Friday, 25 March 2011


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.


  1. We need a UK of people prepared to struggle for genuine improvement for all other than their own. Sadly mass immigration has been employed to water down how bad things are. Third world mud hut, starving people regard as luxury the minimum standards here.

  2. Well OR, I know you'll excuse me if I wish for a Scotland, as opposed to a UK, where people work (I don't think that we should need to struggle really) for a better future for all.

    We all need each other. The toilet cleaner wouldn't have a toilet to clean if there were no management to run the company and therefore people to use the toilet; but by the same token the managing director would soon become pretty disgruntled if his toilet were not cleaned, or his tea brought to him.

    I remember the canteen chat where someone said, “if you don’t make it, I can sell it”, to which his colleague replied, “ah, but if you don’t sell it there no bloody point in me making it”.

    I'm reliably informed that we even need merchant bankers, although I'm failing right now to see the argument. It is rumoured that there is not so much money about (although this may or may not be true, because I have also heard it said that the deficit has been worse than it currently is [proportionally] in 200 of the last 250 years). Whatever, it is bankers that got us into this supposed mess, and believe it or not, it is bankers that demand that we reduce the deficit, while the bankers refuse to take any part in the deficit reduction and indeed tell us that it’s time we stopped moaning about them. I of course think it’s time we stopped paying for them, and the minute the latter happens the minute the former will happen!! Bankers apart we do need to try to work together.

  3. And for the second point you raise OR: You talk of immigration as a problem, as indeed I believe it is for England. Apart from in the university quarter of our town, or in the local hospital, I rarely see a black face, and apart from in one area of the town or in a corner shop, I rarely see a sub-continental. Even in our capital there is not a vast immigrant population. We do have, and need, a small and very productive Eastern European workforce because we are in a fruit growing and processing area.

    So once again, the need for us ALL to work together comes to the fore.

    Scottish people must be prepared to take jobs in fruit picking and processing, to get up early and work hard all day in a short season, with dubious weather.

    But farmers need to pay a living wage and supermarkets need to stop squeezing farmers.

    Social security needs to be more flexible (people can’t take jobs that may only last for 6 weeks, and may involve lay off days, with no pay, if social security is totally inflexible, and getting back on the dole involves a book of forms to complete ... and three days without payment)

    And supermarket customers need to be prepared to pay more for their goods so that farmers can pay reasonable wages for backbreaking work, without themselves having to go broke.

    It’s complex, but it can be done with some input from government, and hard work at every “level” of society.

    That is why we need to have a government that can organise these things. One which is close to the people of the country; not one manned by foreigners who may never have been to Scotland on any more than a whistle stop tour when electioneering, or to shoot grouse on a moor.

  4. Taxmen not even worth the minimum wage.

    Cap wages £100 to £150 grand a year as no one anywhere is worth more and if they are not happy bon voyage.

  5. tris

    Numptynet Scotland the home of the unionist conspiracy theories written by people on mind bending drugs.

    Unable to come to terms with the truth most normal people don't agree with them they then concoct.

    the most outlandish unbelievable tales to prove the opposite that people do agree with every word its just they are being bombarded with Unionist gamma rays fired from the moon.

    which distorts their perception of reality and renders them pliable to unionist malfeasance.

  6. They are a total joke CH.

    I have had 6 different tax codes sent to me for this year, arriving within days of each other and all different. I have no idea which ones they are going to use. It will be interesting to see how much tax I pay.

    I had the same thing last year, and the year before they messed up too.

    I remember phoning them 4 times, and each tme they said that someone had marked my file for attention, but no one had got round to it.

    No one had a clue and every time I phoned I had to explain the whole situation again to people who didn't understand it and who weren't much interested anyway. I bet they just put the phone down and said "moaning b*******" and forgot all about me.

  7. Yes Niko. Much better to depend upon the Labour Broadcasting Corporation the Hootsman and the Daily Retard for news of what the Labour party wants you know.

  8. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  9. Such a shame that the Tories and their poodles (Lib Dems) cannot afford to keep their promises (categorically made by the Big Cheese himself on TV) to pensioners not to reduce the cold weather payment, despite the coldest winter in 100 years. Because the reality of the situation is, apparently, there is no money! But they can still find an £8 billion contingency, clearly left over by Labour in some drawer in the Treasury, to have a war. So let’s not expect things to get anything other than much worse under the Nasty Party (and its wholly owned subsidiary).

    I see that the BBC is coming round to the Tory way of thinking now that Chris Patten is in charge of the lolly!

  10. Funny I was watching the movie Downfall last night and it reminded me of people like Mr Mxyzptlk who slavishly follow their party cult even when it goes against the country and peoples interest.

    Actually just like the quislings and vichy did as well. Amazing how all these people are all the same.

  11. Is the gap between richest and poorest 10% too large? To quote Ken Clarke "yes, it is worrying".

    We all agree on this point. The issue is how do we solve this?

    If the solution is to adopt some kind of state-sanctioned income redistribution then I say no. Been there, and it left us in the 1970s at the doors of the IMF.

    But, something must be done. Here is my suggestion - rather than redistribut peoples incomes and earnings, let us do these two things:

    1. Link the minimum wage to RPI measurement of inflation
    2. Introduce a state-guaranteed minimum income (for all, including us students)

    This could be funded, all we need to do is stop being the worlds 4th largest defence spender, and stop pretending we are anything other than a member-state of the EU.

  12. I was thinking that as I watched the London news Munguin. They were using little tricks to make it look not as bad as it was, and tehy were certainly passing opinions on the people who were sitting in at Fortnums. The job of these people is really to report the news independently. They have never done it.

    However, in Scotland the creeps are still sickeningly Labour through and through. Iain's troubles within his party are nowhere to be seen.

  13. Billy.

    You'd have to be plain mad to want Iain Gray as First Minister. The man is a bumbling muppet!

  14. It's a start Dean, but I'm not sure the system can afford to pay students the minimum wage, what do you think? :)

    Quite apart from the people who live in real poverty (the minimum wage might bring you in around £10 - 11,000 a year and the poverty level is 2/3 of the average wage, so say £16,000. That's a scandal!), does anyone think that it's right that Wayne Duh Rooney earns in a week twice what a brain surgeon earns in a year? Yes, it's the market, but is it right?

    We have our priorities all wrong. The Swedish model seems like something we might aim for.

    I totally agree with the sentiments about what we are and what our defence spending should be. We must, however, stop going to war, and contributing more than everyone else, punching above our weight. What good does it do us? None. Not one of us wins, except the prime minister who gets to strut around the world like we still owned it.

    That’s fine, if it’s what he wants to do, but not when people are dying for the want of heat or food HERE.

  15. Agree with the sentiments Tris. British domestic policy should be prioritised.

    But I'd note that the first £10k you earn isn't subject to tax anymore thanks to this coalition, so lets not be overly negative, there are *some* limited changes to be PROUD of :)