Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist who advised the previous Tory led coalition, recommended allowing employers to sack workers on a "no fault" basis. Beecroft said this approach would
“produce an instant improvement in performance in a significant part of the national workforce”.
In plain English, he reckoned "a significant part of the national workforce" is slacking and could do with a bit more fear.
The Welfare State is perceived by too many to be the powerful helping the weak. It is not. Welfare provides health, education, security etc not just for the weak but for everyone. Even for those who can afford privately purchased services, but rely on the state to educate and keep healthy their staff. In reality the Welfare State is how the many can choose, by the democratic process, whether to be as powerful as the powerful few. Or whether to depend on their benevolence and charity.
|Gross Wage Inequality in the EU|
Wage Income inequality is a clear measure of the power of the few. In Britain wage income inequality is about the highest in the EU.
|Disposable Income Inequality in the EU|
Some may defend this greater wage inequality in the UK, asserting that the brightest are brighter than the dopiest in the UK to a greater degree than in the rest of Europe. Could it be true?
To test this, consider wage inequality between two groups within the UK who we know (by experience, common sense, as well as by law) to be equal. Let's consider the wages paid to men and women.
EU data shows the average wage of women in the UK is 25% lower than that of men. [The EU data uses Full Time Equivalent wages that make allowance for part time workers]. This places the UK at the second highest gender pay inequality of the 24 EU countries for which data is available (Estonia is worse). The graph below shows these gender wage ratios for the larger EU nations.
Office for National Statistics data in the two graphs below show women doing far more low paid jobs in the private sector. This is in contrast to the public sector where the women's pay distribution is much more closely aligned with men. The graphs show women tend to be paid less but not why.
1) Private Sector Pay Distribution, Male & Female
2) Public Sector Pay Distribution, Male & Female
Perhaps women are taking more of the low-powered and thus low paid work? Is that because they are more low-powered? Or because women are paid less for doing the same-powered jobs? Or because opportunities in higher-powered jobs are harder for women to get?
A report done for the Department for Education suggests the female of the species is academically more successful than the male:
a) At GCSE level the girls have been beating the boys for decades:
b) At A-Level a higher proportion of girls get A-C grade than do the boys:
[An article in the Guardian newspaper provides more detailed data for 2014 A-Level results, including gender breakdown by subject, should you want to take a look.]
And a report done for Parliament shows since the 1990s significantly more women are taking degrees:
With women performing academically better than men for more than two decades, they are already overtaking men as the more qualified gender in the workforce.
So once they are in their professions, do their rewards reflect their qualifications? A report by the University of Warwick on graduates transitioning into employment shows regardless of the profession on average women are paid less than men:
Income in the UK is distributed grossly unfairly. When doling out the cash, the one holding the ladle first serves himself (the ladler tends to be male) and then those like him. More so in the UK than in the rest of the European Union.
People who are doing well like to think they deserve what they have. They like to think inexplicable but ominscient forces fill the rich with good things, and send the hungry away empty. Monarchs get their position by the grace of god. FTSE100 CEOs and their bankers get their copious remuneration because of Market Forces. Prime Ministers get their power by the will of the people.
Top executives and their remuneration committees say it is wrong to measure their worth to justify their pay, because their pay measures their worth. If you want to know how much I am worth, they would say, just look at how much I am paid!
It is the Welfare State that provides some redress for the power of the few over the many, using taxes as a means of redistribution. If the Labour Party hopes to regain the support of the electorate they need to make this clear. They need to show they fight not only for those down on their luck and for the "workers", but for everyone.
The Welfare State is not only for the needy, it is for everybody.