Grumpy Old Sod Dot Com - an internet voice for the exasperated. Sick of the nanny state? Pissed off with politicians? Annoyed by newspapers? Irate with the internet? Tell us about it!

Send us an email
Go back
11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...


Captain Grumpy's bedtime reading. You can buy them too, if you think you're grumpy enough!
More Grumpy Old Sods on the net


Older stuff






The GOS and Mrs.GOS were having a conversation about money the other day, and mentioned those consumer magazine competitions that drop through the letterbox two or three times a year - the ones where they say you can win £100,000 or something, though no one you know ever does. This made us think - a hundred grand would be the most incredible riches. If we won that, we'd really feel we'd won the jackpot. We'd be set up for life.
We imagine most readers will feel the same. After all, the national average wage is only about £25,000, so that competition win represents four years' wages. The minimum wage is £5.73 an hour, so that even if a minimum-wage worker worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week every week of the year, he would only earn just under £12,000!
Yet in the grand scheme of things, £100,000 isn't very much, is it? Untold wealth to us ordinary folk, but just pocket-money to others. It wouldn't seem very much to the man or woman who got this job with Kirklees Council, for instance …
Reference: NP-060209-8683177
Contact: Kelly Shaw or Graham Goodwin
Position: Director of Finance
Salary: Up to £116,000

In fact council officials' wages are swallowing a larger and larger portion of what little national earnings we have left. The average local authority now spends £4 million a year employing nine times as many people on £50,000-plus packages as ten years ago, which is an increase three times larger than the commercial sector. Nationally 12,600 local council officials earn as much as, or more than, an MP does - of which more anon.
Scrabbling to the top of the local government ant-heap, people like Andrea Hill, the new Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council, earn £220,000, while her colleague in Kent, Peter Gilroy, gets £250,000. Remember, the average wage is £25,000, and the minimum wage is £5.73 an hour.
Even in teaching, traditionally a poorly-paid profession, a few people are getting the big bucks these days. A Head Teacher can earn as much as £100,000 - though it would have to be a very big school - and the Head of a large primary school might earn £60,000. It is in the universities, though, that academics can really earn some dosh. The Vice-Chancellor of Southampton university gets £240,000 (up from £196,000 in 2006, quite a nice little pay-rise). Simon Lee, Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, is currently being paid his £276,000 salary despite being suspended because of complaints of "mistreatment" from staff. We don't know what the "mistreatment" was. Perhaps he unfairly expected them to do some actual teaching once in a while.
While the public sector may be leading the way, commercial firms aren't far behind. AVJobs Ltd. were recently trying to fill a vacancy for a "Software Sales Manager" at a salary of £100,000 a year plus "benefits", whatever they are. The lucky man (or woman, of course - the gravy train is an equal-opportunities outfit - will be based in Lincolnshire, so won't have to spend too many of those bucks buying a house. Apparently they're looking for someone with ten years' experience of selling mainly to local government. Well, that makes sense. They're the ones with all the money these days!
At the top of the commercial tree, well … the sky's the limit. We read about one chief executive of a FTSE100 company who was paid £2½million in 2008. Presumably he (a) worked full time for the company, and (b) had relevant and successful experience. Remember, the average wage is £25,000, and the minimum wage is £5.73 an hour.
The beleaguered bank HBOS aren't quite so fussy, to judge by some of their board members. Up to 2007 they paid one Charles Dunstone £400,000 despite the facts that he spends most of his time running Carphone Warehouse and that he has no banking experience at all. Sir Ronald Garrick received £1m in return for his … erm, no banking experience. Sir Brian Ivory and Coline McConville, similarly well qualified, received £700,000 and £500,000 respectively.
On the other hand, Tony Hobson does have some banking experience, so he must have richly deserved his £1.23m. He's also on the boards of 3 other companies. The average wage is £25,000, and the minimum wage is £5.73 an hour.
But the really big bucks go to people like Michael Geoghegan, chief executive at HSBC, who is believed to be in line for a bonus of more than £1m in spite of plans by the bank to raise as much as £10 billion from its investors. His chairman, Stephen Green, received £3m last year, including a £1.75m bonus paid entirely in shares. He is expected to get another bonus this year, but has generously agreed to be paid in shares again instead of cash. What a philanthropist.
Of course we all know that footballers are paid ridiculous amounts of money. Premiership footballers earn an average of £676,000 per year, according to a survey by The Independent and the Professional Footballers' Association. That's £13,000 a week. When performance-related bonuses are taken into account, they may get between 60% and 100% more. And the average wage is £25,000, and the minimum wage is £5.73 an hour.
But even they can't hold a candle to your favourite and ours, that cheeky chappy Jonathan Woss. In 2006 it was revealed by a then-unidentified BBC mole that Ross earned £530,000 a year for hosting his Radio 2 show - that's £10,000 a show. Then a new contract secured his future until 2010 for a reported £18 million.
£6 million a year for being an arsehole. Worse than that, even: £6 million a year for being an unpleasant arsehole.
And speaking of unpleasant arseholes, what about politicians?
MPs earn £63,000 plus allowances to cover the costs of running an office and employing staff, having somewhere to live in London and in their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency. Gordon Brown's salary is £194,000. Cabinet ministers get £142,000, as does David Cameron in his role as Leader of the Opposition. So when Gordon Brown loses the next election (please, god!) he'll drop not one but two average workers' wages.
In the House of Lords they don't get paid a salary at all, but a Lord who is also a Cabinet Minister gets £107,000, and a Lord who is a common-or-garden sort of minister gets a mere £83,000. Practically on the breadline, if you ask us.
But it's in the matter of their expenses that MPs and Ministers really raid the piggy-bank. This has had so much publicity lately that there's no need for us to go into details, except just to remind you that Jacqui Smith, who as Home Secretary ought surely to have understood the need to keep a clean nose, claimed £116,000 in expenses and is facing an enquiry into allegations she misused the expenses system by classifying a bedroom in her sister's London house as her "main residence" so that she could pocket more than £20,000 a year to run her family home, the detached house in the West Midlands where she lives with her husband and two young children.
The investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner follows an official complaint by neighbours in her sister's street, who say that her claim that she spends most nights of the week at the London home is 'a fabrication'.
There's an even bigger scandal in Brussels (surprise, surprise!) where a leaked internal report has revealed systematic abuses by Euro MPs of parliamentary allowances that enable them to pocket more than £1m in profits from a single five-year term. The auditor's confidential report, suppressed by the Brussels parliament, discloses the extraordinary frauds used by MEPs to siphon off staff allowances funded by taxpayers.
It shows that some claimed for paying assistants of whom no record exists, awarded them bonuses of up to 1½ times annual salary and diverted public money into front companies. End-of-year bonuses worth up to 19½ times monthly salary were paid to assistants to allow members to use up their full annual allowance, payments for secretarial work were made to a crèche whose manager happened to be a local politician from the MEP's political party, payments were made straight into the coffers of national political parties, some assistants doubled their money by banking pay-offs from outgoing MEPs at the same time as receiving salaries from incoming ones, and one MEP claimed to have paid the whole £182,000 staff allowance to just one person - who was a relative.
The report was based on figures obtained in October 2004. The analysis of the figures then took years to surface within the secretive Brussels bureaucracy, and have only just come to light.
Figures from the Tax Payers' Alliance suggest that the graft may be even more profound. They say that over a full term, MEPs could easily bank almost £450,000 in staff allowances, even if they employed several genuine full-time assistants. MEPs claiming the maximum subsistence of £257 a day while staying in cheap accommodation could also pocket about £105,000 from this source over five years, and could make £217,800 in office expenses by claiming their home was also their constituency office. No receipts are required to receive this money.
The lack of any need to provide receipts to justify travel expenses means that MEPs could receive a £54,000 tax-free profit while still making regular journeys between Brussels and their home country. MEPs also have a final salary pension scheme which is even more generous than the one provided to members of the Westminster parliament. The TaxPayers' Alliance calculates that the cash value of this benefit would be about £350,000 over a full parliamentary term.
At current exchange rates the grand total profit over five years comes to £1,176,800. If that weren't enough, currently British MEPs are looking forward to an inflation-busting pay rise that could see their take-home pay rising by almost 50%.
And finally, the cherry on the cake, so to speak: at least one politician recently got the ultimate sweetener. We paid Peter Mandelson a £234,000 "transitional payment" on top of his rather generous salary, to persuade him to make the move from Brussels to Westminster.
Hmm … now there's a thought. Perhaps if we gave him another £234,000 he'd bugger off back again, and leave the rest of us alone? It might be worth it.
NOW ... we've given you the facts, we've detailed the figures, we've told you how the other half lives while you're wondering where next week's big shop in Asda is coming from.
Now it's your turn: can anyone tell us what the hell it is that these people do that's so bloody special? We're often told that it's necessary to offer large salaries to "attract the best" - so what is it that's best about these parasites? What does Jonathan Woss do that fifty other comedians or DJs couldn't do just as well?
If you took all the Chief Executives of all the banks and other companies and county councils, chucked them in a pit in the Isle of Wight and covered them in quicklime, promoted someone three steps below them in the hierarchy and paid them one third the money, don't you think they would do the job just as well?
Of course they would - and be pleased of the chance. It's not rocket science, work, is it? Quite a lot of people do it perfectly well.
The GOS used to work in a county council. He says he could do it.
He'd just have to work out how to stay awake. It may not be rocket science, but it's hell-and-all boring.
Finally, look at this excellent clip from German television. Just look at the figures they quote! And then remind yourself that in the UK the average annual wage is £25,000, and the minimum wage is £5.73 an hour.

The GOS says: Come to think of it, the one bunch of people who probably do justify the claim that you have to pay big money to "attract the best" are the footballers.
Of course if you took the three highest-paid footballers from each Premiership club, dragged them round the back of the stadium and put a bullet behind their ear, the standard of the football probably wouldn't suffer that much. England can lose just as well when Wayne Rooney isn't playing as it can when he is. No one's indispensable.
But at least when Wayne Rooney's on song, he demonstrates a standard of skill and strength and determination that all can see. Has anyone noticed how good Michael Geoghegan is lately? Can anyone even remember who Michael Geoghegan is?


Grumpy Old - homepage

Use this Yahoo Search box to find more grumpy places,
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.








Copyright © 2009 The GOS
This site created and maintained by PlainSite
Grumpy Old - homepage


Captain Grumpy's
- some older posts

ID cards
Old folk
Hairy man
The church
The Pope