Those words could well mark the political graves of George Osborne and David Cameron. A bit like "Poll Tax" did for Margaret Thatcher.
Older people traditionally vote for the Conservatives in large numbers. They are one of the party's main constituencies. For them to be hit by the Chancellor in this way is a massive political gamble.
I actually think there is little justification for having the pensioner tax allowance way above everyone else. And as the standard threshold moves higher and higher it makes sense to try and align them. But the Chancellor did not have to go about it this way specifically announcing a freeze and abolition. It is pretty clear we are going to get to a £10K threshold for everyone, probably announced in the next budget in 2013 coming in for 2014-15. Beyond that I expect the Lib Dems and plenty of Conservatives will be agitating to go further on the threshold. Already there is talk of taking anyone on the minimum wage out of income tax which would require a threshold of £12.5K. The standard pensioner threshold is £10.5K. On the current trajectory we would reach alignment in the next few years anyway even with inflationary rises for the pensioner threshold. What the Chancellor is trying to achieve would eventually have happened anyway, without having to be explicit about it.
George Osborne is supposed to be a master political strategist. I have never really bought this argument. In some ways he is a similar politician to Gordon Brown, lots of tactics but short on overall strategy.
Maybe he thought hitting pensioners in the budget would help with his "all in this together" narrative. Maybe he thought the fact that the state pension is now rising in line with earnings for the first time in decades would mitigate the political fall-out. If so he has misjudged how political announcements are assimilated. The good stuff is quietly banked by the winners but the bad stuff will be shouted about very loudly by the opposition and pensioner groups. That is what will be remembered about this budget by the very people Osborne needs to vote Conservative if they are to get a majority in 2015.
I would be astonished if Labour don't very quickly pledge to reinstate the pensioner threshold and uprate it by inflation again. As I said it will cost them very little as the thresholds will be much closer by 2015 anyway but the political boon they will get from it will be pretty big.
A majority for the Conservatives in 2015 was already looking quite difficult to achieve. Osborne has just made it nigh on impossible.
*For the uninitiated the "five fingers" are supposed to indicate that the measures on rich people from yesterday (stamp duty rises, tycoon tax etc.) will raise five times as much as the 50p rate did.
NOTE: I am aware that I have not really mentioned the Lib Dems in the context of getting the blame for the pensioner threshold abolition. They will get some of the heat I am sure but as pensioners are traditionally much more likely to vote Conservative it is that aspect that is most relevant politically.