Posts Tagged ‘Energy Levels’
Albert has often talked about capitalists exploiting the sweat of his brow but before this morning I remained unconvinced that such a thing existed. Today he was dripping as he chased his hens. He was also crotchety. Our pal was, before he retired a thousand years ago, one of the army of public sector workers now being subjected to all the inuendos and spin that the establishment can throw at it. Albert always retains his old loyalties and always resents the inference that everyone employed by the state is well able to light their cigars with rolled up tenners. It just ain’t so!
With the possibility of strike action looming over pensions the spin-doctors wheeled out every minister and ex-minister they could muster. Micheal Gove suggested that parents should take over the schools, only he could have come up with something quite this ridiculous. Ed Miliband made clear that he is opposed to Union action, presumably a lie aimed at winning support from Daily Mail readers. Tony Blair had the gall to enter the fray by urging the Unions to enter the real world, presumably he believes that lectures at £100,000 per go are available to everyone. Only dear old Uncle Vince urged more negotiations.
It so happens that we allotmenteers do know a few of the supposedly priviledged public sector employees. One friend of a friend is a teacher in a state secondary school in London. She is paid £32,000 per year and is still paying off her student loan. Her pension contributions will rise from 6.4% to 9.6%. Given the costs of living in the capital she already struggles to pay her present contributions of £200 per month and now realises that she will be required to continue teaching until her 68th birthday. She fears that the energy levels she requires to handle large classes of sometimes unruly pupils will have withered long before then.
Another friend is a case worker for the Crown Prosecution Service. He is paid £19,000 per year and will have to find another £60 per month and work six extra years to earn a pension of £6000. Meantime he is under great pressure, the departmental strength having been reduced considerably. Finally there is a 36 year old lady who works for the Revenue and Customs. She is paid £14,000 and will have to find an extra £37 per month. She already buys supermarket brands to keep costs down and is near the end of her tether.
I am sure there are many more examples which show that the Fat Cats label does not fit the mass of public sector employees. Interestingly all of those we spoke to mentioned the ‘tax gap’ of £120 billion. This covers the massive tax avoidance practices of the rich and the large corporations. Not surprisingly Osborne is not prepared to tackle his friends, more surprisingly the opposition shows little inclination to do so either. Clearly the influence of the Blairites lingers on.
We all hope that a fair setllement can be reached but we shouldn’t hold our collective breath. Many public sector people do difficult and stressful jobs, social services being an obvious example. This government has gone to great lengths to discredit them, yet without them many vulnerable people would be in a very sorry state. We need them.
If ministers go down the road of taking further legal steps to ban the only outlet that exists for their pent-up frustration they may be in for a shock. They claim that the public are behind them, I have seen little evidence of that!
A REAL TEASER FOR YOU! A reader tells me that only 5% of Stanford University graduates managed it!!
Can you answer all 7 of these questions with the same 7 letter word?????
Virtually every morning paper finds its way in to our allotment shed and, since our energy levels on Monday morning are usually akin to those of a fat man in a marathon, we tend to mull them over before we venture in the direction of the ferret cages. As we did so today it occurred to me to wonder what a visitor from outer space would make of our national sense of priorities on the assumption that our newspapers reflect the things that interest us. The little green man would be in no doubt today, wars and starvation may be rampant, but someone called Rooney is the main focus of attention. Since Planet Zog is the one place in the universe not yet covered by Sky our visitor might be surprised to learn that Rooney earns his substantial living by kicking a ball around.
The depth of the Rooney story would certainly impress someone from outer space. He might also be puzzled about all the references to £1500 per session, especially if the Zog equivalent to Wayne Rooney’s pleasures are some form of mind-melt. But he will quickly realise that the mind does come into it somewhere because there is extensive talk of Capello having to assess our hero’s state of it. That must be akin to a funeral director being asked to analyse a stag party, but men from Zog will not have encountered the sphinx-like England manager.
So if the sex life of a soccer mega-star is the most important issue considered by the great British public over its cornflakes what are the least important ones? Having a logical brain a la Spock our visitor will base his judgement on column inches. On this measure the plight of the bee and insect population will make it as the least important of all. The few words available to us tell that scientists have discovered that pollination levels of many plants has dropped by 50 per cent. Professor James Thomson, of the University of Toronto, warns that the earth’s food supply is in jeopardy since bees are responsible for a third of our food and insect pollinators contribute enormously through their role in fertlising crops. The future of the world’s food supplies is, the Professor believes, a pretty big threat. But no, Rooney’s extra-curricular activities are a zillion times more important.
Using his Spock technique our little green man will soon discover that the second least important matter is the treatment of our maimed troops. It seems that assurances were given that those incapable of resuming ‘normal employment’ after discharge would be retained in the army where suitable employment would be found. Indeed no less a figure than Gen Sir Richard Dannat gave a commitment to this effect. However it now appears that, due to the budget cuts, it will be impossible to do this and 5000 severely injured soldiers are to be discharged to make way for new recruits. They will receive one-off payments of £6000 and will be advised to seek ongoing support from charities such as Help for Heroes.
As Col Richard Kemp, a former commander in Afghanistan, has remarked, as those who sacrificed so much to meet the decisions of politicians become middle-aged and old men they could be living lives of penury and misery. It sounds the greatest outrage and betrayal of all time but our green man will reasonably conclude that, by comparison to the Rooney crisis, it matters little to anyone bar the soldiers themselves.
By now our visitor would probably say the equivalent of ‘beam me up Scotty’ and depart shaking his green head. The rest of us sitting on the sacks of corn will conclude that we must be out of step with the rest of our great nation. We do worry about the threat to the food supplies that may destroy the human race and we rant about the pathetic disregard by politicians for the fate of brave men who were ordered to fight a war that has no purpose or chance of success.
And we couldn’t care less about what a millionaire ball-kicker does to pass his considerable leisure time!
WAS YESTERDAY’S MATCH FIXED ?
Two pals drove to Cardiff yesterday to watch the big Twenty20 clash between England and Pakistan. They returned uncertain as to whether the Pakistan performance reflected a little match-fixing or whether they are simply inferior to teams we watch weekly in the local league.
Apparently the batting tactics were odd in the extreme, the fielding was appalling and some of the dropped catches would have shamed a ten-year old schoolboy. And in a strange way that is the new fascination of cricket, the spectator can pass the time wondering whether what he or she is seeing is real or staged.
In Jack Fingleton’s ‘Batting from Memory’ (1981) he quoted Don Bradman as saying that “when you play Test cricket you don’t give Englishmen an inch, you grind them into the dust”. Not any more you don’t!
THE MAD MOBILE PHONE USERS!
News of the supposed scandal of phone tapping is re-emerging as a host of bigwigs rush to complain that their conversations were tapped. To simple souls like we ferret men it raises only one question. Why do these people choose to exchange secrets via mobiles or, for that matter, e-mails. Anyone with a brain larger than a hen must surely realise that anything said or written in that way is open to the sort of low-life who earn their living by acting like Billy Bunter! A little self understanding will tell our bigwigs that they simply can’t resist the buzz of playing superman or God!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. Apollo 2. Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. What was the Beatles last single? 2. Who had a USA number one with ‘War’ ?