Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Money for nothing and the sack for free




WHAT’S THE difference between a mechanic at the Land Rover plant in Solihull and a woman behind the counter of a Woolworths in Yorkshire? About £2.3 billion, apparently.

That’s the amount of money Baron Mandelson of Hartlepool is going to cough up to ailing car firms in the form of loan guarantees and ‘green research’ grants – but not to rescue struggling retail outlets that have been on our High Streets for 100 years.

It’s nonsense, of course. The car companies are in trouble because no-one is prepared to fork out for a new car in the current climate. The money is safer under the mattress. Cash is king, and we’re all holding onto every penny we’ve got.

Even the 90 per cent of buyers who use some kind of finance deal to buy their car aren’t biting – and that’s if they can actually get a loan. The big banks are causing havoc at the moment, closing the accounts of loyal customers if they stray over their overdraft limit two months running or refusing home improvement loans (where there’s ample equity in the property) because you missed a credit card payment in 2003. And yes, I know people this has happened to.

Like that magnificent VAT reduction of 2.5 per cent (at a time when most shops were offering 30 per cent off everything), it’s a token gesture and money down the drain. People will only start buying new cars again when they feel confident in their economic prospects or when they’re actually encouraged to do so by government aid.

Why aren’t we doing what they do in Germany and France? There you can get a grant of 2,300 Euros if you scrap a car more than nine years old and buy a new one. The scheme is green – new cars being far more environmentally friendly than old ones – and gets the economy moving again. But no, all we get is an inadequate handout to firms that are mostly foreign-owned anyway and no help whatsoever for the poor punter – unless he’s prepared to ride round in a battery-powered go kart. Which is a great idea if you live 800 feet up a hill amidst the snow and fog, as I do.

And why is the government actively campaigning against the use of Land Rovers? Why is diesel so expensive and why is the tax four-wheel-drive owners have to pay so disproportionately punishing? Go on, explain that.

I SUPPOSE that we’re expected to be grateful that the BBC has imposed a bonus ban and a pay freeze on its top 400 senior managers. How nice of them not to pocket even more of our money in these difficult times. But then you do the sums.

The Beeb claims that the bonus and pay freeze, in place until July 2010 (my, that’s tough) will save them £20 million. Okey dokey - £20 million divided by 400 equals £50,000. This suggests that each and every one of those 400 senior managers would have expected to receive £50,000 in salary increases and bonuses in the next 18 months. And given that the average bonus is said to be 10 per cent of salary, that puts most of them on half a million a year.

Can that really be right? Is it really the case that 3,584 of us cough up our £139.50 a year just to pay the salary of ONE senior BBC manager? It’s enough to make a wounded child in Gaza laugh.

STILL, IT’S not all bad news amongst the Guardianistas. ‘Top bosses’ in the NHS collected salary increases of 10 per cent last year, more than four times that paid to nurses.

The average pay of an NHS chief executive is now £146,100, plus a bonus averaging £16,579 and an ‘executive allowance’ covering household expenses of £10,731. Oh, and let’s not forget the car allowance of £9,700.

And while we’re at it, we should note that the number of council workers on an annual salary of more than £50,000 has risen by almost 20 per cent in the past year. There are now 37,000 of them out there, up by 6,000 from a year ago.

As Matthew Elliott, chief exec of the Taxpayers’ Alliance says: “Councils are ignoring economic reality and simply recruiting more managers and handing out more pay rises than taxpayers can afford.”

It does seem perverse that at a time when every other industry is struggling to survive, the public sector seems to sail on regardless, drunk on the heady wine of other people’s money.

A HOAXER has finally owned up to inventing the condition of ‘cello scrotum’, first mentioned in the British Medical Journal back in 1974.

Doctor Elaine Murphy – now Baroness Murphy - has confessed to writing to the journal as a prank after reading of other, real, complaints like guitarist’s nipple and fiddler’s neck. Which gets me thinking.

Which made-up illnesses would you invent? There’s obviously ME of course (“Oh, boo hoo, I can’t get off the sofa because I’m so tired so I can’t go to work”), but the one I fancy is Attention Surplus Disorder.

It’s like the opposite of the imaginary Attention Deficit Disorder, and afflicts children whose parents spoil them rotten rather than imposing a traditional set of disciplinary values. You can see the poor victims, running around like headless chickens, in a Harvester near you every weekend.

15 Comments:

Blogger Black Dog said...

Now, Guitarist's neck, that DOES exist. Try hanging a Les Paul around your neck for a couple of hours, and you'll see what so many older guitarists are practically hunchbacks on stage. It's the solid mahognay body.

Attention Deficit Disorder? We used to call that "being a little bastard who'll get a hiding when I get him/her home".

Anyway, I have to take issue about the Councils taking on more highly paid managers. We need these people. Next time I'm fixing computers, what will I do if a black, one legged, lesbian vegetarian vicar with ME comes in? You tell me.......

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Farq??????
RR (bollocks)

12:33 PM  
Anonymous sibyll15 said...

I think leadswinginitis is affecting all these schools that close when they see a few flakes of snow!

3:01 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I am British, born in Sussex, and having lived and worked for more than half my life overseas, I sadly can see no reason to return.This blog should be required reading for all aspiring PM's as it represents, dare I say it, a "w.a.s.p"-ish view of how our great nation has collapsed over the last 19 years. It all started when Maggie got tossed out by her party wet's...

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark
Wets, mate, wets. Wet's means wet is. Sure you're British?

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Difference between Woolies & a car factory is export potential and value-add. Woolies brings no new money into the economy, whereas a successful car manufacturer helps the balance of payments.

4:30 AM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

dare I say it, a "w.a.s.p"-ish view of how our great nation has collapsed over the last 19 years.
- Mark

And would you say that is a good thing? (The w.a.s.p) bit? Most English people ARE White Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, or at least in theory. Government is supposed to bring the maximum of benefit for the majority of the population- albeit not at the total exlcusion of others. But that's not what's happening.

The first anon here achieved the distinction of the most unfathomable comment I've seen in all my time. A product of the NuLabour education system, no doubt. Or Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyslexia or other pseudo plagues.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My apolgies, i wondered if you were 'Farq' an anus i used to spa with.......sorry no, taught in the 70's me...

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Ali Montado said...

Dunno about cello scrotum but I think one or two of you are suffering from blogger's bellend....

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Work Blindness" for all those skiving scums who CANT SEE THEMSELVES WORKING!!!

"Updabossesarssus" for those in the office who suck up to bosses!!!

"Snow Shyness" for those lazy bastards who didnt go to work.

"Banksbastards" terrible illness caused by getting too many warning letters from the bank

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Woolies: unfortunately, it was due to go at some point - it tried to be a one-stop shop when the management should really have concentrated on the areas it did well, namely it's children's clothing line - hence the reason why the new owners also made sure they owned Ladybird.

... and I never thought I'd see you actually say something positive about France or Germany, Bazza!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

When I used the apostrophe it was in the "possessive" sense, i.e belonging to her party when she was leader. I should have used "wets' " as in "Regimental Officers' Mess" to be more precise.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous One-eyed Idiot said...

You should have said "party's wets."

If you really were wanting to use it in the possessive sense then "wets" being plural the apostrophe should have come after the "s" so... wets'.

Now excuse me, I have a country to liquidate.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark

Re: Wets

Sorry, you still don't get it do you? Contextually you couldn't possibly have been using the possessive so just swallow your pride and let's move on.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Cari Hislop said...

Attention Surplus Disorder...I like it! There's no way all the thousands of children in the UK/World being drugged up past their eyeballs have any problem beyond eating too many food additives(or eating the right food), not getting proper exercise and not getting proper parenting etc... Statistically, there must be a handful of people who do suffer from some sort of attention deficit malfunction, but I doubt a drug induced lobotomy is helpful in the end to the individual involved.

P.S. Lowry was not the greatest Northern artist. Joseph Wright of Derby must have that title at least. The man was a genius painter whose name remains largely unknown because he never sold his soul to London. And he could paint horses!

3:25 AM  

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