The year which saw WH Smith stay independent because the would-be bidder took fright at the sight of its pension deficit is ending with the directors of Dowding & Mills recommending a bid because, like British Airways, with their pension deficit a liability on their balance sheet, they won't be able to pay a dividend for years.
Along the way in this year of deepening pensions crises, we have seen:
* Lord Adair Turner's report pigeon-holed before it was published, by Gordon Brown, who started the rot by taxing pension funds' dividends.
* The great majority of sizeable companies close their final salary schemes to new members and Rentokil become the first Footsie-100 company to freeze out existing staff.
* A compulsory insurance-style fund requiring good pension schemes to bail out those that collapse
* A new regulator to oversee the decline of what not long ago was the most credible structure in Europe for funding old age.
All this has generated more indignation than thought.
Lord Turner's error was to propose a more costly state pension, thereby earning an inevitable veto from a Chancellor who slaps down people who tell him how to spend taxpayers' money.
Lord Turner also wanted to compel employees (who did not bother to opt out) to contribute to a novel fund without any notion of what sort of pension their compulsory savings might eventually buy. Nobody can do that sum with any money purchase scheme until it is time to draw the pension.
Strangely, no doubt unintentionally, Rentokil may have had one of the right ideas. It had cast itself as a rogue employer by keeping on its contributions holiday until last year, so everything it does is condemned as villainous.
Yet most of its employees are low paid, working in laundries, cleaning offices, spraying pot plants - some, for all I know, still dishing out rat poison - not much of it well-paid work.
These are employees whose pensions are likely to be so small that they will fall foul of the nest of means tests installed by Mr Brown. It is quixotic to struggle to construct pension arrangements for people who cannot benefit from them unless some future Chancellor changes the rules.
That probably means everyone on average earnings or less, leaving out a lot of the people doing physical jobs which are hard to keep up beyond a certain age.
It is no accident that the Pru is now spelling out the attraction of Mr Brown's seco nd state pension (the renamed SERPS) to many of its own customers.
As to occupational pensions, smaller, voluntary schemes for fairly well-paid individuals who are not dismayed at the prospect of working a year or two past their 65th birthday may be one way forward.
There would be rows about discrimination, of course. But it is Mr Brown who started the discriminating with his means tests.
Naturally, none of this applies to the public sector, where final salary pensions at 60 look untouchable for the duration. If you want a solvent old age, get a civil service job. ..SUPL: