As we cleaned out the squabbling hens this morning there was a good deal of chat about Prince Philip, our irascible hero on high. When we first noticed his absence from the Palace concert we assumed that the Duke had tossed a coin to decide whether to wear ear plugs or simply stay at home. Sadly, it transpired that he is in hospital. We are not too surprised. When several of us were watching the Thames pageant, Tom commented that his bladder must be in better shape than that of most elderly men. We ancient owners of ancient bladders know only too well that standing for long periods in very cold temperatures is a recipe for trouble. Based on our experience he will be fine after a few days rest.
The other snippet of news that caught our eye was the instant decision of our dear leader to refer the case of Lady Warsi to Sir Alex Allan, the adviser on ministerial interests. He is right to do so given that she faces several accusations of what sounds like, er, dodgy practice. But his decision raises a big question. Why did he not refer Jeremy Hunt, whose practices sounded a good deal dodgier. To be honest that is a rhetorical question, we all know the answer. A guilty verdict on Warsi represents no threat to David Cameron, the same on Hunt would bring down the dear leader himself, given his participation in the BSkyB bid plot.
But it was another story that really shocked us. Everyone is painfully aware of the obscene level of top executive pay, and its continuing escalation at a time when people at the other end of the social scale are suffering hardship unknown since the days of Dickens. Each time a new scandal breaks we are assured that the Company’s remuneration committee is advised by independent consultants, whose views are made known to shareholders. Today we learn that almost 70% of those supposedly independent ‘experts’ also sell general consultancy services to the same companies. In other words should the consultants not play ball with the Board they will lose out on other lucrative contracts. No surprise that the High Pay Commission has spoken out at what is a conflict of interests to beat them all.
So its champagne all round for the ever richer rich boys, irrespective of their performance. By way of contrast we learn of the treatment dished out to long-term unemployed jobseekers who were bussed from Bristol to London to work as unpaid stewards during the jubilee celebrations. As part of the government’s Work Programme they were obliged to board coaches at 11.00pm en route to London. On arrival, in the early hours, they were told to sleep under London Bridge in driving rain and near freezing temperatures. They had no food or access to toilets and were obliged to change on the pavement into their security uniforms.
Ater then working a 14 hour shift in pouring rain alongside the Thames they were taken to tents standing in, what reporters described as, a near-swamp. This appalling treatment was handed out by Close Protection UK, one of the magnificent private sector warriors we hear so much about. It confirmed that it was using 30 unpaid staff and 50 apprentices. The unpaid work was, they said, a trial for paid work during the Olympics.
Had these youngsters been animals the RSPCA would right now be preparing charges of cruelty. The story illustrates vividly the growing divisions in our society. Those of us roughly in the middle are getting by, those at the top are raking in fortunes and avoiding the inconvenience of tax, those at the bottom are plummeting into hell of man’s making.
It was inspiring to hear the stirring words of Land of Hope and Glory yesterday. Sadly the reality in the coalition’s Britain is rather different!
QUOTE OF THE DAY;
” I believe that we create every so-called illness in our body. The body, like everything else in life, is a mirror to our inner thoughts and beliefs. Our body is always talking to us; we just need to take the time to listen. Every cell within our body responds to every single thought we think and every word we speak. So change your thinking now and get going. You can heal your body”….Louise L Hay, author of “I Can Do It”, a guide to the use of affirmations to change your life.