Never heard of Andy Cook? Me neither, until this week.
He’s the man responsible for the plan to make people work until 75 before they get the state pension.
He’s the brains behind the policy paper for the so-called Centre for Social Justice, because his boss Iain Duncan Smith isn’t very good with the long words.
He’s also the man who once said “the poor don’t need more money,” so you can see where he’s coming from.
Downing Street said the Government “has no plans” to implement IDS’s latest attack on the welfare state. They would say that, wouldn’t they?
That’s what lying David Cameron said about higher VAT in the 2010 election, before hiking it to 20% immediately afterwards.
Cook didn’t return my call to the CSJ, but one of his minions admitted: “We are beginning the process of briefing MPs and government ministers now.”
This is how we got the hated Universal Credit and the Bedroom Tax. First, Tory “think-tanks” float a hard-line policy, to soften up public opinion. Then comes the ritual denial. And finally, it is imposed.
Naturally, conspirator Cook won’t have to work into his seventies.
As CSJ chief executive he’ll be on an impressive six-figure salary. He also commands hefty fees as a “motivational speaker” and “advises” unnamed wealthy philanthropists.
But he knows sweet Fanny Adams about ageing, and clearly cares less. His plan is clear class discrimination, because workers in labour-intensive jobs can’t toil into their mid-seventies.
Septuagenarian train, bus and lorry drivers with diminished reaction times? Firefighters hobbled by arthritis running up ladders? Elderly nurses struggling on after a lifetime on the wards? No!
Besides, the state pension is not welfare. Workers buy their retirement income with National Insurance payments over a minimum of 35 years.
Better than anyone, Mirror readers know pensions at 75 would mean hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – will never live to claim what they have paid for, and is rightfully theirs.
But that’s the cynical calculation behind this cruel initiative: roll back public spending, whatever the cost to those who can least afford it.