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Monday, 7 October 2013

Making Plans for Nigel?

While the accuracy of electoral polls remains an inexact science, the recent results point to three rises and a fall. In the aftermath of the Conference season, only the Liberals have seen a backward step in their popularity. I use the term popularity loosely because the latest poll puts Nick Clegg's party at about 8% of the vote - not exactly a good basis for power. While Cameron and Milliband have both made slight improvements in terms of their popularity and the extent to which not like, it is the UKIP leader Nigel Farage who has made the most headway. In his latest diatribe, Farage has told Nick Clegg that a man's salary is a matter for himself and not his wife. This is a real can of worms. There remain few subjects which can generate the the jealousies and avarice of knowing that a colleague is earning more than you are. I saw it a lot in the Private Sector. That is because the progressive Private Sector has a tendency to reward performance rather than turning up on time and speaking when you're spoken to and not daring to upset the comfort of the status quo. Farage is right in one sense though. It is nobody else's business what you are earning and yet some people are obsessed with knowing everybody else's business for fear that they may somehow be missing out. In the Public Sector, they have pre-ordained scales within salary ranges so it isn't too difficult to work out what your colleagues are earning. There are exceptions of course although its true to say these become more apparent the further up the food chain you go. The little man is kept firmly in his place while the diners at the top table gorge themselves on the rich pickings which must not be shared. In the Private Sector, the little man has a decent chance of making a contribution which will be recognised and rewarded accordingly. In the Public Sector, he has no chance. The latter though has the security of a Final Salary Pension Scheme which will take the guess work out of his retirement income. It is thus all the more surprising to see that millions of NHS staff are up in arms about the refusal of a proposed 1% pay rise. If instead they were afforded such a pay rise at the expense of their precious pension scheme, would their ire be even greater? I think it would but that is down to human nature. Everybody seeks the best deal for themselves - not the next guy. It seems as though Farage could end up being the next kingmaker come 2015. That is an enticing prospect. Imagine Milliband heading a coalition supported by Farage? Imagine Cameron heading up a coalition being supported by Farage - that would be dynamite! A Conservative government of all persuasions; right, middle and left. For one thing, Farage woulk make an EU referendum his bare minimum criterion for agreeing to such a deal. But not in 2017 as Cameron toys with - Farage would want that referendum now. The stakes are getting higher by the day and very soon, all the Party leaders will have to start the uncomfortable task of making plans for Nigel..