I was reading an excellent article yesterday on Newsnet Scotland about the state of the Scottish branch of Labour (or is it still New Labour?). It’s well worth the read for the warning that it gives about how the media can shield Labour from the worst excesses of its incompetence, and how the SNP’s faults are highlighted and its achievements ignored or belittled.
However, I digress.
In the comments beneath the article a contributor highlights an article on universities, their financial problems and the Vice Chancellors’ snouts in trough situation from the Daily Mail...(yes, I know, and the writer, “Spagen” describes the article’s style as the Mail’s “usual shock and awe” style). However, he in his turn, sites a reader’s response to THAT article:
"I teach at a small Swedish university, similar in size to Gloucestershire University. Here, everyone's pay is a matter of public record, and I know that our very eminent "rektor" (vice chancellor) is paid roughly £80,000 a year. Conversely, our neighbour's teenage daughter works as a waitress in a coffee bar and her basic pay is a respectable £18,500 a year. Pay differentials in the UK are verging on the obscene and I can only conclude that the British establishment is intent upon reverting to some kind of feudal society in which the vast majority have to live on the edge of poverty with minimum wage levels, terrible pensions, massive student debts, unaffordable housing etc, while ruled by a tiny, and very affluent and all-powerful elite. Are you prepared to accept this?"- Stu, Laholm, Sweden, 25/3/2011 07:
I hope that neither “Spagen” nor “Stu” will object to my using their contributions. I have long said that the differential in pay from bottom to top in this country is one of the reasons that we are so desperately far behind our competitors.
It produces a widely divided society, one which got markedly worse during 13 years of Labour rule and which is not going to do much narrowing under the Tories.
Our wage differentials say a great deal about us. We appear to value bankers, whom we all detest, about 100 times more favourably than we value our surgeons, who save our lives. We have no problem with the likes of Wayne Rooney or bruce Forsyth earning telephone directory wages while workers in shops and offices subsist.
Stu asks: are you prepared to accept this? I don’t think that what we are prepared to do counts. The people at the top are wont give up anything easily and the people at the bottom have no power. If the unions try to take action, they have been warned that new laws will be brought in to stop them. I'm not sure what else we can reasonably, or at least peacefully, do.
But it almost certainly is our problem, and for sure, no matter what the politicians promise us at election time, life in this country won’t get better until we tackle it.