All people in the public sector (i.e. in the service of the government) to have a salary of no more than the prime minister…
David Cameron is paid £142,500 by us, the taxpayer. Tonight’s Panorama programme on the BBC reveals that thousands are paid more than the PM, notionally the most senior servant of the land.
Helpfully, the website includes a link to a 7 meg csv spreadsheet of all salaries over £100k. These were all obtained by public information requests, then collated.
My calculations from this spreadsheet reveal this information:
9187 = no. of persons with salary over the prime minister’s!
£1,552,802,065.00 = actual pay bill for the 9187 last year.
£1,309,147,500.00 = potential pay bill with the 9187 on the PM’s salary
£243,654,565.00 = potential money saved
In light of the current pressure on all public sector workers and following the scythe-like manner in which all union-negotiated contracts are being reneged upon by the government, I think they should be even-handed about this and put a salary ceiling of Cameron’s pay immediately on all civil servants, no matter how they are classed. If the money comes from the taxpayer, they are servants of the state. Period.
Then cut the existing salaries to that of the prime minister’s.
Q. Why should any public sector employee earn more than the prime minister?
Of course, when the old excuse is rolled out about ensuring we get the best people for the job in the open market place, we now have a quick riposte!
If it’s alright for the highest position in the land, it should be alright for anyone, don’t you think?
I see some of the 9187 moving on and looking elsewhere. But really – can the private sector swallow up that many state elite to give them the lifestyle that they’ve been used to?
Let’s give it a try and see, eh? Let’s see how many move on and how many are willing to work for the prime minister’s salary?
Average Earnings 1990-2009
In fact, I predict a consequence that top private sector pay will be driven down by the standard economics of supply and demand. Too many elite applying for too few places means employers can pick and choose much as they do now. Except it’ll be cheaper for them and thus profits will rise…
In fact, it can be argued that high public sector rewards for the elite is actually driving elite private sector pay upwards in the same way….?
Yes? I mean, can the private sector swallow up 9187 managerial posts?
Following the internal prompts, I’ve now upgraded all my WordPress installations to version 3.
Only one site didn’t want to ‘take’ using the upgrade button so I had to do it the old FTP upload method. For all of them, after checking wp-config.php I’ve discovered that a whole new raft of security passwords have been implemented. These needed generating and pasting into each wp-config file.
The Hell of Incessant Suffering and the Land of Tranquil Light
Note: This was originally published here on Sunday, September 24th, 2006 at 4:28 pm and filed under Buddhism.. The link has been dead for quite some time, looks unlikely to re-appear, so I’m showing the words here as they are so wonderful because they deserve to be preserved. The material is straight from Google’s cache as it isn’t in the Wayback Machine. Use the contact page if you think this is unreasonable.
Through enlightenment we escape the confines of the physical and realise the unlimited potential of the human spirit. Just as the sun that dries the newly hatched butterfly’s wings, the compassion of the Lotus Sutra allows us all to soar from our pitiful cocoons and look out over the landscape of infinite possibility.
The potential for enlightenment exists within all human beings, just as an ungainly chick has the potential to become a great eagle, the single roe egg to become a great salmon, or the young cheetah to become faster even than antelope. Why then, do human beings endowed with the capacity for intelligence and great understanding constantly fail to fulfil their potential?
Physical confinement refers not only to tangible barriers, like walls, or borders, but also by those barriers caused by our lesser consciousnesses. Our lesser consciousnesses often serve to withhold our true potential, making us feel trapped within the lower life states of hell, hunger, animality and anger. We constantly fall into the three evil paths of greed anger and foolishness, and we commit the ten evil acts – all serving only to deepen our suffering and further delude us from our most true and pure nature.
This one moment of insight transformed Mr Toda’s life, and catalysed the growth of the SGI in post war Japan, and subsequently revitalised the cause for Kosen Rufu throughout the world.
It surprises me not in the least that given such a supreme teaching, and aware of his inability to directly influence the affairs of the world outside his cell, that the causes inherent in Mr Toda’s experiencing the Lotus Sutra ultimately led to such profound effects upon so many people today.
Trapped in a prison cell one is all too aware of his physical confinement. Given such an environment, and removed from every day affairs, even the ignorant would have much time to ponder. Many great people of compassion have suffered this kind of confinement – not just such great names as Mandela and Terry Waite, but the countless common people who have found their lives curtailed by cruel regimes bent on every kind of domination.
A prison cell is a relative confinement. The insects that must have occupied Josei Toda’s prison cell were most likely unaware of the rest of the prison, far less so the existence of the country of Japan, it’s people’s anguish, or the needless suffering being delivered upon countless millions of people due to the war. Those insects surely went about their daily business, oblivious to these facts. Spiders would spin their webs, and flies, being such, would daily find themselves trapped therein.
Josei Toda although knowing his mentor and friend Tsunesaburo Makiguchi was also in prison, must have felt a terrible sense of isolation from the world outside, and finally upon learning of Makiguchi’s death a year after his last brief meeting with him, he wept in his devastation all night. For a time he must have felt as isolated as a single ant in the middle of a great desert.
The hell of incessant suffering is indeed realised in this life due to our ignorance of our true nature and the way of the Lotus Sutra. Josei Toda’s prison cell provided him with the opportunity of transcending his own difficulties, realising within himself the Buddha nature which in turn blessed him with the vision that this world and all life within has the potential for buddhahood – that the potential existed for the land of tranquil light to be experienced in this life.
The relative confinement of the prison cell is no different from our confinement upon this planet. To live on a world the size of a grain of sand, human beings would be too small to see even under a powerful microscope. Imagine now that this grain of sand upon which billions of human beings depend may be more than 16000 miles from the nearest grain of sand which may also be inhabited by sentient life. It is impossible for common people to comprehend our isolation.
Surely then, humanity is more physically alone within the vast reaches of the universe than Josei Toda was within his prison cell. Yet, like the flies in Mr Toda’s cell, we are ignorant of our physical isolation and the darkness in our hearts. Why does humanity, more isolated in the universe as was Josei is his cell, not see it’s salvation in the compassion and supreme law of the Lotus Sutra? It is not unheard of for a person to exhibit great wisdom. People [pluraly] on the other hand, have never been recorded with the possession of a collective wisdom to match.
It is because people are amused by meaningless trinkets, misled by the poisonous machinations of our rulers, deluded by jealous and vengeful doctrines, and hungry for power that humanity has successfully delivered itself into a time where the great mystic forces have delivered the hell of incessant suffering before our very eyes.
Nichiren stated “those who stay long in privies forget how foul the smell is”, and so it is with humanity and the three evil paths. Our task as votaries of the Lotus Sutra and disciples of Nichiren is to make the great Law as irresistible to humanity, as the copy of the Lotus Sutra in Mr Toda’s cell was to him.
The movement for Kosen Rufu must make the Law accessible to all and to propagate it at every opportunity. True votaries of the Lotus Sutra see our worldly attachments for the illusions of smoke and dust that they are.
It is not enough simply to become comfortable exchanging our views with fellow believers at regular meetings. This time calls for shakubuku to be practiced with great wisdom, courage and compassion. To provide demonstrable proof to all those around you – your employers, employees, family and friends – is paramount if this world is ever to be transformed into the land of tranquil light. This world may not be transformed in my lifetime, but if we are to take true faith in kosen rufu then we will surely be reborn in the land of tranquil light.
Now, as soon as this happened, I thought “who has most to gain from the sinking of this protest ship?”
I immediately said, “The French” to my partner. It’s in their interest to get that pesky ship put of their test zone.
Many years passed until finally some French Secret Service agents were collared for the dastardly deed. President Mitterand, it turns out, authorised the bombing and thus the death of the Portuguese Dutch photographer, Fernando Pereira.
The news this week is that the sleaze-paper, News of the World (NOTW), part of the nationality-challenged Rupert Murdoch’s empire, hacked many prominent people’s phones in order to gather information. (News of the World ‘bugging’ claim – Wednesday 8th)
Later, the news was that there was going to be a huge investigation by the police into the allegations. (Police to probe phone hack claims – Thursday 9th). In fact, PM Brown said, “This raises questions that are serious and will obviously have to be answered.”
A few hours later, and the massive investigation was finished! (New phone hack inquiry ruled out – Thursday 8th) Second top Met Cop John Yates said, “No additional evidence has come to light since this case has concluded. I therefore consider that no further investigation is required.” He also said, “This investigation has not uncovered any evidence to suggest that John Prescott’s phone had been tapped.”
Warning: sarcasm alert!I think it’s amazing that Yates & Co. has managed to sift through all of this evidence in less than half a day! It’s fantastic! If only all enquiries were this fast! Arms to Iraq! Iraq War! Cash for Questions! G20 Tomkinson Death and Kettling tactics! You know, things would be so much better.
Who Has Most to Gain?
Rupert Murdoch - will he gain?
Going back to my Rainbow Warrior experience, this is the thought that now crosses my mind. In situations like this, forget the morals and any issues of integrity, personal or national, that arise. Just look at the question in it’s starkness. Who has most to gain?
Well this question really has several parts, or vantage points, if you like, that all supply an answer to the above question.
Obviously, The Guardian now gains from extra publicity, their oxygen of business.
NOTW originally gained by getting stories, the same oxygen of their business.
This is the relevant chunk, showing the information source as Richard Thomas, recently retired Information Commissioner and quoted verbatim from Preston’s blog. Thomas did a huge investigation into phone hacking which were presented before our Parliament, our representatives, in 2007. This is the chunk below (remember, see if you can see the key bit!!):
Richard Thomas, 'a champion of civil liberties'. Photo: Michael Stephens/ PA
A good deal of this trade in personal confidential information has already been exposed by Richard Thomas, who has just retired as information commissioner.
In a series of reports and in evidence to the House of Commons culture, media and sport committee, he made a series of disclosures about newspaper activities that he regarded as “prima facie” illegal.
Here’s a statement from him to MPs that he gave in March 2007, which refers to the results of an investigation he carried out into the business relationship between the press and a firm of private investigators (the investigation was given the codename Operation Motorman):
“The first thing I would need to share is that the 3,000 or 4,000 transactions identified… came from a total of 13,000 transactions in this one operation alone. We were careful only to put forward those where there was some sort of hard evidence of the transaction being positively identified as involving a journalist for a newspaper”.
And this is what he cited as the evidence of payments being made by journalists for the information:
“We did have, and we do have still, the statements, the bank statements, the invoices – some of these well-known proprietors were including information such as ‘payment for confidential information’, payment for ‘blagging’ [obtaining information by deception] in some cases – so there was what I might call hard ‘prima facie’ evidence.”
However the degree of detail obtained by him about this trade was startling.
Where did the money end up? Well, a flow-chart produced by the office of the information commissioner shows the press employing private detectives who in turn deal with phone companies, call centres, the DVLA and what’s described as “police source”.
Did you spot the last bit of the sentence? I’ll paraphrase now for emphasis…
Where did the money (paid for hacked information) end up? The information commissioner shows the press employing private detectives who deal with (…) a “police source“.
And there we have it!
Now we know why Yates’ “investigation” finished so quickly. The former information commisioner tells us in words presented to parliament – to protect the police!
Just remember, this current government has ramped up the “fear factor” over terrorism so much, that the police and other services have unparalled access to all sorts of electronic information. In fact, by law, telecoms companies are required to keep it….
In this week’s events we’ve seen the Police investigate an event of which they were one of the prime information sources (according to Thomas) and declared “no case to answer”. They are investigator, judge, jury and imprisoner.
As I’ve predicted many times in these pages, (and I’m only using history as a guide here, remember – I’m not a fortune teller), when the police are given unbridled power, that power will be abused either by an individual or the organisation as a whole.
The police now have power of arrest for virtually anything – e.g. by law, I’m not allowed to take their photo! I can be arrested and searched without reason and imprisoned for the same reasons indefinitely. Just look. It’s all there, all passed in the last few years.
But if this case and previous ones are anything to go by, it appears that if an “investigator” can’t get the information they want, they pay the police for it!
What have we got here – the Rockford Files!
And afterwards, the Police say “no case”. “Case closed”. “No further information”.
Our chickens have come home to roost, and no-one’s noticing!
Actually, someone’s noticing.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer launches 'urgent' review of phone tap inquiry Photo: PA
The police have decided to do nothing because, as they say no NEW information is about (this is now being mis-quoted as in “There is no information that John Prescott’s phone was tapped” instead of “There is no NEW information that John Prescott’s phone was tapped” – which is a different thing altogether and those saying it, know it!)
And calls for the police to do the right thing and investigate properly are mounting.
I watch with anticipation from my little tank. I’ve a feeling, and I hope, that this one will run and run and that hopefully, some proper rein will be put on our law enforcement folk. Unlike most people, I don’t consider this a press freedom issue – I consider it a key part of all our freedoms.
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