Yesterday's demonstration by Equitable Life pensioners outside Parliament represented another stage in the long march to justice for all the pensioners let down by the Government's failure to regulate and even worse its failure to come clean when it became all too clear to those in the know that Equitable Life had a problem.
The Gurkhas' cause was championed by Nick Clegg just as Vince Cable has led the current charge on Equitable Life. The Gurkhas had the formidable support of Joanna Lumley. The Equitable pensioners have former Avengers star Honor Blackman in their corner, and jolly nice it was to have my photo taken with her at yesterday's event. There are as many as 1100 Equitable pensioners in the St Albans District alone. Some have lost a shedload of money.
My own losses from two separate schemes have been relatively small - but I still wonder why a government can bail out irresponsible bankers, and fully compensate people who invested in Icelandic banks, and yet treat with contempt people who wholly responsibly saved for their old age in the mistaken belief that the regulatory system would ensure the company was well run. The Government is offering a pitiful level of compensation aimed at those deemed to be in greatest need - ie a charitable donation rather than a recognition that there should be straight compensation for their failure to provide adequate oversight.
Yesterday's event saw excellent speeches from Vince Cable, David Davies and Fabian Hamilton in Westminster Central Hall and then I helped steward the procession to the east end of Westminster Abbey where we all assembled round a stack of 15 coffins designed to represent the 15 Equitable pensioners who die each day while waiting for proper compensation. As well as tv crews and newspaper photographers, we got a lot of support from passing traffic sounding their horns. The words on my black T-shirt in the photo read "Another 15 Equitable pensioners died today waiting for justice." It got a lot of curious looks from fellow travellers when I came home on the tube and train. The fight will continue and in the end, just as with the Gurkhas, the Government will fold.