No, we don’t feel at all sorry for the Con-Dem coalition, even though all its misrepresentations are coming home to roost, with consequent public humiliation.
We don’t feel sad for incompetent Tories who base everything they say and do on a set of stupid preconceptions totally without foundation and we don’t feel sorry for their Lib Dem toadies, who are sacrificing their party and their principles for a wholly illusory sniff at power.
We’re not in the slightest moved by the plight of Will Hutton, who started off a so-called pay review for the government believing that public-sector top pay was totally out of control and found out instead that, in fact, it is proportionately far less than in the greedy private sector.
So far is it out of line that Mr Hutton found, to his great embarrassment, that a mandatory limit of 20 times median pay would, instead of hacking back top public servants’ pay, give almost all of them huge pay rises.
The Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, for example, earns up to £197,000, managing a turnover of £10 billion, while an equivalent position in the private sector would pay £2.5 million.
And council chief executives, rather than wallowing in unfeasibly large pots of cash, were paid just 51 per cent of comparable jobs in private companies And that really didn’t suit the purposes of the coalition, so Mr Hutton dropped his “20 times” limit like a hot brick.
Not that we’re defending pay differentials of a dozen or more times median pay in the public sector. Of course we’re not. But the figures certainly show that the real unfairness rests elsewhere – such as in the private sector, where differential of 100 times median pay aren’t unheard of.
And if Mr Hutton wants to look at the public-sector pay structure for examples of real unfairness, then why doesn’t he look at the bottom of the scale rather than straight at the top?
Because that’s where the real injustices lie – at the level where more than a million public servants are earning less than seven quid an hour, where benefit top-ups of inadequate pay are a commonplace and where working people find it a constant struggle to make ends meet.
But that’s not all that’s coming back to slap the Tories and Lib Dems in their self-satisfied faces and give the lie to their snotty assumptions.
Just yesterday, doctors voted to call on the government to scrap its plans for overhauling the NHS, giving the lie to the Tory myth that the NHS is somehow unpopular or not fit for purpose and entrepreneurial doctors are just queuing up to play games with 80 per cent of the public health budget and rake in a healthy profit for doing so.
The BMA urged Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to withdraw the privatising Health and Social Care Bill entirely and “halt to the proposed top-down reorganisation of the NHS.” They said the government should accept that there is no electoral mandate for the plans and abandon them.
BMA chairman Hamish Meldrum warned: “What we have seen is an often contradictory set of proposals, driven by ideology rather than evidence, enshrined in ill-thought-through legislation and implemented in a rush during a major economic downturn.”
Couldn’t have put it better ourselves, so there’s no sympathy for the coalition here. It’s been caught continually, like a naughty child with its fingers in the biscuit barrel, and it’s time that it was put to bed with no supper as punishment for greed and thoughtlessness.
And the first step to doing that will be the rejection of this government and all its works by hundreds of thousands of trade unionists on March 26.