A socialist tory in pensions

Following my outing as a “tory” I feel empowered to use the word again within a blog title!

I mentioned last week to a colleague of mine, one Henry Tapper (all round nice guy and someone I’ve grown to like a lot over the last year), that I recently stood for election. “Really?” he responded, “For what party?”. I thought about just telling him but wondered where he thought my views stood given what he knew about me. “Have a guess!” I therefore retorted. It then went as follows:

“Labour?”
“No”
“Liberal democrats?”
“No”
“Greens?”
“Certainly not”
“Communists?”
“No!”
“Surely not the conservative party?”
“Yes”
“But you’re a socialist!!”

I firmly believe that we’re all socialist – nobody would ever suggest a complete removal of taxation and public services no matter how “right-wing” they were! I had a suspicion Henry would guess as he did though given my views on pensions; a defender of collective defined benefit schemes and maintaining these in the public sector.

My underlying political views are of minimal government interference and simplicity. The world should have as little regulation as possible and markets will automatically solve many problems. The government is there to step in where things don’t work as efficiently as they should and pensions is a great example of this. However we currently step in at the wrong place. As such we have ended up with a combination of over regulation and an encouragement of market principles in something where there isn’t really a market!

Remove the regulatory burden and the crazy bond market principles and occupational pensions can thrive once again.