The Torygraph is today trumpeting a news coup even more shocking then that time the Pope confirmed he is a Catholic – 104 senior business executives have signed an open letter about economic policy.
Dignitaries as heavyweight as the heads of the 99p store, Iceland, Ladbrokes and Primark have weighed in – the firms that everybody wants to work for. They’re joined by Phil Green, Baroness Karen Brady (made a baroness by David Cameron but doubtless impartial in this matter) and Duncan bloody Bannatyne! The last two are off of the telly as well as rich so we should definitely do what they say. And what they’re all saying is essentially that we should opt for more of the same from the Conservative party for the next five years. Because the last five years have been such fun for everyone haven’t they?
Although, if you’re one of the signatories, then the last five years probably have been pretty good. Tidjane Thiam, signatory number 84 and head of the Prudential, certainly has cause to think so. He got a well-deserved 36% pay rise last year, bringing his 2014 earnings up to a reasonable £11.8 million. Bob Dudley, signatory number 22, CEO of BP made a lot of friends after his 2014 pay was increased by 20% from 2013, bringing him £8.28 million pounds last year. Ray Kelvin, head of Ted Baker, saw his wealth rise from £135million in 2012 to £231million in 2013. That’s great. It’s probably naïve to think that anyone on that list actually pays income tax, but just in case they do I’m glad the Conservatives cut the top bracket from 50% to 45%. My pay hasn’t gone up at all over several years and my tax bracket remains the same but I probably deserve that.
Speaking of deserving people, let’s have a look at nurses and their pay. It was frozen for a few years, but 2014 saw some pretty big changes. 70% of them still didn’t get any pay rise at all but a whopping 30% of them got a staggering 1% pay rise. On an average wage of £23,000. With 2.5% inflation. The greedy bastards.
I’m sure we can agree we all hate nurses, but the headlines today made me genuinely angry. How dare these people award themselves all this money, pay the vast majority of their colleagues a wage so low that it has to be subsidised by the taxpayers but instead of keeping very quiet about it and hoping nobody notices the incredible inequality, come out swinging with the temerity to claim that they deserve their obscene pay levels, they know best and now that their opinions should have more sway over a democracy then an average pleb?
There’s a few arguments that are usually trotted out at this point:
Britain needs to stay competitive in a globalised society. Which translates as we as workers are now in a race to the bottom with poor bastards from countries that never had workers’ rights in the first place. Our chief executives need to be paid billions so they don’t move to other countries that they don’t really want to go to. Because in a nation of 65 million people we would never be able to replace them.
We need free movement of labour. Which translates to we should let lots of the poor bastards from other countries into this country as long as they’re poor enough to drive down wages and help with that race to the bottom. Conversely we should also let in the super rich in exchange for their loose change so that we can sell really expensive houses to them. Everyone in the middle should stay in their country of origin and pay more tax to subsidise the people at the top not paying the people at the bottom.
We don’t want to be like France. Why not? I’ve got friends in France, they have loads of holidays, job security, the ability to buy homes, great healthcare and despite five years of dire warnings about the economy it hasn’t collapsed and the working class French are busy getting on with their lives and much better pay and conditions which may in some way be linked to their higher productivity levels than the UK.
Last, and worst, these kind of people are wealth creators, we should listen to them and receive their wisdom gratefully. Firstly, no they are fucking not. I hate that term. King Midas, turned everything to actual gold. He was an actual wealth creator. JK Rowling, had some thoughts about schoolkids in her head, wrote them down, made £600 million – that’s a wealth creator – making something from nothing. The signatories on this list have, in the main, risen to the top without a trace, often from very privileged backgrounds, and are now sitting at the top, getting paid massive amounts for shuffling paper around and going to meetings. Saying things like “sell more products” to your thousands of low paid staff is not creating wealth. The people at the bottom are creating the wealth, the majority of which is getting skimmed off the top by the people at the top, who are now espousing this cod philosophy that they deserve the majority of the money because they somehow created it in the first place, presumably a convenient fiction that allows them to sleep at night.
The wealth creator thing ties back into the telling us how to vote thing. Basically our ruling classes have gotten a bit uppity recently. Like, even more than normal. Things being unfair is fine I guess, fact of life and all that, but things being unfair and us being told that we deserve it to be unfair and it’s for our own good really…that gets my goat. We’ve paid the price for economic recovery, they have reaped the benefits and now they are urging us to choose five years more pain that they will in no way share in. The utter bastards have the audacity to actually try to convince us turkeys to vote for sodding Christmas. That letter has given me 103 more reasons not to vote Conservative.