Socialist Worker

At least some people are getting decent pay rises

Issue No. 2452

Fat cat bosses saw their pay and perks surge by an average of £350,000 last year. The average chief executive of a FTSE 100 company earned more than £4.46 million in salary, bonuses, pension and other benefits in 2014.

The research from the High Pay Centre is based on information in the annual reports of 57 of Britain’s biggest companies published over recent weeks.

Topping the list is Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden, who got £19.5 million—up from just over £7 million in 2013. Calculations based on figures in Shell’s report showed van Beurden’s package was 218 times more than the oil giant’s average employee.

It would take someone on the national minimum wage 1,443 years to earn what he got in 2014.

Others who coined it in were Erik Engstrom, head of publisher Reed Elseveir. He got  £16.2 million—up from £5.4 million in 2013. This was 322 times what the company’s average employee got.

Prudential chief Tidjane Thiam’s £11.8 million was 214 times more than the insurance giant’s average worker earned. Lloyds’ boss Antonio Horta-Osorio’s £11.5 million package was equivalent to the average annual pay for 345 of the bank’s staff

WPP publishes its annual report early next month. Its boss Sir Martin Sorrell, a business ally of David Cameron, is set to have got £40 million for last year.


A tasteful gift to celebrate a birth  

Huzzah. A princess. The BBC managed to report, “the Duchess of Cambridge is believed to have been present at the birth,” which was fortunate. 

Sky joined in with “King Charles” visiting his new granddaughter.

The in no way tawdry Royal Collection shop—official suppliers of royal tat—offer numerous ways of celebrating the happy event. Products available include a £19.95 coffee mug and a £39 tankard. 

You can go on to choose from plates at £45 each or a limited edition £95 traditional teddy bear.

As the royal shop says, “Using the finest blonde mohair with 100 percent silk paw pads, plus a hand-embroidered nose and smile, each bear has a delightful expression and unique character.”

Crown Derby were more unlucky with their £135 porcelain bear (pictured) which has April 2015 on its chest. A mere month out on the birth. 


Worry about Labour keeping its promises

Labour’s Edstone caused some fuss in the media and on the internet. For instance, the Telegraph ran an article titled, “Don’t let Ed Miliband sink this country with his commie slab of rock.”

Tory author Boris Johnson wrote with an impressive lack of self awareness, “It’s the smugness that gets me.” Perhaps. 

But its not so much the size or positioning of one’s stone plinth that bothers Troublemaker.

The worry isn’t that Labour will break its pledges but that it may indeed keep them. Pledge one is to balance the books—AKA more cuts. 

But it is the commitment to “control immigration” that looks the most worrying on a tombstone.


Management technique needs work

Nigel Piercy, head of Swansea university’s Management School, attacks trade unionists. He calls people who support a trade union “unpleasant and grubby little people” distinguished only by their “sad haircuts, chewed fingernails and failed careers”.

He added, “However did we allow such creepy little people to develop such an enlarged and disproportionate sense of entitlement?”

This comes from a man so popular that 25 members of staff have left since he took over two years ago.

Strategist to sell the NHS?

The lobbying firm run by the election strategist working for David Cameron advised private health firms on how to muscle in on NHS contracts.

A presentation by Lynton Crosby’s company Crosby Textor to an alliance of five private health companies showed how they could position themselves to “take advantage” of the Tory privatisation agenda.

Slides from the presentation suggested the H5 Private Healthcare Alliance “target” politicians to build its share of the NHS market.

Is Nick Clegg lying?

Lib Dem leader (at least as Socialist Worker went to press) Nick Clegg said he found time as a local MP to deal with “38,000 pieces of casework”.

So 3,800 cases each year for ten years.

Taking away weekends, Bank Holidays, Christmas and annual leave means there’s about 250 working days. That is 15 cases a day.Let’s assume he has two caseworkers out of the £129,000 he claimed for his office staffing costs last year. That’s 7.5 cases dealt with by each caseworker every working day. That’s one an hour. 

Either he has the most efficient office ever or Nick Clegg is a liar.


David Cameron said Michael Kidson, his history teacher at Eton, used to throw a block of wood at students who weren’t paying attention. He recalled, wistfully, “Health and safety means you can’t do this anymore.” Anyone who throws a block of wood at Cameron to get his attention will clearly have the prime minister’s backing.


The Daily Mail found a new angle to whip up panic over migrants—migrant flowers. It complained that Britain’s bluebells could be wiped out within 50 years thanks to a rapid rise in the numbers of Spanish bluebells.

The Spanish variety—which “smell like onions”—now outnumber “more fragrant” Welsh ones. Not only that, there’s bluebell mixing going on! The Mail backed a call for garden centres to “stop selling the invaders as British flowers”.


The Things They Say

‘A mother’s hair can be lank and lacklustre, so Amanda will have used shine serum and hairspray to hold Kate’s loose curls in place’

The Daily Mail on the important issue of what Kate Middleton looked like after giving birth

‘Kate’s pregnancy nails have been understated. Ever practical, she knows a natural shade is best for a mother of two’

The Daily Mail continues

‘The BBC does not need to be doing all of these things’

Ukip leader Nigel Farage disses Doctor Who

‘These things often happen’

Iain Duncan Smith failing to turn up for the only hustings in his local constituency

‘Of course, we must commit to pay living wage ...but I can’t commit to doing this’

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 5 May 2015, 15:55 BST
Issue No. 2452
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.