Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Never a Borrower Nor A Lender Be

Last night I suggested we play hide and seek. Hay pointed out that there aren’t too many places to hide in a caravan.

In the UK both the government and the opposition have announced that they intend to freeze public sector pay. With the predictability of a wet summer the dinosaur public sector union leaders responded by threatening industrial action – oh what a surprise!

The news of the politicians’ intentions was followed by an announcement by British Airways that they are freezing cabin staff pay for 2 years and making 1,700 staff redundant.

I wonder what alternative reality these public sector union leaders are living in, ‘cos sure as hell they’re not in reality as we know it. I certainly can’t see me getting a pay rise in the next 12 months – not while the Retail Price Index is standing at -1.3%, and the annual wage rise is there solely to counter inflation. Many in the private sector are already having their pay cut - recession, after all, means negative growth.

There again, union leaders are paid to prevent pay freezes and pay cuts – it’s their sole purpose in life, so you can’t really blame them for acting the way they do. It’s like trying to stop a dog barking.

We must not forget, however, that MPs are public sector workers too! I hope they remember it.

When all is said and done, anyone who has thought: “Can I really afford this loan?” is responsible for the mess we’re in. Those who took on debt beyond their means to service it can’t blame the bankers for their own greed. Every single one of us knows the level of debt we can sustain and don’t need a banker to tell us what that level is, no matter how much cash they throw at us. Bankers are just a convenient scapegoat for mass greed and over-consumption. Bankers are merely unintelligent creatures who adopt the herd instinct.

Coca Cola is promoting healthy drinks. Whatever next – union leaders urging pay restraint?


  1. Now, wading in as a Public Sector worker, I need to add that some of my colleagues are claiming Tax Credits to top up their wages, as our rates of pay have been scandalously behind those of the private sector for many, many years, and for at least 20 years, we didn't receive pay rises that matched inflation... So targeting those of us who receive less than the average salary, i.e. they're planning to target those earning from £18k, is appalling... I have no qualms about the rich being taxed more, or those that earn, say over £60 - 80k, but there are precious few public sector folk in those categories...

    I think the general public is often very deluded as to how much the majority of Civil Servants earn, and the reason many of us have stuck to it as a career (she laughs hysterically!) is as a result of living in areas or during an economic climate where there weren't other jobs to walk into, and ultimately, our pension on retirement was reasonable, (and it isn't non-contributory either, we do pay towards it...and they've already started eroding that!)

    Sorry, bit of a rant there, but there will be industrial action, (given that my own office has shed two thirds of staff over 4 years, and all that work those folk used to do is still around, we're all just shouldering it because many of us believe in offering a decent public service, god help me, I don't know why!), and I'll be on the picket line, rest assured...

    I think I've got another post coming as a result of this lengthy comment... Grateful for your views, Sir x

  2. "Those who took on debt beyond their means to service it can’t blame the bankers for their own greed."

    Indeed because our own greed and wanting things "now now now" like a small child encouraged the bankers to be greedy. I mean, really, who could blame them.

  3. I take a slightly different angle.

    Union bosses' job is to look after the pay and conditions of their members.

    Looking after one at the expense of the other seems to me to be a complete dereliction of duty.

    Equally many politicians seem happy to frame the debate around the recession in solely social or economic terms.

    This also strikes me as completely unbalanced and unhelpful.

    But then most union bosses and politicians are more interested in holding power than actually sorting out the underlying problems.