Wednesday, 7 July 2010

'Courageous' Herald backing for IoD!

Here is a letter I submitted to the Herald in response to their over-the-top promotion of the IoD/IER Pensions Commission report today. I suspect  that (if published at all) it will be heavily edited to take out crits of their editorial decisions. So here it is in full.

That the Institute of Directors is claiming that public sector pensions are ‘unaffordable’, is hardly news - they have been attacking public service pensioners ever since they destroyed decent pensions for their own workforces, while hanging onto their own gold-plated pensions. 
That they have combined with the right wing Institute for Economic Affairs to form a ‘commission’ in order to have another vehicle to propagate these attacks is - at best - a minor item of news.
That the misinformation this then produces is deemed worthy of a front page lead, an analysis piece and an editorial suggests serious editorial misjudgement. 
Many adjectives could be used to describe the report from this ‘commission’ - ‘one-sided’, ‘hypocritical’, ‘biased’ might all be considered. ‘Independent’ however, is so far from reality as to make one question who has produced the description.
That The Herald - previously a paper that prided itself on its fairness - has been a willingly accomplice in all this, makes me deeply worried for the future of news reporting.
At a time when concern amongst all pensioners is high, this kind of misreporting is hugely unfair to the many public sector workers and pensioners (with pensions averaging less than £5k per annum) who rely on your paper for balanced information.
It doesn’t seem that the sudden leap of previous editor-in-chief, Donald Martin to the Sunday Post, has not changed the overall ‘anti-public-sector’ line of The Herald. I am not clear whether new e-i-c, Jonathan Russell has yet arrived from the Record/Sunday Mail, but it appears that Tim Blott does not want too much change.
Given the traditionally high level of Herald readership amongst white-collar public sector staff, a decision to have triple-pronged attacks on their much valued pensions in their paper could be seen as ‘courageous’ - in the Sir Humphrey sense of the word!!

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