28 January 2012 : the Banker (again), the Hypocrites & the Choir
A postscript to yesterday’s post
Yesterday I suggested any claim that Stephen Hester should be paid a £1m bonus partly to ensure the retention of his services is nonsensical and that there are hundreds of people who have the ability to do his job at least as well as him and for significantly less money. Remember this bonus is on top of his salary of £1.2m.
In today’s Guardian the salaries of five of the top executives at the Bank of England are listed: Sir Mervyn King (Governor) £305k; Paul Tucker and Charlie Bean (deputies) £259k each; Paul Fisher (money market operations) and Andrew Haldane (financial stability) £188k each. Add all these salaries together and, guess what, it comes to a fraction under £1.2m. Five top executive salaries at the Bank of England for the price of one at the RBS. I rest my case.
They make me see red
This week Manchester United and Liverpool football clubs have been at pains to urge their respective supporters to remain calm and be well-behaved ahead of the FA Cup 4th round tie between the two clubs this afternoon. Their managers in particular have been leading the way with these public proclamations. When United fans received their tickets the envelope also contained a letter from Sir Red Face himself encouraging jovial and noisy support but to avoid any untoward behaviour lest there be dire consequences. What a load of hypocritical old guff! It’s not the supporters who need to be warned as to their behaviour, it’s the managers and their players. Let’s remember where all this rekindled hatred stems from. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing United’s Patrice Evra and banned for eight matches as a result.
This is the same player banned for a one-fingered gesture made at Fulham supporters in December; the same player that Dalglish has refused to criticise; rather, he though it was a good idea to parade his team in pro-Suarez tee shirts prior to a premier league match. We, the football fans, have had to listen to the rubbish put forward in mitigation by Suarez at the FA hearing. Rubbish that received the backing of Dalglish. The conceit and arrogance of this man is beyond belief. Ferguson, as we all know, has decades of history of treating fellow professionals, referees and FA officials with contempt. The only surprise is how he has got away with it for so long. How dare these people tell honest, decent football fans, who earn a fraction of their salaries, and those of their players, to behave themselves because of potential trouble that has all been caused by them and their players in the first place?!
The other high-profile player soon to face a court of law charged with racial abuse, John Terry, today played against the player he is accused of abusing, Anton Ferdinand. The pre-match discussions were totally focussed on whether the two players would shake hands prior to the game. Terry has been the subject of similar speculation before, when he faced Manchester City and his England colleague and erstwhile best mate, Wayne Bridge. The reason then was because Terry had been shaking more than Bridge’s girlfriend’s hand. That whole situation was private and should have remained so. This, rightly, should be in the public eye; it is in the public interest (as opposed to the public being interested in it, as was the case with the Terry/Bridge Vanessagate issue). As it turned out Terry and Ferdinand didn’t shake hands today. Nobody did. So, the entire pre-match team handshake was cancelled. It might be only symbolic, this handshake, but it’s important. It’s a significant gesture, made before the assembled, that people enter the contest with mutual respect. Sadly, on this occasion, apparently not.
Of course, if football clubs acted like most other employers these situations wouldn’t arise. There should be no question as to whether Terry and Ferdinand shake hands because Terry shouldn’t be allowed on the park. In most walks of life and occupations, someone facing a court case such as Terry would be suspended on full pay pending the outcome. It just underlines the double standards. Suarez was found guilty of racial abuse and suspended for eight games. If any fan at Anfield today had been found guilty of racial abuse, whether to a player or another supporter, he or she would be banned from all football grounds for life. Why doesn’t the same happen to Suarez?
Choir of the Year
Tomorrow my attention will turn from football and bankers’ bonuses to choral singing. The UCLan Chamber Choir travel to Buxton to take part in the first stage of the 2012 BBC Choir of the Year. We go into this competition (held every other year) as the reigning 2010 Adult Choir of the Year. Two years ago, as we travelled to Edinburgh to take part for the first time, I really did not know what to expect and held no particular hopes other than to enjoy singing with other choirs at an international concert venue. We ended up going through to the category finals at Birmingham Symphony Hall where we won the Adult Choir category. As category winners we went through to the Grand Final to compete for the title of Choir of the Year. We did not succeed in gaining the title. However everything about that experience was a success for these students. Incidentally the winners were a choir called the Wellensian Consort, a choir we had beaten in Birmingham and who went through as one of the two best runners-up. All of which goes to prove that judging these things is very subjective. The following day I emailed the director of the Wellensian Consort to congratulate him on their success. I am still awaiting a reply. As for this year, again I hold no particular hopes other than seeing the students have the opportunity to sing great music beautifully. If we go any further that will be a bonus, though one of an entirely different type to Stephen Hester’s Some things are more important than money. Talking of which I have to complete my tax return and therefore need to stop writing.
Word of the Day
Things relating to the dance are known as terpsichorean, named after the Greek muse Terspichore, ruler of dance and the dramatic chorus. This word was first introduced to me when watching a Monty Python sketch many years ago.