Pensions – Timing is Crucial

by | Apr 30, 2015

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Kapow! Steve Bee Reaches for the Popcorn


I have a bunch of grandchildren these days who, I am glad to say, share some of my interests. Two of them are justeve beest as keen to watch old Tom and Jerry films as I was when I was young. Mind you, they both watch them in colour on their own iPads, whereas I used to watch them in flickering 405-line black and white on our TV at home (as long as it didn’t overheat of course, in which case the screen went completely grey – but on the plus side you could still hear the soundtrack). I did get to see them in glorious Technicolor once a week, more often than not at the Saturday morning pictures (I was a Junior of the ABC, and I still have the badge to prove it).


The humour in Tom and Jerry is apparently timeless: the little chaps who are the latest in our family to appreciate slapstick laugh in all the right places and absolutely howl when things go badly awry for Tom.

Punch Lines

The problem that Tom has – as I said when trying to explain the essence of humour to them (absolutely pointless as it turns out) – is that he’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time. In his world, that means that he will more often than not turn a corner, only to tread on a rake that immediately whips up and smashes him in the face as Jerry makes his getaway.

Even when things seem to be going his way, Tom’s luck always seems to run out. He is often just seconds away from finally hitting Jerry on the head with a massive mallet or something, only to find that, when he brings it crashing down on what he supposes to be Jerry, it turns out to be the foot of Spike the bulldog. And once Spike has Tom by the neck, even his over-the-top charm cannot ever save him from the most dire consequences.


And I’ve simply lost count of the times that Tom eventually catches Jerry and holds him gleefully while looking directly at the camera, without the slightest clue that the anvil all we viewers had earlier seen launched skyward in a freak accident at the nearby Acme building site is, even at his moment of glory, heading straight for the very spot where he has chosen to stop and savour his triumph.

Wrong place, wrong time. Always.

Jerry, on the other hand, has the knack of usually being in the right place at the right time, or at least being in the wrong place at the right time when he might see the trap Tom may well fall into if he simply stops to either whistle to him or poke his tongue out while waving his hands with his thumbs in his ears.


Stage Fright

Being in the right place at the right time, or even being in the wrong place at the right time is clearly preferable to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, while thinking about the million or so smaller employers who are soon about to reach their staging dates.

All the experience thus far, as the larger employers have staged, has shown that auto-enrolment, while hard enough to comply with, is doubly difficult if firms do not leave themselves enough time to prepare for things. A million or more firms are right now rushing at headlong speed into auto-enrolment. Some are well aware of that, and are well prepared for what they must do. For others though, auto-enrolment might well turn out to be the rake on the floor just around the next corner.

And that’s not funny.


I don’t think it is yet too late for people to help such firms, but can’t help wondering whether a Government advertising campaign warning employers to watch out might be more appropriate than the current ads that focus on employees being ‘in’.

Perhaps Tom and Jerry could even star in the ads?




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