Friday, April 21, 2006


Fat Cats Get What They Don't Deserve: Part II

Further to my last post, I read Polly Toynbee in today's Guardian and find more grist being offered to the mill. I have to say she sometimes appears to me to typify the nannyish political correctness of this much satirised organ at its worst and at other times she tries too hard to praise a government which, it seems, she desperately wants to support. But she is very good on the rich-poor relationship and once wrote a brilliant book based on working as a cleaner on the minimum wage. Today she addresses the subject of the massive salaries of BBC stars and how a great deal of acrimony and jealousy would be pre-empted if everyone could examine everyone else's tax returns on the web as in Norway and Finland. Yeah, as if...

She also points out that in 1979 chief executives paid themselves 10 times more than their workers; now the multiplier is 54. What's more these huge increases have come without any concomitant increase in productivity. It's merely 'a mutually agreed cartel, all racing to prove they are top dog for no extra productivity or risk.' Despite the facile arguments deployed by executives about competing in a high wage environment, only 4 per cent of the workforce earn over £52,000 a year while two thirds earn less than the average £28,000.

She also finds that, despite recent increasses and more favourable pensions, public sector workers still get less than their equivalents in the private sector. She finishes off by demolishing the idea that performance related pay actually improves performance in any way. It seems this comes most easily when employees feel they are respected and working as valued members of a team in which their voice is heard. Polly has nothing to say in her piece about Cherie Blair charging the party astronomic fees for her hair dos during Labour's election campaign. Charging, I suppose, was justified, but all that money, just to do her not especially attractive hair, does rather nail down the impression of a lady with very non socialist lifestyle tastes .

But Polly didn't tell us how much she earns!

When the Daily Mail is rampaging on about MPs salaries and expenses it's worth remembering that its editor gets paid about one million British Pounds a year just for that job (he has others) and claims about the same amount again in expenses.........
So far as I can gather £28,000 is the arithmetical average. The National Statistics web-site seems to show that the median average is £323 a week (or £16,800 per annum). 17% earn less than 60% of the median average (ie. less than £194 per week). Cherie Blair was spending £275 per day for a hair-do.
Thanks for the comments Hughesey and Politaholic. I've tried to find the figures for average and median incomes for 2006 from INS and DWP but got lost in acres of report wordage. I thought the median income is a little higher than 16.8K and wonder if that figure did not exclude certain basic speding as some of the figures do? But whatever they are, £275 for a hairdo should shame most people, let alone a Labour PM's wife.
Sorry, Skipper, I ought to have made it clear that my figure (£16,800) is for "real disposable income"; before-tax income will obviously be higher (It's unclear whether Polly Toynbee's £28,000 is before or after tax; she doesn't say). The point I wanted to make it that median income is quite a bit below the arithmetical average (still the case, I think, if one allows for tax), and that a significant percentage earn not just less than the arithmetical average, but less than 60% of the median. My figures come from here:

average income

Don't agree with your latest post on Cherie Blair, incidentally. I have no sympathy for her; she has, as you say, a "problem with money". So does Tony, Mandleson, Blunkett...etc, etc. It's the New Labour ethos. I can't believe Mrs. Attlee spent quite so much on her hair.
Thanks for this comment- seems we agree on some aspects of 'Hairgate' and not on others. But I do agree with your line on New Labour and money. One insider explained it some time ago in relation to the Tessa Jowell thing as 'well, they all mix with mega-riuch peple all the time and don't see why they shouldn't be mega-rich as well. By their friends and acquaintances are their principles corrupted. Come back Clem! Incidentally-impressed- how did you transpose your 'signature' into a document link?
Skipper, "transpose" and "signature" are a bit technical for me. But if I understand you right you need to go here. Use the formula in Green under point 3 (it is explained):


But isn't this the formula you use for links already? It's just the same. Or have I misunderstood?
I think I understand- I'm so slow in picking up this stuff. I was confused in that what is usually the name of commenter was actually a link to a document. It worked well anyway and I'll maybe try it myself in the future. [hope my son never reads this- he cannot understand how ante-diluvian I am on IT...]
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