Is Labour's commitment to 20:1 top salaries to ordinary salaries a dream to far? Today (24 Jan) on Daily Politics one guest, Anneliese Dodds, was put on the defensive over the Labour commitment not to do business with any organization that has a wider salary disparity from top to lowest earners, of 20:1.
Andrew Neil, in his customary aggressive style, challenged Annaliese to answer what she would do about contracts that could only be undertaken by large, overseas suppliers. As an example he used the order to Lockheed for the F-35B Lightning II. It made me think!
First of all, there was the style of Mr. Neil, very aggressive. I know it is now his trademark, but was it really necessary to be so aggressive? What next, let's attack priests who wish 'Peace on Earth' especially over Christmas? Unreal and impossible? Probably, but certainly not worthy of disdain.
That aside I agree with him, Labour really is setting targets that most people only dream about. Then again I thought about the example of Apple's tax bill in Ireland? Now of course, the Irish government is objecting to EU interference because of the risk that Apple may simply end up pulling out. Indeed there is that risk. As the USA builds up steam in its attempt to repatriate U.S funds saved in tax havens, (estimated now at over $1 trillion), and governments in the EU trying to stop multi-national companies from playing "pass-the-profit"; there is more pressure than ever for these companies to play by the book and pay their taxes.
I do not doubt for a second they will find new ways of avoiding tax, but that is not the issue. What about the poor old tax havens? Lower tariffs and taxes prices to attract overseas investment? To me, any solution MUST be global, and MUST be agreed by all governments. Any exception will put pressure that could conceivably undermine and destroy the goal. But as things get more critical, as pressure builds up, as humanity screw up the system (including the ecosystem), the Paris Accord has proved that it can be done. Even the U.S.A. by itself cannot unravel it, despite the initial fears Trump's withdrawal caused.
Why is that? Because the goal is altruistic, It is greater than any single country's narrow nationalistic focus. As 'democracy' in one form or another becomes more ubiquitous; as big beasts like Russia and China try to legitimize their regimes through more 'democratic' politics; the question at the heart of this problem will come to the surface more and more often.
Who should rule, Money or Democracy? I for one, have no doubt how that battle will end. Assuming we survive the labour pains; it may take years, decades or even centuries, but it will happen. I also know that Britain alone has no chance in tackling this human failing alone. The EU is trying and still has a long way to go. One more reason for Britain to cancel Brexit.
But as Carillion folds and proves that even the capitalist mode needs rethinking, the argument for nationalization is now stronger than ever. Big business, 'money'; is reinforcing the age-old biblical adage, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven". Big business is a societal adversary that, one way or another, needs to be brought to heel.
So Mr. Neil, stop trying embarrass the dreamers! Stop insulting them for sharing it with us! After all, I don't see you standing outside a church, mosque or synagogue, telling the worshippers "hey guys, you got it wrong!" Help me out here, isn't that what some people call hypocrisy"