Gordon Brown is the man who destroyed what was once the world's best pension system

Gordon Brown's trusted lieutenants gathered round their leader in the plush penthouse suite of the Grosvenor House Hotel on London's Park Lane.

Room service was kept busy and the alcohol flowed as the select handful of politicians and advisers surrounding the then Shadow Chancellor met regularly in the crucial weeks leading up to the General Election of May 1997 to plot the economic future of Britain.

One of the gang, the wealthy Labour MP and businessman Geoffrey Robinson, was picking up the tab but it was Brown who was calling the shots. Meetings like this reflected how he liked to work - in absolute privacy and with the total loyalty of a tightly-knit group of like-minded associates.

With the likes of the ambitious Ed Balls and the abrasive spin-doctor Charlie Whelan, these were 'blokey' occasions, but between the political gossip and the talk about football, the serious issues they decided on would profoundly affect millions of British companies, investors and workers for years, even generations, to come.

The Brown cabal needed to find ways to raise extra tax revenues for the wide-ranging programme of reforms New Labour planned.

So, on one fateful night in that suite overlooking Hyde Park, they decided that, once in power, they would launch a massive multi-billion-pound raid on a gold-plated, copper-bottomed sector of the British economy - its pension funds.



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