Saturday, 12 November 2011

48 percenters

A forwarded link caused a disturbance in my morning ritual of something liquid and preferably coffee, which pointed to breaking (at the time) news of top-cat pay rises which briefly bubbled its way to the top of the uk info charts; before, and seemingly to the relief of many in the corridors of news, being prematurely replaced not even 24 hours later - and strangely to more trumpeting - by the uk coalition governments call to cut the benefits of those layabouts who would dare commit any act of heinous criminality.  Acts such as thieving a bottle of water from lidl or getting caught  trying to manhandle a tv (way too big for the smaller tearaways) off and down the road in a somewhat recognisable wheelchair.  With legislative white papers being made ready for placement before the parliamentary rubber stamp, and soon if they are caught in any act that would add (or not) to their material benefit, as evidenced by many an armchair judge in front of their own legally brought and paid for tvs during the august 2011 riots, for the temerity of wishing to improve  shoddy lives.

I mentioned this was the coalition governments idea, but it contained the hallmark fingerprints (and sticky ones to boot) of hailing from the cranium of ids - well that and he cawed loudly whilst saying so.  A man who would, no doubt, if asked whether the poor should be jettisoned into space to pave the way for new  exploration, i.e., researching longevity for the pantheon of infinitely more deserving - with all patents going to acme corp. - or whether the poor should be offered training so possibly improving their lot -, would plump for the former every time, whilst beating you over the head with his book*.  

I know my mind's truly wondered, when i can imagine hearing "help, the poor" in a kind yet shrieking tone emanating from the head of the once party leader.

The amount of column inches or pixels per inch, foisted on the unmentionable sectors of society fostered the belief that the proportion of ne'er do well's who took part in the fracas would easily number 99%.  Ahh, the gasp of disbelief was almost palpable, when it turned out (admittedly from only those caught and hauled before the beak) that a lowly third (33%, 1/3 or one-third) were actually claiming benefits.  So, what about the other 2/3's who, after a brief spin in the headlights of newsoriety, fell off the press radar faster than an alcoholic vainly attempting to distract you whilst trying to neck your final pint?

More on them in a later post.

Before i leave this ids soupcon, it's best to clear up a few erroneous ideas.  When it comes to equality, poverty and the poor, there's no one more qualified to putt that wayward department (the dwp) of profligacy to the sword.  The only other person, whom i believe could be viewed as only slightly more qualified, has sadly departed.  But i'm sure if genghis khan were still alive today, he'd be more than happy to have ids as his staunchly loyal deputy.

Suppose, for a moment, we assume the figures are correct and 33% of the naughty transgressors were in receipt of the basic jsa allowance instead of a prison stipend.  This safety-net allowance ranges anywhere from £53.45p - for those single criminals under 25, to £67.50 for those hardened single knock-abouts who (no doubt) having spent their formative years submerged in grubby back-alleys stripping narks of their fledgling wealth, then graduating to thumbing through loose and stained copies of "create your own crime wave! Free with every smashed shop window", still managed to trip over the 25 year-old line without having their collar felt - to hard - or spending too many hours indoors.

Basically the government are showing how much they disapprove of such actions, and to ensure the "something for nothing" crowd don't get too big for their boots and ponder future riotous behaviour  - when their existence really starts to turn screw-frighteningly shitty - will set ensure the legislation allows the beaks on high sufficient clout to deduct (or claw) £25 per week from the unwashed's income, as part of the coalition's "get tough on the bastards" approach to re-balancing the country's dire fiscal criminal-induced lot.

For example, if you fell in the £53.45p allowance bracket the new fines (from 2013) would ensure 47% of your weekly income could be clawed back by the government - sorry the courts - as a way of rubbing your evil vile and wicked nose in it, for daring to disrupt the livelihoods and enjoyment of those who are your betters; or 37% of your weekly if you fell into the "you really should know better" category!

As we know the reason touted for this near 50% potential tithe are the riots.  However, i smell a rat.  A rat which was obviously waiting to hatch under lubricious circumstances, the riots dutifully fashioned as a fait d'acomplise..   What does appear swamped by those who think "about time," are people on the other side of the equation actually saying "whoa, hold your horses there speedy.  Do you really want to further impinge the destitute by slicing nearly half of their money without wondering why they took part anyway?" Can probably be counted on two slightly-splayed, overly large fingers.

This new sanction (a word which has apparently become the new dwp catch-phrase) holds a further sting, as it won't be held in reserve solely for those conducting or being part of riotous behaviour.  Oh no, this could easily be any a situation; from falling behind in your credit card or mortgage payments (due to loss of work or reduction in salary), all the way to lobbing a brick through a window and walking down the road with a tv whilst being filmed on the national news, or viewed a few million times from someones mobile phone gatherer.

The day following that announcement, we learnt from the other side of the tracks that the top 100 ftse company directors racked up a 49% annual pay ri-.  Wait a mo.  49% increase on one side, a 47% claw back on the other!  It's the 48% parallel!

It was depressing listening to an advertising executive talking about the time, energy and risk he's put into keeping his multi-billion company upright in the choppy waters of global trade, through recessions, good times and bad.  And so, if anything, his 23% pay rise to £1.5mn was a slight.  Indeed he sounded outraged, as though he had all right to feel outraged at receiving such a pitiful sum.  Which i suppose you would, if you compared your take-home to someone else, like say, sir phillip green or a saudi prince?
And what do our august leaders have to say about the 49% increase in boardroom pay, whilst seemingly agreeing with ids on swingeing cuts for those already on the bottom?



The fact that boardroom pay (for those who believe they're worth it) has on average increased to £4.9mn, that their annual pay rise is nearly 50%, simply garners the term disturbing from our governing politicians; and only due to the glare of publicity that was temporarily sizzled upon them.

Before we get too carried away, do pity the poor ceo's who only received a 43% pay rise, on average.

Along with mr cameron, many of the front & back benchers form part of a happy flock.  Seagulls happy to skewer each other (or anything viewed as weak) at the slightest twinge of an opportunity.  And now the boot is firmly on the neck of the poor, what better way than to bring some of those wonderful ideas they've been mentally toying with for years, firmly into the limelight.

Timing, oh timing.  It is odd that with less than 0.0002% of people claiming some sort of benefit involved in the riots and/or looting, that the governments use of a deep-sea pile-driving rig to combat the issue, is perplexedly worrisome.

In line with this, there's another pronouncement from the leader (david cameron pm) that if you're now unemployed for more than two years you'll be forced to do community service (leg shackles will naturally be provided, free of cost) for "at least six months, to get you out the house, to know what it feels like to work," and not just stare at that box you've no doubt nicked, all day!

What?  Exactly what jobs are out there that the large intrusive hand of government (from the party that always bellows that governments to big, there's too much red tape) will force people to do, that won't be reminiscent of scenes from films involving chain-gangs?

So now they'll force people to do whatever bit of crap they can find them - and call it work - and they'll receive less than the minimum wage those in work receive.  Yes, that really would make anyone feel very special.  But then he has the temerity to continue saying "people will learn new skills they can apply in the workplace."  Would this be new skills like learning how to bring banks and economies to the brink of bankruptcy?  Perhaps they'll learn how to fiddle expenses?  Instead why not assist or help them into decent training courses in the first place, before two wasted years have passed?  Of course they wont.  Doing that would imply the current setup is nothing more than the complete and utter statistical wasting exercise that it is.

The whole trope smacks of mendacious expediency aimed towards their cawing gallery of hawks, which will eventually end with the poorest getting it, at gunpoint.

So in future, remember!  If you want to gleefully sack hundreds or thousands of people, cut their wages, outsource jobs to cheaper labour markets, destroy markets and even peoples pensions, ensure you're on the right side of the 48% club.

My cup of chilled coffee wobbled, ever so slightly.

* Patently this is ridiculously untrue - allegedly - and possibly wouldn't happen in this or any other timeline.

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