Taxpayers could be on the hook for tens of billions of pounds to cover a string of privatised companies’ pension schemes after the precedent set by BT’s landmark “crown guarantee” victory.
What next, I wonder?
Yes, trillions of pounds. Somewhere between £4,800,000,000,000 and £7,900,000,000,000. That is, up to about £300,000 for every household in Britain.
Much of this comprises unfunded pension liabilities, so default or inflation would be particularly wicked.
Worse, even funded pension schemes hold government debt, meaning that private pension schemes also rely on the State. Vast swathes of the population are relying on someone else being taxed later.
The idea that the State can underwrite BT’s pension scheme is a denial of the facts. And yet, as Disraeli wrote, “Despair is the conclusion of fools.”
If we are to find a hopeful path between denial and despair, then, sooner or later, we must reinvent this country. We must stop lending to the State and start saving by investing in productive activity. Everyone who can is going to have to seek to live at their own expense. The State will have to get out of the way and let the entrepreneurs – and that is all of us – turn our fortunes around by searching creatively for opportunities to produce value for others.
- Peace – a consistent doctrine of non-aggression.
- The family as the basic building block of society, not the State.
- Equality before the law, not after it.
- Freedom from arbitrary government – the classical Rule of Law.
- Property – the unity of ownership and control.
No doubt we must rediscover virtue too, but the law cannot deliver that.
A forthcoming Channel 4 documentary will explain our situation and make the case for the reinvention of Britain. I contributed a substantial interview, although I do not know the extent to which it will be used. Its working title is Britain: The Horror Movie. It will be transmitted sometime this Autumn
In the meantime, I recommend Bastiat, who wrote:
The state is the great fiction by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.