Belfast Telegraph

It’s time for those fat cats to be put on a forced diet

By Robert McNeil

They're still at it. “Who? What?” you cry, in anguished tones. Well, don't bother me about specifics. I'm too outraged about it.

Bear with me while I take some deep breaths. Hmm. That's better. Yup, better. No, I'm off again. Aaargh! And just for good measure: aaargh!

What, you ask, has possessed my goat? What's with all this roaring? All right, I'll tell you what: it's these gits at the top, in banking and elsewhere, still paying themselves obscene amounts.

Yup, as I say, they're still at it. Are they goading us or what? Do they want to bring on a French-style revolution? I'll tell you what, mate, if that did happen, I'd be right down the front with my knitting, watching these schmucks instantly lose 50 ounces in weight. From the top.

According to newspaper reports, which are often true, Goldman bankers in Britain — 5,500 of them — are set to get a 15% pay rise, taking their salaries to £356,000. This is the same American-based company recently charged with persuading clients to buy investments that were allegedly designed to collapse.

Follow me closely here. Say the average, useful person earns £25,000 a year. This makes a Goldman banker think he's worth 14 times as much. This is an incorrect assumption.They are worth less than an ordinary, useful person. A lot less.

But it isn't just bankers. It was revealed this week that the assistant director-general of the BBC stands to get a pension of nearly £400,000 a year. That's a pension! And he'll get it for doing nothing. Even free market loonologists cannot claim this is in return for skills that, mysteriously, no one else has.

His pay at the moment is £488,000 a year, so the pension is something of a cut and he may have to adjust his lifestyle a little. But all the same, particularly with his unique, uncanny, almost superhuman skills as an administrator, surely he will remain good for a loan of a tenner?

It doesn't end there. Reports last weekend showed that a senior Whitehall civil servant received a severance package worth £430,000 — before walking into another job paying £115,000 a year. How do they get away with it? When did this madness begin? How much wider must the gap become between the haves and the have-lots before mobs take to the streets of Britainshire bearing burning brands?

You don't have to be a raving socialist to see that things have gotten horribly out of kilter. The practice of one rule for them and one for us — worried, tightening our belts, just getting by — is now so transparent that even the most ideologically blinkered right-wing nutter must acknowledge it.

Anyone who looks at this situation and mouths the word “envy” should be made to sit in the naughty chair. It isn't envy that motivates anger at this situation. I don't even particularly want that much money. It's the absurdity of it. These are ridiculous sums. They're unnecessary. They can't possibly be “earned” at today's prices, particularly not in the current economic climate.

Somebody somewhere needs to take command of this situation. Who's the Prime Minister? Why isn't he on the case? I don't care if he's a Conservative. Tell him to nationalise something — anything — and to get these grasping bounders taxed to the hilt.

Belfast Telegraph

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