This week in the UK we learnt that there are BBC radio and TV presenters who earn a yearly salary of £2.2 million. Yes, TWO POINT TWO MILLION POUNDS! I love to use mental maths to figure out what these sums mean in actual terms. So, 2.2 million means every month, before tax, Chris Evans or Gary Lineker might take home around £180,000. In the Uk that’s the price of a small flat in the outer suburbs of London. Yep you could purchase a flat every month with maybe £20,000 remaining for your groceries and social life. This is preposterous. This is immoral . . . there may be more suitable adjectives to describe this situation but I’m still searching for them. Gary Lineker also has a second job advertising potato chips; the next time I see evidence of his image on a packet of Walkers crisps I will sit on it and ease my body in the most vulgar manner.
Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman vowed that, “the Labour party would slash maximum salaries so they were no more than 20 times higher than the BBC’s lowest-paid workers. If a directly-employed cleaner or canteen assistant at the corporation was paid £20,000, it means the most that high-profile ‘talent’ could earn would be £400,000.” In response to this, those high paid avaricious ‘talents’ would possibly leave the UK to seek their billionaire status in other climes. Would Chris Evans or Gary Lineker be sorely missed? I suspect not. Both share the arrogance of the hugely rich, the diffidence of those who really don’t care at all about their neighbours or where they themselves originated from. Chris Evans was a humble local Radio DJ during my youth and no less humorous for this. His response to questions about his inflated salary was not that he contributed to charitable concerns or knew it was indefensible to earn 2.2 million for chatting and playing music, but that he’d asked his 91 year old mother her opinion, which was, ‘Tell them that your mum, who’s a nurse for most of her life, always told you after your dad died to try to find a job you loved, just like I love nursing, and earn what you can, when you can, while you can… And tell them if your bosses don’t think you’re worth it one day, they’ll sort that out soon enough’.” Lineker left school with very basic qualifications of four O’ levels and his father was a greengrocer. He was undoubtedly a hugely talented footballer but now chases glamorous 20 year old silicone filled young women in between presenting a Saturday night once-weekly Football programme. The BBC licence fee is producing a new class of smug Millionaires completely lacking in empathy; they have a magic pot of money and are cavorting at our peril.
In contrast to these ridiculous salaries, UK Ministers continue to pontificate about the National Minimum Wage (NMW). The NMW presently is £7.50 hourly. Yes, SEVEN POUNDSAND FIFTY PENCE AN HOUR. In real terms, working 40 hours weekly a yearly salary of £ 15,000 and every month before tax you have £1,200 to live your life and maybe support your family. It is, of course, impossible to survive in the UK on the minimum wage unless you live with your old ma and pa until they depart this earth and they demand little financial support from you. Across all London Boroughs monthly rent charges range from £700 to £3,000 for a basic one bedroom flat; this is dependent upon proximity to Central London. For example, recently we rented a one bedroom flat in Ilford paying £900 monthly. Flats in Hackney may be £1500 to £2,000, with flats in Westminster and Chelsea ranging from £2,000 to £3,000.
Owen Jones, Labour activist, describes adults earning minimum wage as the ‘working poor’ who ‘earn their lifetime of poverty’. We at Kingstonmouth know, as we have worked with men and women who survive by working two jobs, careering from one shift to another, half-dead, knocking back energy drinks and asserting they can manage. These are dads who never see the children they are earning their salaries for, these are men and women who never have time to make love let alone rub the backs of their partners. Men in their fifties who have worked two jobs for fifteen years, know nothing else. Whose heart beats precariously although they cannot fit in a GP appointment or even a visit to a Pharmacist, who defend their two jobs but when exhausted admit they hate their situation and desperately want to spend time with their sons who are grown up by drug dealers with gangs as their surrogate family. Do we want to live in a society where in order to secure our rents and mortgages our children are forced to make a Faustian pack with the prison industrial complex?
Presently, UK Ministers continue the debate; Labour asserts the NMW should increase to £10 hourly: “Labour’s real living wage will immediately boost the incomes and opportunities of more than 20% of the workforce, especially in sectors such as retail, care and hospitality. We know that where work pays, living standards rise and reliance on benefits falls. This is the right thing to do, and a Labour government will be committed to rebalancing our economy so that no one and no community is left behind.” This really improves lives of those who live in the London Boroughs very little, I’m afraid. I support Jeremy Corbyn and his manifesto but the simple question is, could you support your family earning £10 hourly, Jeremy?
Conservative Ministers support an increase to £9 hourly but some declare that increasing the NMW will have negative repercussions upon small businesses. What claptrap! I assert that if you run a small business you must ensure your employees earn enough to live otherwise your business is not financially viable – maybe reduce your own salary, eh? Additionally, not one employer ‘named and shamed’ by the government for paying below minimum wage has been prosecuted. Ministers have humiliated nearly 700 employers since 2013 in a scheme they launched to “crack down on those who ignore the law” and continue to pay below the national living wage. Supported housing and Care homes have become the new sweatshops where working class people earn their poverty while cuts in savings go to fat cat Grenfell-like millionaire contractors. The Neoliberal led privatisation of public services and tax breaks for billionaires is the evil perpetuating this modern day austerity slavery. There is a trickling up of wealth to the millionaire class that is visible and excruciating painful and bigoted.
The next time you see television tax parasites such as Gary Lineker and Chris Evans on TV or in public, ensure you vigorously wave you minimum wage pay cheque at them in disgust. These TV tax millionaires will always invent a dodgy old granny to give them advice as they lack the ethical acumen to take a pay cut. We at Kingstonmouth would like to remind Gary Lineker that some children on London estates have a staple diet of potato chips in between collecting milk coupons and waiting in line at the food bank. Capitalism has become the equal sharing of the working poor’s misery in the UK. Greediness and smugness have now become the new philosophy of the new millionaire class. The sad truth is that the income tax that we pay is creating this serious mental disorder; let’s find a way to stop these millionaires who suck the happiness from us when their salaries are publically announced.
This article was written by Donovan Reynolds, CEO and Ann Smith, Managing editor of Kingstonmouth.com. Donovan Reynolds is an Independent blogger and Human Right’s Activist of Jamaican descent and a legal Academic who has an interest in Human Rights, Culture and International Development issues. Readers of this article are welcome to provide feedback at the space provided at the end of this article or at firstname.lastname@example.org useful commentary made on our Facebook and Kingsonmouth@twitter pages