Greens select Sedgeley as 10:1 outside candidate for Greenwich and Lewisham

The Green Party has selected Roger Sedgley as its candidate for Greenwich & Lewisham in the London Assembly elections next May. Announcing the decision, they put their 10:1 campaign (which seeks to limit the pay differential between the highest and lowest paid London government employees) front and centre. 

The Greens unveil their 10:1 campaign
Sedgley said:

"The very simple idea behind the 10:1 campaign is a way to help to narrow the huge gulf in London between those who have, and those who are less fortunate.

"Islington Council has already committed to it - its Chief Executive Lesley Seary earns no more than 10 times what Islington's lowest-paid worker takes home. I want employers across London to follow Islington Council's example.

"Green councillors in Lewisham successfully fought for a policy where all Lewisham Council workers and workers on outsourced contracts are paid at least the London Living Wage of £8.30 an hour. Greens will fight to put more money in the pockets of ordinary hardworking Londoners."

The campaign is an interesting one, although in effect, what it does is to cap public sector salaries at around £150,000. To put that in perspective, a study last year showed that 14 Lewisham Council (which wouldn't be included in the measures) employees earned more than £100,000 a year, while a 2011 report showed that 379 TfL employees earned over £100,000. 


Lou Baker said...

Typical green babble.

Just because someone is paid £100k+, it does not mean they are not worth it.

Running a council is an important job. There is a massive budget and the capacity to get things wrong is huge. And if things go wrong old people can die and kids can remain uneducated.

So rather than focussing on a figure these green beardy weirdies should worry about quality.

At £90,000 you are simply not going to get the best people in to the most important jobs. You'll end up with someone who wouldn't have got beyond average in the private sector.

And that's why government services are so bad. The sandal clad morons think quantity is more important than quality and they're wrong.

A vote for the Greens is a vote for ignorance of the highest order. If these people knock on your door while campaigning offer them a burger and directions to a proper shoe shop.

kolp said...

Good stuff, we ARE all in this together. Serving as a council executive is hard work but it's a privilege and lavish financial rewards aren't necessary. Limiting from 150k to 100k spreads the wealth, as another 1 or 2 people can be employed.

Lou Baker said...

You really don't get it do you?

It's about quality, not quantity.

Employing an extra 2 people is only worthwhile if you need an extra 2 people.

If you don't it's a waste of money.

Talent costs. Pay the right people the right salary and our public sector gets better.

Pay peanuts and? Well, that's why it's staffed mainly by monkeys.

kolp said...

Lou unemployment is devasting for people and families and we need to minimise it.

I'll tell you what I don't get. Is how seeminingly intelligent people so easily buy into this 'there's only talent at the top' of an organisation so only they must receive lavish pay.

Brockley Nick said...

@kolp - it's not that at all.

It's that what this would do is create a deeply skewed system whereby the private sector is free to pay whatever it likes to attract top talent, whereas the public sector cannot. That means key skills will not be attracted in to the public sector, which means more work will need to be outsourced to private sector contractors, who will charge a premium.

This will also incentivise management to increase the pay of the lowest pay in an organisation, which would actually mean fewer jobs.

So higher bills and fewer jobs. Congratulations.

D said...

Maybe the public sector needs to be attracting good people another way then as it clearly can't compete on wages.

The thing I find depressing about this is that apparently amongst all of the billions of people on this planet there aren't any world-class leaders out there who wont just follow the cash. Maybe the blame lays with HR? Surely it can't be that hard to unearth a genius who doesn't mind getting out of bed for a 'measly' 100k?!

Brockley Nick said...

There are plenty of people who are motivated by things other than money, who go in to industries that don't pay so well but offer something else - whether that be the chance to work in the great outdoors, the chance to work with young people or the chance to work with the hot men and women of the PR industry. But within those industries, if you ask someone whether they want to do roughly the same job for twice the money, they are likely to take the money.

There are people who choose public service over higher salaries. They are called MPs. And we all love and respect them for their service to the nation.

Anonymous said...

Increasing the pay of the lowest paid doesn't necessarily mean a reduction in the number of jobs, surely? I think what they are trying to suggest is that the money from the top would be redistributed to those at the bottom. No?

Brockley Nick said...

Even assuming capping pay wouldn't prove to be a false economy (which the first part of my argument says it would) I doubt the maths would work out like that.

Lewisham Council employs 11,000 people. Let's assume that around 1,000 are on the lowest rate of pay. To raise the pay of those 1,000 people by 1,000 pounds would cost £1m.

There are 14 people earning above £100,000 at Lewisham Council. Let's say 5 of those would breach the ceiling introduced, by an average of £20,000 per person. In other words, you might save £100,000 by introducing a salary cap.

BUT, as you raised the salary of the lowest paid by £1,000, you could increase the ceiling for the highest paid by £10,000. So the actual saving you'd make is £50,000.

So a net cost of £950,000, which would have to be met by cutting costs (jobs) or raising taxes (which are currently frozen in any case).

Brockley Nick said...

Plus the administrative cost of working all this out and doing the modelling, the extra recruitment costs when you're hiring with one hand tied behind your back, the policing to make sure people aren't bending the rules through other forms of payment, etc, etc.

Lou Baker said...

The reason why Tesco is such a successful company is not because it has the best shelf stackers.

It's because former boss Sir Terry Leahy is a brilliant businessman. With all due respect to shelf stackers - it's not rocket science - almost anyone could do the job. Few, if any, could run multi-billion pound business.

The same should apply in local government. Anyone can sweep streets. That's no offence to those who do it. I wouldn't want to. But it's hardly a skilled job. Using a broom - that's a skill that could be learned in 30 seconds. But how many people could run a complex organisation of thousands of people? Not many.

I have no problem with the top public sector workers earning top salaries. This false barrier that 'they shouldn't earn more than the Prime Minister' will only serve to drive talent away. The fact is the PM is paid a derisory sum for what he does. But, obviously, it is politically difficult for the PM to be paid more.

But the person who runs Transport for London? If the tube is getting better - if more trains are on time, if cost are lower, if projects are being completed on time. Absolutely they should earn a million. The private sector would pay more. If that means losing workers 'on the shop floor' so be it. Quantity does not always increase quality.

As for Kolps argument that we should create jobs for the sake of it just to keep people in work. Sigh. Who pays?

kolp said...

society does Lou, society does

Mb said...

First off, the idea of limiting public sector pay is a crude, populist move. Plays well to the gallery but there are plenty of jobs in the public sector that need skills that have an expected pay. Service to your fellow man is fine, you can do that in the private sector as well so why limit yourself pay wise by staying in the public sector? (should just say that I'm way south of the kind of salary cap talked about so will never affect me I'm sure)

Lou, try and stop with the childish gibes. It's not just the silly "beards weirdy" fringe. Our own entirely rational PM is not above this kind of gimmick. In fact he's banged on about the PMs salary being some kind of arbitrary limit.

In fact see of you can spot the difference in this statement

"And so that the public sector takes the lead on promoting greater pay equality, we are looking at introducing a system where no top executive in the public sector can earn more than 20 times the salary of the lowest-paid worker in their organisation."

Identical principle, albeit with a tweak to the multiplier.

Anonymous said...

And I thought Darren Johnson had suffered a mishap which is why he hasn't responded to any of my emails about the Drug Centre on Shardeloes road. He's too busy mugging up for the TV cameras to actually make the effort respond to one of his constituents. And to cap it all he doesn't even get a speaking part in 10:1 advert.

Vesta Curry said...

I'm clearly so out of touch ... 370+ employees in TfL over £100k! Lawks a mercy!

I don't think anyone (ANYONE!) - needs to be paid more than £80K - I say make that a national maximum wage - that would sort out all that self-overating "top talent" ... I really, really disagree with this myth of attracting top talent (certainly hasn't been my experience in the corporate world).

There are probably about 1,000 truly talented individuals in every generation ... maybe they could be paid more than £100k. The rest of you over-renumerated buggers – shame on you. The national average salary is around £24K.

And I'm sorry Nick – the PR industry is almost as bad as the banking sector for gross over-renumeration ... good luck to you, but I really don't see how you could disagree with a straight face and a clear conscience.

Lou Baker said...


Well if the country was dumb enough to impose an earnings limit it would self destruct.

The wealth creators would leave - taking with them all the lower paid jobs too. The economy would implode and unemployment would rocket. But you'd make your point.

If you're on £20k you might think that £80k sounds a lot - after all it's four times as much. Only it isn't. If you earn £20k you take home almost £16k - and you'll probably qualify for tax credits too. So you keep most of what you earn.

If you earn £80k you actually barely take home £50k. So all of a sudden what looks like a salary four times higher is actually only a salary two and half times as high.

Fast forward to a £200k salary and you only actually take home £114k.

So when you see these big figures, basically halve them to get the true earnings. That way they're not nearly so huge as they look but are far more accurate.

Mb said...

IWhy should ANYONE be paid £24k? That still puts you in the top few percent on earth.

Vesta, no one is intrinsically worth any particular salary. If you have one person with a particular skill and another person with a resource, be it money or another means of exchange, how do you propose to force them to trade at a particular level?

Manor Club Tim said...

I remember sitting at a talk by an economist a few years ago, who reminded the audience, earning on average between £70-100k (at the time), that they were in the top 2% of the country's income earners. The message was that we should wake up and realise how lucky we are and how skewed our view of the world is as a consequence.

Since then I have tried never to take my financial luck for granted. It was luck, not skill, that got me born into one of the world's richest countries, and supreme luck that let me be born here to middle class parents with university degrees and decent jobs. Would I have ended up with the same income had I had a different upbringing, regardless of my level of skill? Probably not. Some particularly driven and ambitious people might triumph regardless, but the rest of us are more ordinary than that.

Yes there are plenty of private sector workers earning more than £150k in London but in percentage terms even here in the UK they are in the tiny, tiny minority. Less than the "one per-cent" quoted at the moment in the USA. Not that you'd believe it reading a morning editorial in City AM.

I simply don't believe that only those top earners have the skill and ambition to be good leaders.

OK, the Green campaign is populist but I can think of worse populist campaigns currently under way.

Anonymous said...

I agree that anyone could sweep a street, and for that reason I would think that (albeit it is an ideal akin to Green ideology) it would be good to have some form of compulsory community service program. It would encourage local pride in our neighbourhood environments and probably, taking this from a socio-psychological outlook, increase the overall sense of satisfaction (then less likely for disaffection).
Then to the number of jobs available - I say, invest in co-operative education and share the responsibility. Once, I heard someone say 'a committee should optimally consists of two persons, one of them absent, so that things get done'. This is a sad, but at present true, fact - there should be more on every rung (promoting more equal pay). There _should_ be, but our reliant system of macro economics would not cope (for sure!). At the very least, as Lou points out - it would start some kind of drastic change. How would we stay out of poverty and default? It'd be terribly tough and would only work if neighbouring countries followed suit. In other words, small change is better not Green facism (though the sentiments are possibly understandable).

I'm not sure why we keep coming around to the prime minister. PMs tend not to complain, or so I have gathered, because once they leave their position _then_ they make the money big time. Blair is no exception.

Anonymous said... I quiet like living in a free country, why being forced to do some kind of "community service" would increase my pride in living here is beyond me.

Odd isn't it? As countries around the world are throwing out their dictators and we drop bombs to help them, some idiots are actively seeking it.

NAT said...

@J.R. Shakerley, wouldn't those on £100k+ object that their time was too valuable to be street sweeping?

Lou Baker said...

This thread demonstrates that the Greens are an embarrassing mess.

Their policies are all about social engineering - and are destined to fail.

And, as someone who cares passionately about the environment, I find this very sad.

Rather than having realistic policies aimed at improving our environment they've gone down a mad hippy lefty route - thus alienating all those of us in centre who care about the environment but who don't identify with the great unwashed.

mb said...

Lou, yes it's a daft idea but not just the greens. The Tory's have an almost identical policy (discreetly dropped?) not sure about Labour.

I refer you to my earlier post...

"And so that the public sector takes the lead on promoting greater pay equality, we are looking at introducing a system where no top executive in the public sector can earn more than 20 times the salary of the lowest-paid worker in their organisation."

Brockley Nick said...

@Vesta - I think the sooner we recognise that there is no intrinsic value to labour other than what someone else is prepared to pay you for it, the better. Salaries aren't based on your worth to society, because there is no objective standard for worth. Salaries are based on supply and demand.

I don't feel any need to justify salaries in the PR industry, which in any case are nowhere near what people in banking get paid. Most people in PR are paid rather poorly - young people who work in the industry because it is relatively glamorous or fun, rather than because it pays well.

My salary is based on the value I add to my company, which is based on the amount of revenue I bring in , which in turn is based on me going to potential clients and selling myself to them at a given rate. In other words, I only get paid what I get paid because the customer thinks I am worth it. They think I am worth it because of the value I add to their business in terms of raising awareness of their brand and the benefits that brings to their bottom line in terms of revenue. That's a pretty pure market. Morality doesn't come in to it.

Sorry not to reply last night, I was collecting the award for large agency of the year at the PR Week Awards. No need to congratulate me ;)

D said...

I think you spend too long playing on this blog so should get a pay-cut! ;-)

max said...

Congratulations Nick. And wasn't this comment also a bit of meta-PR for the PR industry? If further proof was need about how deserved the award was ;)

Anyway, since the public is the customer I think that for large swathes of the public sector this proposal is perfectly correct.
Even at "only" 10 times the wages of a road-sweeper all Town Hall Chief Executives would still say thanks to their lucky star every night before bedtime.

mb said...

Still don't accept it's anything except a populist move. Also, unless you can somehow force the private sector to follow the same wage structure you WILL loose people. Just because you're motivated by the public good rather than being motivated (at least partially) by salary doesn't mean you're good or bad at your job.

Removing one of the key negtiating factors from the public sector is not going to help them compete for staff. The first thing I looked at when moving to LU was pay.

Anonymous said...

1. Lou: you don’t like the Greens, have never voted for us and are never likely to. That’s fine, really, we get that, but let’s have a good discussion based on reasoned arguments, not insults. You say we should stick to the environment, but would you not then accuse us of being a single issue party, if we did?!
2. Monkeyboy: This policy hasn’t stemmed from any deep-seated Daily Mail-style hatred of the public sector, but as a fairly tentative attempt to reduce inequality in the pay scale. While Greens might like to see a similar 10:1 ratio in all FTSE 100 companies, that’s not within the power of the Mayor of London or the London Assembly, and this is a policy for the 2012 London Assembly elections, not a general election. While there is an element of tokenism about it, it is nevertheless about reducing inequality, saying that those at the top end shouldn't be earning more than ten times those at the lower end of the scale. So by all means pay more for top executives, but not at the expense of those working hard for very little at the bottom of the pay scale.
3. London Living wage (the minimum amount it's calculated people can live on in London, as opposed to the minimum wage) is currently £8.30/hour, which equates to an annual salary of around £15k based on a 35 hour week. Are people seriously suggesting that anyone doing a full time job for the GLA, a local authority in London, or one of their contractors should earn less than £15k? And can we really not attract good managers for £150k or less?
4. The UK is one of the most unequal societies in the industrialised world, in terms of income distribution, and the gap between rich and poor has increased, rather than decreased, in recent years. This gap is more extreme in London, as I’m guessing it would be in other capital cities too, given the concentration of jobs in the financial sector etc. Such vast income inequality doesn’t just have a negative effect on those at the bottom end of the pay scale, but society as a whole. Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s ‘The Spirit Level’ has been widely-acclaimed as an introduction to why equality is important and how inequality damages societies as a whole. The Equality Trust website also has loads of interesting data on the impact of income level equality on a range of social indicators.
5. I suspect that most, if not all readers of this blog would agree that there is a need for us to reduce inequality in this country, and in particular in London. The question is how. If you don’t think this particular policy is right, then what polices would you suggest, that could be implemented by the next Mayor of London (as distinct from the national government)?

Matt said...

To those that say top talent would leave and take jobs with them, I beg to differ. They always say that but do not mean it. Even if some leave, good riddance, as author and journalist Nicholas Shaxson of Treasure Islands regarding tax havens states, it is most likely the most toxic people and institutions anyway. People will still buy goods and services and good projects financed. Look at Scandinavia. Great quality of life and robust economies. We have to start somewhere, and surely good services will come about because very low paid workers can be paid a bit more and feel more valued, thus also relieving any stress on managers. I would sooner be rewarded for doing good and enjoy the process than have to be stressed about doing something morally ambivalent or worse but earning mega bucks.

Would you rather live in a world with money but no food, or food but no money? There is a middle ground but if you had to choose...

Brockley Nick said...

@matt - I don't think people are talking about "top talent" leaving the country in this instance, they're talking about people with specific skills leaving the public sector to earn more money in the private sector. That's quite a different issue.

Brockley Nick said...


3. I may have missed it, but where has anyone suggested Council workers should earn less than the London Living Wage?

"And can we really not attract good managers for £150k or less?"

In some cases, yes, that's exactly the problem. Not just "managers", but lawyers, engineers, etc, etc.

The other thing that offends me about it is the arbitrariness of it all. Why 10:1? Why not 12:1 or 9:1?

I think the number has been chosen purely because it's a nice round one that sounds catchy and "about right" to the people who came up with it. Not the basis for good policy. Forgive me if there is more science behind it, but this policy could have profound unforeseen consequences and I'd like to hope that such a big policy would be based on more than magical numerism.

You haven't addressed the point that this would also create artificial incentives for top management to cut jobs or raise taxes to increase pay for the lower paid so that they can increase their own salaries.

The tories want to do the same thing because they want to gut the public sector and outsource more. You're proposing an even more drastic version of the same policy - has it not occurred to you that this is a Tory anti-public sector policy on steroids?

Danja said...

question is how. If you don’t think this particular policy is right, then what polices would you suggest, that could be implemented by the next Mayor of London (as distinct from the national government)?

It is beyond his payscale.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 07:30

I think you have totally misunderstood the point of my post if you think I was actively seeking dictatorship of sorts. What that post did was take you through the process of the _mentality_ - I was actually saying that, for the sake of being 'left', some ideologies go too far. 'Small change is better, not Green facism', were my words.


Ditto the above. I'm sure people below £100K would argue that their time was worth more than street sweeping too.

Besides this is DO think that there is more value to _labour_ than what people are prepared to pay. Agreed that there is no objective standard of worth, but why heavens it isn't enough to choose a profession or job that encourages self-satisfaction rather than material gain? Morality and ethics come into everything at varying degrees and in different ways depending on the individual and the society.

@ Sue

It doesn't bode well to tell an individual off regards insults and then cite a 'deep-seated Daily Mail-style hatred'. Further to that, I do agree with Brockley Nick - the Greens, like them as I do, have not cited any sound argument for the 10:1 policy and not any other amount. What I want to see is hard fact and accurate projections because without these, the Green _are_ close to being a one-topic party.

@ Matt

Really, I only wish you were right but - as I've said - the economic indications _would_ be horrendous and I can think of no back-up system that would propose an acceptable switch in the interim.

max said...

MB, I agree, it's populist, doesn't make it undesireble.

Really, after all that can leave for those highly paid public sector jobs there would still be a perfectly suitable second line of people that would want those jobs and have all the credentials to do them very well.

And Nick, yes, 10:1 is arbitrary, so are the wages of top managers and I think that the public starts to feel uneasy when their wages rise roughly above this 10:1 ratio.

max said...

I wouldn't agree on that for all public the sector though (heart surgery is worth 10 times more than sweeping, even in the NHS), but for all Town Halls (and primary and secondary schools) yes.

And already all highly paid professions are only hired on contract by Town Halls.
They stopped having architects and Engineers on their payroll long time ago, and even out of the hard hats professions they contract out all difficult jobs, when they have to draft a complex contract they hire a legal studio anyway.
Really, what job is there worth so much?
I'd agree on bonuses though, but for outstanding performance only, not for achieving average results. That would be an incentive to perform.

mb said...

We employ plenty of senior signalling staff on £90k plus through 'consultancy' and other non permananet routes. The permanent pay grades can't accomodate them even though I'm sure many would be happy with a permanent job, perhaps on less given the pension and travel benfits. The fact is that LU already have lost people to the private sector but still use them. Ironically they can command that much because they learnt their trade through LU and British Rail.

mb said...

@max, in which case introduce a compulsory pay policy for the private sector. That's the only way of making it work. People choose jobs for a varieity of reasons,pay, pensions, holidays, working, hours, private heatlh cover, 'fun'. Putting a compulsory limit on one of those aspects makes no sense, especially when you are looking for a scarce resource. Money isn't everything but it's the means by which we procure goods and services so it's the single biggest factor for most people, isn't it?

NAT said...

@J.B. Shakerley, sorry, I'm still not clear. Are high net worth individuals to sweep the streets under your proposals or is it just for the rest?

max said...

There you go, as you say there are qualified people on £90k plus that are so content with those money that they would give some back in exchange for the security and benefits of a public job.
How does this justify the over £100k jobs at town halls?

mb said...

@max, without knowing the facts about what the £100k jobs are I couldn't possibly comment. The "town hall workers on £100k shocker" is a tabloid slogan designed to appeal to the hard of thinking.

How many private companies administering £100m plus budgets and conflicting needs coupled with oversight and accountability that far exceeds many private organisations have a CEO on £100k?

Getting paid £100k doesn't make you as greedy crook.

mb said...

...and yes. LU can't offer them even a lower paid job so they work in the private sector. They don't earn a bit more, they earn a LOT more.

max said...

MB, you were faster at posting tham me at replying, anyway, I honestly don't know enough about fixed wages vs. freedom to set higher wages to know if it's a good idea or not, but the ratio to both contein runaway wages and raise the bottom end seems very appropiate for many organizations that don't do rocket science, brain surgery and alike.

And am I wrong or there is a general malpractice where people on those very generous wages in the public sector sit on the remueration panel of their peers and so on and so forth in a national I scratch your back you scratch mine game?

max said...

MB, I'm not saying £100k town hall shocker, I'd pay them very well if they perform, but things are not right, too many people in Town Halls receive fab wages for average jobs.

And the size of the budgets is not everything. Private companies don't just administer budgets, before they can do that they operate on the market to earn the budget, they don't just receive a a share of taxes. A rather crucial difference.

Lou Baker said...


The problem with the Greens is that your policies are simply not credible. Not even your 'green' policies. You exist in a sort of fantasy world in which your policy aims don't seem to be based on reality.

The whole Green agenda is based on the premise that success is bad, that private industry is evil, that public sector is always good, that all bankers are bad (even the ones in branches who are no more responsible for the credit crunch than you), that government should take charge and that individuals should not be responsible for their own lives. Embarrassing stuff.

Even when it comes to 'green' policies you're wrong. Take airport expansion. The green argument is that it simply shoudn't happen. No new runways. The problem here is that people will still continue to fly. And so by restricting capacity your policy is to make flying - which is not very green - even less green than it could be. A new modern airport - in the Thames Estuary for example - would have decent capacity which would mean planes wouldn't have to circle for hours on end, wouldn't spend ages on taxi ways and would - ultimately - use less fuel and create lower emissions. Such an airport could be powered largely by renewables further mitigating its impact. And as technology improves aircraft will become greener too. Of course you have to think more deeply than the crass headlines the Greens deal with to realise this is the greenest solution to a problem we have.

As is building more roads. Shock horror - yes, building roads is green! There is a bonkers green argument that says if you build wider roads more vehicles will come. That may be true but it neglects the second part of reality and that's that there are a finite number of vehicles that can possibly use the roads. Cars do not drive themselves, at least not yet. Building roads that can cope with this maximum traffic level is a green solution because it eliminates traffic jams. You will never eliminate traffic. So the aim must be to make traffic as green as it can be. That must mean that it is possible to complete a 30 minute journey in 30 minutes. If it takes you an hour and a half - as it often does now - you are contributing far more to climate change than you will be by adding a couple of extra metres of tarmac to congested roads.

GM food is another example. This could solve the world's food crisis. And yet Green policy - according to your website - is to ban it. Still Dr Lucas doesn't care if a few African kids die. Eh? What is she a doctor of anyway?

My point is that to be really radical on the environment you have to think differently. What may seem a very ungreen solution to a problem is often potentially the greenest way forward.

But you're too busy trying to mess around with people's lives - trying to change behaviours - rather than trying to confront realities. It's all a bit sad.

max said...

Lou, on airports, isn't it the case that if a very popular route needs a slot they will find it because eventually they'll be prepared to pay more than the marginally profitable ones. A market solution to the allegedlly impossible to solve problem of the shortage of space at our airports.
I thought you liked market solution.

Mb said...

@max, yes. My argument is with an arbitary 10:1 or 20:1 limit on upper salarys. At best a gimmick, at worse its a way of making the public sector a less attractive place to work.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know more about this Rodger Sedgley.

Anonymous said...

Can we have a short Biog of him please.

Anonymous said...

@ Lou

When you say 'The whole Green agenda is [...] that government should take charge and that individuals should not be responsible for their own lives', can you indicate precisely what you mean? As your statement stands, I am flummoxed - Green agenda is surely to move away from government centrality and promote individual responsibility. Albeit they tend to focus on environmental and social responsibilities and are not quite as good as indicating the economic ones (hence this long discussion).

On transport: Ideally lines like Eurostar and ferries would have greater investment to promote better efficiency and therefore attract more passengers - this would ease the airports (only for a time, and only easing continental flights at present, but long enough to help emissions a little). Understandably, however, this is _not_ the case - ferry systems are further restricted year upon year and lines like Eurostar are limited. Yes, it would be wise for the Greens to take a bigger picture and accept that the likes of more airport terminals are necessary - for the current modes of transaction (whether personal or business oriented) to continue.

Regards the roads, what I cannot understand is the backward approach London has taken towards being more 'green' - reducing the congestion charge zone, for example. I think tolling roads is a good idea (I appreciate that this is not a popular opinion to hold - the expense should be limited), and of course public transport and Boris bikes have helped (NYC copying with the 'Mike bike' due the success over here). Its true that traffic jams cause huge problems for carbon emissions - car manufacturers, thankfully, are beginning to address this (Audi is doing particularly well) and they should be encouraged to continue to do so. As yet there is no green alternative to tarmac that is economically viable, so I suppose we must continue to make do with it.

GM food, however, is a good idea in principle but - I hazard to suggest - not a good reality at present. Do you know what the food is tampered with to make it 'GM'? Corn, mostly (sometimes soy bean). Corn is a totally monopolised industry - the problem is epidemic in the States. If you have the time, even though you might not agree fully with the intimations it makes, watch 'Food Inc.' (2008).
If there was a means to modify food that didn't prop-up Monsano any further I would advocate it without hesitation, certainly. But I don't want to waste too much timing holding out for another Alexander Fleming to investigate, and make the rights public. Moreover the industry behind corn and soy already jeopardises _many_ lives. To go with that idea would be to promote a 'for the greater good' mentality, I believe. The more immediate alternative is for those privileged to have great access to food, could - if they are partial to the idea - eat a little less.

A by-the-by: Lucas obtained her PhD from the University of Exeter. Her thesis was titled 'Writing for Women: a study of woman as reader in Elizabethan romance'. Suffice to say, it is clearly not her doctorate than justifies many of her political stances.

But why is a desire 'to change human behaviour' instantly 'sad'? You mean _certain_ human behaviour, surely. The Greens do not want to change human behaviour any more than any other political party - each has their own agenda.

I'm afraid I don't know much about Roger Sedgley, but clearly he isn't totally new:

Anonymous said...

what does MR Sedgley propose for Lewisham/Greenwich?

What future would he like to see for this part of SE London?

Vesta Curry said...

To quote Nick: "@Vesta - I think the sooner we recognise that there is no intrinsic value to labour other than what someone else is prepared to pay you for it, the better. Salaries aren't based on your worth to society, because there is no objective standard for worth. Salaries are based on supply and demand. "
"That's a pretty pure market. Morality doesn't come in to it."

This would just be sad bullshit (why not seek to establish the true worth of labour ... if not we're all fucked) ... if it also wasn't so wrongheaded.

What all free-labour-marketeers frantically attempt to avoid is the truth that the (ehem) level, free-flowing landscape they describe is actually riven with clubs and cartels that "fix" rates, fees and (laughs manically) "added value" according to their relative power.

Beyond a certain level in most industries (and at an entry level in some) morality and community are left behind and individuals received within the "circle" seem to lose all moral compass - they just start counting their money and self-rating their "worth" (too many personal SWOT analyses?) - end up back in the same place: over remunerated with an inflated sense of self-worth.

Mb said...

Vesta, if there is an intrinsic worth for each and every job then please give a precise figure for:


Intensive care nurse

NHS accountant


Corner shop owner

Corner shop manager

Corner shop assistant


Song writer

Road sweeper

Head of street cleaning

Train driver (in 2011, when they essentially open the doors and are there for emergencies)

Train driver (100years ago, when they actually drove trains)

At best you'll be able to rank the, according to some idea of the usefulness to you or guess at how useful they are to the wider community. A blacksmith is hardly essential, 200 years ago he would have been. I don't listen to much music, other people listen to a lot.

What about a member of a proffesional sports team. If say, they attract 500 people to a game one week and say 50000 ten years later, do you think there pay should have some linkage to the number of fans and therefore the gate receipts?

Stomping your feet and screaming "IT'S NOT FARE" is perhaps understandable but we're all paid what we're able to to ask for and what the payer is prepared to pay. Bob Crow is a master of that negotiation. Unless your going to infringe on someone's right to move jobs and stop companies recruiting who they want, I don't know how you're going to stop pay inequality.

Brockley Nick said...


"What all free-labour-marketeers frantically attempt to avoid is the truth that the (ehem) level, free-flowing landscape they describe is actually riven with clubs and cartels that "fix" rates, fees and (laughs manically) "added value" according to their relative power."

I don't deny that in the slightest - of course such distortions exist. From Unions, to artificial barriers to entry ('the knowledge' in the age of sat nav') to board level pay having a lack of independent scrutiny, there are lots of ways of fixing supply and demand in your favour. Nothing I said contradicts that or endorses the situation. In some cases, we might think those distortions are "good" - for example, I think the minimum wage was one of the best policies ever introduced. In some cases, we may think those distortions have a bad effect. We judge each of those things on its merits and devise a plan to do something about it - new regulations, diluting union power, etc, etc. 10:1 is a blunt instrument.

"Beyond a certain level in most industries (and at an entry level in some) morality and community are left behind and individuals received within the "circle" seem to lose all moral compass - they just start counting their money and self-rating their "worth" (too many personal SWOT analyses?)"

Yes, I get it. The quiet dignity of the moral low paid, versus the venality of everyone else. I'm the one who says we shouldn't kid ourselves that "worth" is a useful concept, you're the one who got outraged at the suggestion. Now you're getting angry with people for talking about their own worth.

And I look forward to you completing Monkeyboy's exercise. How much is a song worth? How much should the writer of Bohemian Rhapsody be paid compared with the writer of Agadoo? And how many health and safety inspectors is that worth?

Danja said...

How much should the writer of Bohemian Rhapsody be paid compared with the writer of Agadoo? And how many health and safety inspectors is that worth?

Oooh I can do those.

The same. And minus a very large number.

max said...

I found this very interesting take on the subject of higher wages.

NAT said...

That is fascinating, Max. Though I'm not sure that the second bit nessecarily follows from the first.

Matt said...

@Brockley Nick yes you are right re leaving the country vs leaving the company/organisation. However I believe another commenter suggested that other talented, non-greedy people from lower in the organisation would happily fill the gap. The way I see it, I do not believe it fair to make hard workers suffer a bad quality of life while others are amazingly remunerated despite not working much harder. Whether mandatory limits are a good idea, I have yet to decide either way.

@Lou Baker, in what way have the Greens harmed you, or what do you think they would do to harm you? They are not bossy or coercive, their policies are based on nudging through incentives with taxes, subsidies and tradable quotas. They simply believe in treating others as you wish to be treated, as do I. People should be rewarded for doing good and penalised for doing bad

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