A while back a video of Jeremy Paxman interviewing Russell Brand was doing the round on the internet. I’m sure most of you would have already seen it, the interview covers topics such as voting in a general election, Revolution and even touches on beards at one point! If you haven’t seen the video, its linked below.
At the time of this video being published, the Government was (and still is) talking about dishing out an 11% pay increase to MPs, I had a nice rant about this on my Facebook that can been seen below.
“The newsnight footage of Brand speaking out against a number of issues he sees with the political system is amazing. He struck a cord with me, not because I agree completely with his ideas, but because you can see how passionate he is about bring about the change we as a nation need to see. He mentioned briefly the fact our elected government are going to court over the rights for bankers to get extortionate bonus pay for doing their job and I just so wish he had spoken of the 11% pay increase to MPs’ salaries!
In the next few weeks David Cameron will be “making a decision on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority recommendation for a 11% pay rise on MPs’ salaries.”
Originally this 11% pay rise was meant to be compensation to MPs’ after the scrapping of their expenses (you know the ones! The ones they use to pay for their travel expenses, work lunches out the office, coffee on their business meetings…expenses for SECOND homes, new cars and duck ponds etc all paid for with TAX payers money?!) but now they are demanding the pay rise whilst keeping their expenses intact to counterbalance the pension cuts (That a lot of the private sector have also suffered!).
All the while they are cutting benefits and funding for local services, freezing salaries across the entire public sector, slashing education budgets and cutting back on everything the general public use and need each day.
Brand makes a very good point that this current system is only out for themselves. “Profit is a filthy word” and we, the British public, who are part of a democratic society, need to express our disgust at the proposals to give bonuses and pay rises to those who not only don’t need them, but don’t deserve them!
I personally don’t think they should receive a pay rise, especially if the rest of the public sector (our teachers, police, hospital staff, fire men and women…the list goes on!) is still under the pay freeze
Please don’t be complacent and believe this will all go away, or that it’s too late; it’s never too late to stand up for equality and to start making a change to the way you think!”
You might be thinking this is all old news and why are you posting about it now? Well yesterday I went to a gathering of student at the University that I work at to see a protest against the pay increase that this institutions Vice Chancellor has just received. This was in no way an attack on the man himself, but rather students at the institution asking the university to get its priorities in order! (Just to clarify, I wasn’t part of the protest, I was just observing!)
The powers that be decided to grant the VC another pay rise of 5%. This worked out at £16000 taking his pay to £332,000 a year. (I say another because he was granted a pay rise of 15% this time last year working out at an extra £45000)
The situation with staff pay couldn’t be any further removed. Last term (in November) teaching and support staff went on strike over their pay. They had suffered a 15% real terms cut over the last 5 years and were unwilling to accept the 1% they were being offered. Despite this, the University stood its ground to the 1% and then justified the increase to the VC’s wage by citing his pay freeze between 2009 and 2010 (Because the 15% increase last year of £45000 wasn’t enough?)
What really makes the students (and the staff) angry is that everyone involved in Higher Education, especially those students from low income backgrounds and those supporting themselves on post grad courses, are feeling the impact of these education cuts being handed down by the government, and are constantly being told “We just don’t have the money” by the institution to plug the gap!
This isn’t just a trend at the institution I work at either, this is a national trend, and its a worrying one as well. But Widening Participation, Funding and the widening gap of inequality in the higher education sector is a topic for another blog post!