Following the recent strike action, there has been much discussion about the whys and wherefores of employment in the public and private sectors.
I heard one report, from the health service, describing income under £26,000 as "low earnings".
Those of us who exist outside the rarefied atmosphere of public sector La La land know that there is some 'gathering' to collect £26,000 these days.
Any private sector firm paying someone £26,000 would believe they owned your soul 24/7.
My grandfather told me that, back in the hungry Thirties, he was carting coal up the Ormeau Road in Belfast and his horse was so undernourished he could count every rib.
He had to walk alongside the poor creature to encourage it (others preferred to use the whip). Then he found himself in trouble with his boss for feeding the horse too much.
When he pointed to the famished animal's protruding ribs, he was told there was cut-throat completion in all aspects of their business.
All public sector employees would benefit from a spell in the real world, where times are hard and a pound has to be earned; where money can't be requisitioned along with the stationery, as in the public sector. I would never dream of suggesting a Jeremy Clarkson-style solution, merely that anyone in public employment earning more than, say, twice the average industrial wage (£18,000, I believe) needs to look at what it is they actually do all day for their money. They might be surprised.
ON OUR UPPERS
Comber, Co Down