January 2012 has passed by in a rush, I have felt guilty all month about the lack of blog posts. I may have painted myself into a corner with the feeling that every post needs to be weighty rather than a few pithy, incisive posts ( Pithy – an adjective defined as terse and full of meaning or substance, or as Baldrick might say, not an orange. ) So to get back into the posting habit I will resort to the old method of summarising the time since my last post.
The big story dominating the news this month has been the size of the bonus awarded this year to RBS CEO Stephen Hester. Symbolically kept below a million by political pressure from the Conservatives, a Labour led media witch-hunt has resulted in Hester declining to take the bonus after all, deciding to “get by” on his basic salary of £1.2 million. The Labour party led by Ed Miliband are now conveniently forgetting that they, through Alistair Darling, recruited Hester in the first place to oversee RBS when the state injected so much support and, most importantly, decided upon and put in place his remuneration package.
What do people want? As a nation, we have £43 billion pounds tied up in RBS. Are people expecting that it should be run by some chimp from the London Borough of Hackney’s treasury department? What I find interesting is the parallel between Hester and good old ‘Arry Redknapp, a diamond geezer, should be England Manger, West ‘am frew and frew etc who, as manager of Portsmouth, in 2004 was earning FOUR million a year. Now last time I checked, the British Taxpayer has zero investment tied up in Pompey, unless we count social security benefits paid to some of their more Neanderthal supporters. Yet the average man in the street regards Redknapp’s remuneration as OK, despite Redknapp looking increasingly like he has tried to avoid paying tax on a £100,000 “loan” ( Cahm on , everyone ‘as to ‘ave their likkle fiddle, dont they? )
Everyone will spout out the usual nonsense about needing to pay the going rate to get the best, so the 2 million a year paid to Richard Dunne, the Aston Villa defender and Bolton’s goalkeeper Jussi Jauskelainen proves that point. Also on a par with the pay of the man charged with managing that £43 billion is Alan Hansen, who we pay , through the BBC licence fee, £1.5 million a year to turn up a couple of times a week and trot out the same tired, formulaic observations. But somehow this logic only applies to certain professions.
A few more suggestions of things that could be given up, relinquished, forgone. What about Bob Crowe, leader of the RMT trade Union passing up his low cost social housing in favour of someone not earning his £150K a year? Would some of the labour leaders of our hard pressed city councils consider forsaking a percentage of their substantial salaries in solidarity with the dinner ladies they are having to let go? Finally Ed Miliband himself might like to give up his position as leader of the Labour Party in favour of his brother to allow the country the pleasure of a more credible opposition and a fairer match at PMQ’s.
In sport, the Australian Open Tennis Finals featured some monster matches involving Murray, Djokovic and Nadal which were only separated by the thinnest of lines and smallest of mistakes. The final triumph by Djokovic was reminiscent of some gladiatorial contest judging by the Serbian’s victory celebration. In cricket, England contrived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Pakistan twice. Their vulnerability to the spinning ball was again their undoing. The sterility of Gulf State’s stadiums with their pitifully small crowds bodes ill for the 2022 World Cup. Even virtually free tickets could not attract fans despite the presence in these states of many thousands of Pakistani labourers, who probably were not allowed time off from their slavery, sorry, work. January was also notable for a reminder of Football’s ongoing campaign Lets Kick Out Racism, but how do you translate that into scouse or cockernee?
From a cultural perspective, David Hockneys ” A Bigger Picture” Exhibition opened at the Royal Academy in London. His landscapes of the Yorkshire Wolds are both breathtaking and original. In film, Meryl Streep demonstrated that real acting is alive and well in her outstanding portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. We also saw War Horse which is basically Babe meets Lassie with cinematography and locations from The Quiet Man. On TV, the much awaited adaptation of Sebastian Faulk’s classic novel Birdsong was simply tedious.
This month we discovered that Tesco’s and the Dublin dole offices have something in common. They have both banned
slobs shoppers from wearing pyjamas whilst on their premises. These epsilon semis can’t grasp the obvious truth that wearing pyjamas outside your house is seen as two fingers up to the rest of us forced to wear normal attire for work and other mundane social interactions. Show us all some respek innit.