Back last year, the following conversation must have taken place somewhere in Conservative Party Central Office.
“Okay, guys. We need a catchy slogan to get the nation through the austerities ahead.”
“Sure. How about, ‘Batten down the hatches, here comes Armageddon’?”
“Haven’t you got anything a little more upbeat?”
“Well, I was thinking about ‘We’re all in this together’.”
“That’s excellent. Positive, catchy…and you know what? I reckon that’ll never come back to haunt us in any way shape or form whatsoever.”
On today’s news, it certainly looks like somebody forgot to send the memo to our bosses.
Pay for the directors of the UK’s top businesses rose 50% over the past year, a pay research company has said.
Incomes Data Services (IDS) said this took the average pay for a director of a FTSE 100 company to just short of £2.7m.
The rise, covering salary, benefits and bonuses, was higher than that recorded for the main person running the company, the chief executive.
Frankly, it doesn’t so much give a sense of “all in this together” as “haul up the drawbridge while all goes to Hell for the commoners.” Not even the Daily Mail feels inclined to defend this one.
I suspect many of the readers of this blog will have already seen this video, but today’s news reminded me of another recent example of out-of-touch arrogance from our financial elites.
For those of you who haven’t seen it before, the “let them eat cake” moment (and glorious slapdown from Polly Toynbee) is at 3.40.
On the YouTube page, the top comment is “Tax Payers Alliance, I think it might help if your spokespeople didn’t look like cartoons of overfed capitalist scumbags.” Frankly, it’s hard to disagree. The TPA couldn’t have been fronted by more of a cliche if he was wearing a crown and quaffing from a ruby-encrusted goblet. Perhaps while also waving a chicken drumstick as jesters capered around his feet.
Also in the video, Toynbee described the current situation as “a dysfunction like the last days of the Roman Empire”. When I first watched this a couple of weeks ago, that comment seemed like hyperbole. Given today’s news, I’m no longer so sure.