Saturday, 22 July 2017

BBC`s extravagant pay policy:

The broadcasting union, Bectu, is absolutely correct to say that it`s time "the BBC gave its low-paid production staff a pay rise", just as it is gratifying to read that a Labour government would limit public sector pay ratios to 20:1 (Morning Star, 20/07/17).
   What is absolutely clear from the corporation`s pay revelations is that the BBC has been, and still is, guilty on three accounts: profligacy, sexism and idiocy.
  The fact that it has been profligate with the licence-payers` money is obvious; rather than having a pay policy based on fairness, with no-one earning less than £20k a year, the BBC chooses to pay obscene amounts of money to its so-called "stars", who clearly should be allowed to go elsewhere, if their only objective in life is to acquire wealth. If the market really rules, why pay John Humphrys so much, when his only radio alternative employer is commercial, with limited audience and influence?
 The pay policy is sexist: twice as many men appear in the list of top earners as women; paying women less when they clearly do the same job is simply not on in any century, let alone this one!
 The idiocy comes with the pay for the sports presenters and experts. People tune in to watch the sport. Will they not watch Wimbledon if John McEnroe isn`t on? Do we watch Match of the Day in our millions to listen to the presenter tell us which match we will watch next, or is it because we really want to learn from the "expert" comments from men who played the game years ago? Of course not.

    In fact, would people stop watching "Match of the Day",  if there was no presenter or punditry, and instead, the highlights of each match simply followed one another, without the "expert" opinion? At least, that way would provide more football action, and the millions saved by the BBC could be spent on new programmes, new talent,  and increasing the pay for those at the bottom struggling to makje a living, and without whom, there would be no programmes at all!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Match of the Day

BBC salaries

The director general of the BBC insists that the corporation needs to “be competitive, but not foolishly”, but it would be very interesting to see how many people actually watch sports programmes to see and hear the presenters and so-called experts, usually long retired from the sport (Alan Shearer earns £450,000 a year for BBC punditry and Match of the Day).
In fact, would people stop watching Match of the Day, for instance, if there was no presenter or punditry, and instead the highlights of each match simply followed one another, without the "expert" opinion? At least that would provide more football action, and the millions saved by the BBC could be spent on new programmes and new talent.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Disgraceful pay award for teachers!

The news that the School Teachers Review Body has recommended a below-inflation 1% pay rise for the profession is unsurprising in view of a number of factors (May under fire as teacher pay rise held at 1%, 11/07/17). As Dan Poulter said, the government`s instruction to the so-called "independent" review panel was "to ensure that increases in teaching pay are capped" at that same level. A government which refuses to contemplate taxing wealthy individuals and corporations fairly, to contribute to the needs of society, was never going to consider alternatives, despite the typical posturing by the likes of Johnson and Gove.
   Similarly, this government lacks the economic nous to understand the benefit of paying public servants more when it leads to increased tax revenue and help for the local economy. Lacking, too, is the imagination to spread the pay rise proportionally, so that those on the lowest pay scales get more than 1% and those earning over £50,000 awarded less. It is at the starter level where most recruitment and retention problems lie, but the fact that most schools are either using agencies to recruit from abroad, reducing staff numbers and subjects taught, or using unqualified staff to fill gaps, clearly does not bother this prime minister. 
     This award, correctly described by Layla Moran as "an insult", will inevitably lead to yet more young teachers leaving the profession, and to thousands more rejecting the idea of entering it. The bottom line is that the UK currently has a government which simply does not care about state education.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Government`s refugee policy a disgrace

It is extremely sad when the British government`s policy towards refugees can be accurately summed up as "out of sight, out of mind" (Refugee policy is wrong and short-sighted, 09/07/17). Cameron failed to "see the bigger picture", and ignorantly blamed the UK`s "pull factor" for the crisis (Stop our shameful retreat from the world and share the refugee problem, 23/08/15), rather than the obvious "push factors" existing in Eritrea, Syria, Yemen and Libya, where crimes against humanity are committed every day, and there has clearly been no improvement under May`s administration. One of the first acts by this so-called "compassionate Conservative" was to stress to the UN refugee summit last September that people forced to flee their home countries "should seek asylum in the first safe country reached". May`s "humanitarian" policy also includes encouraging Somalis to return home to a country where thousands of al-Shabab terrorists are based, and which is under severe threat of famine, with an estimated five million people already suffering because of acute food shortages.
 Britain is not alone in the "immoral neglect of its international responsibilities", as your editorial rightly says, with most of Europe, "one of the world`s richest regions", also to blame. It does seem, however, that it is in this country where there is least cause for optimism, especially judging by the "stirring choices of artwork" currently adorning the offices of Fox, Davis and Johnson (Three leading Brexit ministers chase the spirit of empire in their choice of art, 02/07/17). Harking back to the UK`s so-called "glorious past", awash as it was with slavery, piracy, looting and atrocities, does not augur well for a change in what is clearly a "shameful" attitude towards fellow human beings,and a policy of which we should all be ashamed.

Understanding Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton frequently has expressed his desire to connect with his fans, but his failure to attend Formula One`s London parade displays a strange way of going about it, and one with which few will sympathise (Lewis Hamilton unrepentant for missing Formula 1 event days before home Grand Prix at Silverstone, 13/07/17). Opting to take a "two-day break" in Greece rather than reciprocate what he has called the  "incredible love" he gets from fans, he also chooses to live in Monaco, and actually calls "home" a ranch in Colorado 

    Hamilton says he wants to be "understood", and Wednesday`s booing might suggest that the understanding is increasing. When a multi-millionaire like him makes the decision to avoid paying tax in the country where he grew up, and which provided him the opportunities to develop his skills, he rejects the right to expect any support whatsoever!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Letter in Beatlesongs

Don`t ask me why but reading the review yesterday of "In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs" told me that there`s a place always, as Anthony Quinn says, " for something more " about the Beatles (Review, 08/07/17). For no one to notice that this book was simply written for money is unlikely, and it won`t be long before the taxman needs to act. Naturally, because every little thing about the boys in the end is analysed in detail, any time at all letters with song titles will be, too. As if!
  I fell in love with Beatles songs in 1963 so tell me why I`m not a paperback writer. I want to tell you my favourites, too!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Tories dig holes deeper

Personally, I love it when Tories are in a hole; I like it even more when they insist on digging it deeper!  Most recently, Michael Gove, best known for backstabbing colleagues and reforming school examination systems to favour middle-class children, announced that the Conservative party could use Momentum-style tactics to to get young people "involved in politics" (Morning Star,26/06/17). He appears to think that Tory policies, such as adopting fiscal policies to benefit the wealthy, doing nothing about the trillions squirrelled away in tax havens, and running down the NHS and state school sector, will appeal to younger voters. He is so out of touch, he probably assumes all young people aspire to join the local hunt, and would flock in their thousands to hear him speak at Glastonbury!
      Tories like him simply don`t get it! Corbyn`s popularity with younger voters stems from a party leader who is genuinely different from the politicians young people usually see. He connects with people, hugs ordinary people in distress rather than shuns them, and has policies based on fairness, aimed at reducing inequality and making the rich pay their fair share. Corbyn demonstrates that politics is for everyone, not something imposed on the populace by the government. He wants to see young people engaged in politics; Tories don`t, and Gove clearly doesn`t understand why - they won`t vote for a party which throughout history has been anti-worker and anti-poor.
       Just in case there is anyone in the country who still doesn`t think most Tory politicians are out of touch with the ordinary people, Lord Patten appeared on television last Sunday. Naturally, he was there to promote his book, but couldn`t resist the opportunity to demonstrate how people like him clearly reside on another planet! By stating that there is a danger that the Tories, in making a deal with the DUP, could make it look "as if the Conservatives have become nasty again", Patten ignored the fact that for seven years they have supported an austerity policy, which has hurt those least able to withstand benefit cuts, cut jobs, frozen pay for state sector workers, thereby reducing real wages, and introduced cost-cutting, threatening safety and lives. At the same time, hospitals and schools have had their funding massively reduced. Does it come any nastier than that? 
    Failing to vote for a Labour amendment to the 2016 Housing and Planning Bill, which would have ensured all landlords were bound by law to provide accommodation "fit for human habitation" adds to a long list of Tory action and legislation which cannot be considered as anything other than extremely "nasty". Promising to help the "just about managing", and then ignoring them in two budgets, and pledging instead to take away school meals from 600,000 children from working families; bedroom tax; benefit cuts for the disabled; etc.etc.
      It has taken a tragedy of immense proportions to get this government even to think about "health and safety", something which previously was seen as burdensome, EU-imposed, "red tape".
     And Tories fear they might be called "nasty" if they do a deal with the DUP to stay in power! Give me strength!