were able and lucky enough to have a job that allowed you to accrue a pension, start thinking of those who were not able to for whatever reason (and not everyone chose to spend their cash on other things – there simply was not enough around to save for old age).
Has anyone visited an NHS hospital recently and checked the average age of the patients unable to be discharged, waiting for care packages to be sorted? If you have the cash, give some to the kids now. After helping mine in a small way at crucial times in their life they would rather see my cash being used for my care if/when needed than being tucked away for them to enjoy when I have died.
Theresa May has morphed into a red Tory
The Tories’ 2017 manifesto is a curate’s egg of quasi-socialism and bizarrely shooting themselves in the foot with parents of small children and pensioners.
What was needed was a robustly Thatcherite retort to Jeremy Corbyn’s swivel-eyed Utopianism. What we got was a hammering of just-managing middle-wealth OAPs and robbing first school lunches to pay for cereal with sums. All this waffle without a clearly blue-flagged central political or economic philosophy to fire up the electorate.
Never mind, with the current grim state of the opposition parties, May could probably have published the Kingston upon Hull telephone department directory from 1976 as her manifesto and still win a landslide on 8 June.
The jobs figures are misleading
What is so wonderful about all the jobs created in the economy when so many people doing them need to resort to food banks to feed themselves?
What is Scottish Labour doing?
It is hard to fathom the extent of Scottish Labour’s death wish. Expelling councillors for going into coalition with conservatives is incomprehensible, unless one has a particularly tribal approach to politics. The pretext of “austerity” will not wash. It seems not to trouble the Labour leadership that Labour councillors enter coalitions with SNP members who belong to the party whose solitary aim is to inflict austerity on Scotland. For that is what separation from our partners in the UK would mean.
There are times when Kezia Dugdale sounds like a doughty defender of the union. And then there are times when she and Labour sound as if they are crypto-nationalists. This flip-flopping is not going to reassure pro-union voters that Labour is reliably anti-separatist. Scotland badly needs a strong Labour party, but this kind of conduct is counterproductive to that.