I have offended friends – that shouldn’t happen.

I have offended my friend Darren Philp using this blog to characterise he and Nico Aspinall as pension’s Chuckle brothers. I’ve ripped into Nico for being a pensions patrician and criticised a bunch of well meaning pension companies for creating a club which I called woke.

Boy, I must have been in a bad mood yesterday!

These are my views, I don’t withdraw them , though I wish I hadn’t hurt my friend’s feelings. I have been on the end of some pretty ugly stuff on social media myself. Of course Darren will get the support of the bulk of people on social media and that’s right too, these are nice guys. Darren’s called out my attack on linked in and you can read what he has to say here.

Putting it out there

There is barely any debate on pensions that is not sponsored by a commercial desire to be right. I don’t claim to write without a commercial intent, my businesses are about delivering things that pay my companies and ultimately me.

Similarly Nico and Darren have commercial agenda which they pursue in alignment with their beliefs. Nico’s work on sustainability and the capacity of funded pensions to make a difference to the planet are evident in every one of the 18 pots. I have worked with Darren on projects such as “net-pay” and know that he is a genuine believer in causes such as equality of pay and pensions for women and men,

That these guys are genuine is not in doubt, at least in my mind.

And they have every right to put there views out there – as they did in their latest pod. Putting it out there is what it’s all about, getting a broadside from me is a risk that Darren and Nico expect and that’s no bad thing either.

“Ad hominem”

I hope that many people will listen to  Nico and Darren’s latest pod, long as it is, and read my blog.

The 17 podcasts that have preceded this one , have included a lot of criticism not just of Nico and Darren but of the way  things have been said, the attitudes and the proposals of those on the podcasts – especially the guests.

Darren is worried that my comments will lead to people not wanting to come on the pod. I can see that too. But I’d point out that without my blogs, his podcasts would not get the publicity they deserve. Every time I write, I encourage people to listen and I encourage you to listen to the latest pod as part of this.

Directing criticism against  a person rather than the opinion they express is “ad hominem” – a bad thing. And social media makes ad hominem comments all too easy.

However, unless we have personal conviction, then social media would be no more than a series of corporate positions. I could not disagree more with Nico especially for the views he expresses but I like him and Darren no less for revealing what to me is their other side.

Knowing when an attack on people’s views becomes an attack on their person is a fine judgement call and I can see from Darren’s reaction on social media that he thinks I am on the wrong side of that line.

That we can have this discussion without resorting to law is a good thing. That the very important issues raised by Nico and Darren and criticised by me, can get traction on a bank holiday , is another good thing.

If people will not enter into discussion for fear that their views will be challenged openly then there is the Chatham House rule. But podcasts are not under that rule, people who put it out there, ultimately must expect a reaction.

So though I command the bully pulpit , I am conscious of responsibilities to people’s well-being and will respond where people explain that they have been offended. I expect  a lot of personal criticism for my outspokenness and get it. But offending a freind is  a mistake – Darren, please accept my apology!



About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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