What riles the public? It’s the salary, stupid

2 Nov

It’s not often you’ll find me pointing to an article in the Evening Standard for its interesting content, but in yesterday’s Standard, the article with the same title as this post stuck me.

Written by Sam Leith, it says,

They’ve misplaced a decimal point, I thought, surely. That was my first reaction to news that the pay for chief executives of the FTSE 100 companies has gone up by an average of 55 per cent in the past year. I would have quite happily been outraged by 5.5 per cent, naturally: most ordinary people aren’t getting pay rises at all. But – sorry, I have to say it in capitals – FIFTY FIVE PER CENT? Are they having a laff?

Scattered hither and yon through the news are more vignettes of hard times in austerity Britain. There’s Nick Johnson, who stood down from his £203,000 job as head of Bexley council on health grounds thus guaranteeing £50,000 a year from his final salary pension – only to rally and take a new, £260,000 a year public-sector job.

There’s news that the two top men at the publicly subsidised Royal Opera House are paid more than £1 million a year between them. There’s news that the Government has quietly kicked into the long grass a law to make it illegal for non-doms to fund political parties. There’s that Vodafone tax bill

But back to executive pay. There came on the heels of the report I mentioned a polite letter to a newspaper protesting that the figure of 55 per cent is a ‘misrepresentation’. Actually, wrote Peter Boreham, head of executive reward at the Hay group, the figure is closer to 23 per cent. So that’s all right then.

Here is a political party that went into government on the stated premise that we are all in this together. It has sought tp persuade us that the Conservatives are no longer relied upon to represent the interests of the rich against those of the poor…

This, after all, is a party that struggles to convince its natural opponents that the cuts it is making to public services are pragmatic rather than ideological.

 

Of course its ideological.

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