A couple of comments to deal with. Reader David Richards wrote:
Nick, why is it necessary, on your part, to trivialise this important debate by characterising it as a soap opera?
Not my phrase, David. The prime minister dismissed it as a "soap opera" - hence the inverted commas.
Reader Shug wrote:
Nick, Do you feel this latest spat between TB and GB is based on political principles or is just political posturing.
Both. Gordon Brown is dubious of the claims that a big increase in the state pension is the way to solve "the pensions crisis". He believes that the stock market's bounce back and the strength of the housing market will underpin private savings. He's also genuinely worried re the long term cost and would rather spend the billions involved on others things - such as his aim to increase spending in state schools to the level in private schools.