Cameron’s quite the Grand Old Duke of York

June 19th, 2011

As Oscar Wilde noted, losing one parent is a disaster, losing two is distinctly careless.   Cameron might reflect on that.   Backing off one policy may be serious, but backing off six, as he has done over the last few weeks, is beginning to look like a rather careless life-style.   The latest one, yesterday, beating a hasty retreat from Danny Alexander’s ill-advised attempt to lay down the law with the unions over public sector pensions whilst still supposedly in the middle of negotiations, is perhaps the most careless of all – an own goal which gratuitously exposed the Government’s weakness.   There has been bitter (and justified) resentment from women, especially those born 1953-4, about the gross unfairness of abruptly raising the retirement age when they were already so close to it, but the complaints got nowhere – until Alexander’s intransigence coalesced against him the biggest strike threat for a century.   Within a day the Government caved in.   We must thank Alexander for so brilliantly highlighting the reviving role of the unions.   But there’s still more to it. (more…)