MAY: THE BOARDROOM PUSSY CAT.
One of the reasons for the huge gap that is opening up between the people and the elite across the western world, is bad behaviour by some big businesses.
I always thought we should dismiss the Prime Minister’s initial mission statement about being a government for all as “what they all say” and so it has proved in relation to the Green Paper on Corporate Governance. This was meant to be a signal that ministers were going to grapple with the Philip Green’s of this world and the huge gap between workers on frozen pay and bosses paid 140 times more in some cases.
Instead of workers on boards, they are to have a “voice”. There is little on giving pension scheme members more say, the issue at the heart of the British Home Stores scandal.
Under consideration are pay ratios to show the gap in earnings between Chief Executives and workers, more power for shareholders to vote against bosses pay rises, private firms to be held to the same standards as public companies and a code of practice.
Will any of this be effective in bringing about more corporate business responsibility. The government seem to be in nudging not compelling mood.
THE CHALLENGE OF NUTTALL.
Blue Labour is an organisation that worries about the growing gap between its traditional northern working class base and the liberal (small L) elite who have enthusiastically embraced the social and economic changes of recent years.
They met in Manchester at the weekend to ask questions like “might there be a hermeneutic of continuity reuniting the working class with those that fear its voice?” Now I’m happy to share a Gauloises Disque Bleu (remember them in soft white packets) with any number of intellectuals and discuss the future of socialism. However I think there is a lack of urgency on the centre left and a self indulgent sectarianism between Greens, Liberal Democrats and Corbyn opponents.
While they agonise the new UKIP leader Paul Nuttall says he is going to appeal to Labour voters in the North on the issues of immigration, crime, foreign aid and putting British people at the top of the queue for jobs.
What is the centre left response to that agenda which some will feel has a whiff of racism? Well for one thing what are UKIP going to do about housing, adult social care and the productivity gap? But the centre left do need to make an effective response on the “awkward” issues like immigration. Otherwise those many UKIP second places in wards and constituencies will fall from Labour’s grasp.
ON BALANCE I MOURN CASTRO’S PASSING.
Fidel Castro’s coup in Cuba happened as I began to take an interest in politics. He has been around all my adult life so some thoughts at the time of his passing seem appropriate.
His coup removed a regime that was turning Cuba into a brothel and casino dominated by the United States. Castro wanted American help but instead faced the Bay of Pigs invasion designed to topple him. He therefore embraced the Soviet Union and foolishly allowed them to base missiles on the island which nearly brought about a nuclear war. He was ruthless with opponents and persecuted gays. But, but, but he gave the Cuban people health and education standards rarely matched in the Americas. He also sent troops to confront apartheid South Africa and contributed to its end.
We will all be weighed in the balance and for only a virtuous few will the scale be wildly in their favour.
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