Copyright © 2016 Steve Bee All rights reserved

Have you heard of the ‘unstoppable ball and the unbreakable wall’ paradox?

so what would? what what would what? would happen if an unstoppable ball were to hit an unbreakable wall. oh, right...

…well, either the wall would break or the ball would stop. that’s the flaw in the paradox really… …that an unstoppable force and an immovable object... …simply cannot co-exist. so if there is …there such a thing as an irresistible force... cannot also be such a thing as an immovable object. ?

…about why are we talking about this? Oh, it’s just something I read in the newspaper this morning... the WASPI campaign hiring lawyers to take legal action against the DWP. it Seems to me The WASPI campaign has grown into something of an irresistible force. but excuse me a minute, i’ve just got to explain something to the readers. Hi! so nice to see you - not that I can see you, obviously, but you know what I mean... …this is just to quickly explain that this is a new kind of comic strip i’m experimenting with that contains hyperlinked objects. if you click on the newspaper in the first panel up there, for instance, it will link you to the newspaper report so you can read it too. why are you talking to yourself? we’re what readers? i’m not; I was talking to the readers. the readers of this comicstrip. in a comicstrip? yeah, sort of.

but getting back to the not again? I thought you were going to concentrate on your fine art stuff in future. I am! i’m still working on my Giclee prints, it’s just that i’m still doing a few cartoonstrips too. raising debates in Parliament is one thing, but if the answer to every question is always ‘no’ then other avenues would clearly have to be examined and tested. WASPI thing - I think that the campaign has now risen to national notice and sooner or later things were bound to come to a head. but do you it’s increasingly seemed inevitable that it would end up like this - testing the unstoppable ball against the unbreakable wall. think WASPI really is an unstoppable force? it seems so to me, and being tacitly mentioned in last week’s there was nowhere else for the argument to go. and WASPI are all over the media all the time too! interim report on the state pension indicates others see it the same way as I do. A good example of i’m not their support is that I wrote an article on Linkedin a year ago explaining the WASPI issue and it had 12,000 people read it. being funny, but the pension stuff I write does well if 12 people read it - to get 12,000 to do so means the topic is widely followed out there.

…I you can read the article on my phone if you don’t believe me… and so can you if you click on the phone in the last panel. also wrote this other piece recently too and thousands of people have read that as well. you may also have noticed the coloured text in the word balloon on the last page that’s clickable too. a large part of the problem rests with the now famous 1995 pensions act. many more people these days now know that was the act of parliament that introduced the equalisation of state pension ages for men and women… …but back in 1995 I remember the big news story generated by that particular act was the maxwell scandal. that it would seems to me to indicate a real problem with the way pension acts are stacked with stuff covering various aspects of pensions all at the same time. have been a lot better if the pensions act addressing the maxwell issue hadn’t also been used to introduce a fundamental change to the state pension system. the newspapers had the maxwell story plastered all over their front pages. for years it was the big media story on uk pensions. Why the WASPI campaigner s are right to complain WASPI and the state pension system

even it was the four years later when I made that appearance on the jeremy Clarkson show, which was as close to light entertainment that pensions ever got… …the maxwell issue was mentioned at length. one pension topic that you could rely on most people having heard about in those days so it needed no explanation. the same wasn’t true about the raising of the state pension age for women though. for it to have few people would have known about that at that time. been generally known it would have had to have made the papers in the way the maxwell stuff did. but I think any attempt to get another pension story out in the media in those days would have been very difficult. …and that eventually it for me, at that time, my main concern was that the basic state pension was becoming worth less and less every year... would become just that; worthless. That was the issue I chose to bring up on the clarkson show that night. I thought it was an important issue that ordinary people needed to understand.

that was a but even that wasn’t the only big pension issue back then - I spent most of the next seven years campaigning to get the government to look at the way means-testing undermined private pension savings. hard message to get across at that time… because the government and the whole pensions industry were fixated on the new proposals to completely rewrite the pension tax laws. the …to what ‘simplification’ of pensions was the only show in town in the runup to 2006… were called the ‘A-Day’ reforms. a-day was sort of like a pensions version of d-day… …except we lost! but all of those issues that had consumed the pension industry for a decade and a half were soon overshadowed by the then government’s next big idea… …autoenrolment.

that issue, which required the end of the state second it is a major undertaking that will affect almost everyone in pension, was probably the most fundamental reform to our pension system for over 100 years. the country and although the reforms were started in 2012 they are still being rolled out today in 2016… …and will not be completed until we get into the early 2020s. those …to reforms were considered important enough to merit … …an expensive and high-profile national advertising campaign… ensure people hear about them. but even so, I still meet plenty of people today who have never heard of autoenrolment. the fact is getting messages out about pensions isn’t easy at the best of times... …and it certainly hasn’t been easy over the last twenty years as we’ve seen such a quick succession of fundamental changes coming one after the other. by the first decade of the 21st century the government must have thought that the equalisation of pension ages was something that people weren’t too bothered about...

…after all, the 1995 they must have changes had gone through without anyone kicking up a fuss. been encouraged by that and thought that accelerating the proposed increases to the new joint state pension age... …wouldn’t be a big issue. that but what they probably didn’t expect was that the implementation of the accelerated timetable in 2011... those most immediately affected were women born in the 1950s... …some of them saw their …would be the first time many people would have heard about the original changes made back in 1995... …and by the time they found out there …and given that, it’s hardly surprising some of them did make a fuss about it. was little or nothing any of them could do to accommodate such a seismic shift in their previous lifetime financial plans. state pension age leap forward six years further into the future... …but the incredible thing that happened was that it coalesced into a movement under the name of women against state pension inequality - better known now as waspi… … a movement started by just a few ordinary people who thought things should have been done better by the powers that be. there was widespread disenchantment with the way the changes to the state pension age were implemented was obvious...

this was one of those times when things like this had ordinary people came to understand the way the pension system in our country works - and they didn’t like what they saw. happened before, when the Maxwell scandal broke, for instance, and ordinary people became aware their company pensions were not secure. …but the that movement too garnered a fair share of media space with its campaign to help those stripped of their pensions… WASPI issue is bigger than that - much bigger - as it concerns the state pension entitlement to which we all contribute. it goes to the core of what we think national insurance is all about. what the socalled waspi women have done is more akin to what the “made in dagenham” women did in the 1960s. they have highlighted an issue that affects all of us. perhaps there’ll be a film made about the waspi women some day? …I do hope so. well, perhaps so… …perhaps so.

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