I didn’t get wet today. The rain which was pelting down when I got up had stopped by the time I left home. Wrapped up in several layers and my warm coat, I was pretty toastie. A hot chocolate shortly after starting work had me warm on the inside too.
Working means talking, and I have talked all day. My throat feels uncomfortably raw. Tomorrow I am working from home, so no talking, unless I need to use the ‘phone, and lots of hot drinks, though probably lemon and honey rather than chocolate.
No voice means no work. No work means no income. But not talking can mean more thinking time. There was an item on the news tonight about Grant Shapps, the Conservative party chairman, who has been caught out being, as it is referred to when our elected representatives dissemble, ‘economical with the vérité’. I didn’t see the whole item, as MasterB wanted to go out, but I did catch the bit when he bizarrely dismissed the revelation as an anti-business thrust by the BBC, the Guardian and Labour. Really? If so, quite what does that say about Mr Shapps views on honesty and business? One can only hope that other business people take a rather more serious view of telling the truth.
However, recent news stories might suggest that would be an over optimistic hope. Hardly a day seems to pass without some individual in receipt of eye watering amounts of cash intimating that the rules that govern the rest of us somehow do not apply to them. I am constantly reminded of Leona Helmsley’s comment that ‘we don’t pay taxes. Only little people pay taxes.’ She said it, but it seems an awful lot more people believe it.
On the train in the middle of the day, I found myself wondering how Rona Fairhead got her £500,000+ non executive position at HSBC. After all, if she didn’t actually have to read the reports herself, how difficult could it be? Where could I find an equally lucrative, responsibility free income? How do they advertise these posts?I am guessing that as a rich business woman Rona has contacts. Contacts who see her as the right sort of person for this type of job. Money attracts money.
There would be many people who would have done the work, read the reports and even quite possibly asked searching questions about HSBCs attitudes to tax evasion. But they probably didn’t go the the right school; go skiing at the right resorts; mix in the right circles.
The general election is just weeks away. This time a hundred years ago, women didn’t have the vote, now with more of us enfranchised than ever, fewer and fewer of us expect any elected government to do little more than maintain the status quo.
So long as this country is in the control of non-elected people who believe they have an entitlement to a gilded existence simply because of their background, so long as we have governments who employ thousands to investigate benefit fraud and only hundreds to chase taxes evaded by those on incomes over £150,000pa, so long as newspapers are keener to show us David Cameron or Ed Miliband delivering carefully stage managed soundbites in one or other of their kitchens, the cynicism of the electorate will continue to grow, and the gulf between the City, parliament and the people they are supposed to serve will widen.