The minimum of minimum

I remember when the minimum wage was £3.20. It was bad enough then.

15 years on the wage is still not enough to cover the basics, especially not for a family – this story is interesting:

Crackdown highlights enforcement challenge

In light of the “naming and shaming” this week of 115 companies that failed to pay workers the minimum wage, the FT considers how the government plans to enforce George Osborne’s ‘national living wage’, which starts next year. So far, the government has relied on HMRC to enforce the minimum wage, but the national living wage could prove more of a challenge. The number of people paid the minimum wage is set to surge by 65% in April to more than 2.5m, when the new legal rate of £7.20 an hour kicks in. In light of this, the government is to create a director of labour market enforcement to co-ordinate the various agencies (including HMRC) that deal with non-compliance. Financial Times
How do people survive on less than £7? It’s shocking.

And as for tax credits….

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Reading into readership

I was told that the average reader of The Telegraph has approximately 100,000 pounds in their savings accounts therefore, from a marketeers point of view, they are a fairly wealthy readership to target. 

It is often the case that the people with money are tight and don’t like to spend it. So in this case are the marketeers assuming that the  readership have so much money that they can afford to stockpile 100,000 pounds in a savings account? How many rainy days would that amount cover? It could be read that these are the people you want to avoid, from a marketing point of view, as they clearly don’t like to spend their money.

In an earlier post, I mentioned a colleague of mine joking that a person living in the local council estate is not going to be the average reader of the Financial Times. I pointed out that my uncle lives in said council estate and is an avid reader of the FT (He isn’t but I just wanted to watch my colleague squirm for his bad taste comment).

I have just read the latest edition of Tatler as I happened upon the title by default. In other words I didn’t pay 4 pounds 20 for it. I have concluded that If I had spent that money, it would have been far better for my health if I had purchased a few books for my Kindle. Or even, taking up smoking again and bought the vilest packet of 20s out there. If you are a member of the cast of that documentary soap about posh Londoners (the posh version of TOWIE…I forget its name) you are highly likely to delve into Tatler. It consists of adverts and not much substance (the editorial doesn’t start until page 20). It seems to be a bible for anyone who is either an ‘it’ girl in the aristocracy or a wannabe ‘it’ girl.

A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of looking after the child of a Tatler reader. While little Johnny was in hand-me-down clothes, Mum was dressed up to the nines in the latest Jimmy Choos and whatever designer was flavour of the season at the races. She used to insist that I fed her baby the bottle on the most bizarre arrangement of pillows (so that baby was as far away from me as possible – not just because it was me either, she fed him the same way herself). As soon as her manicured feet clad in peeptoe shoes stepped out for yet another day at the races in a ostrich feathered hat, I cuddled the baby in my arms and fed him the normal way, without pillow scaffolding. Her mother-in-law, who also stayed at home with me at the day, nodded in approval. The lady had no common sense, had to do everything according to the night nanny’s ‘routine’ and was about as maternal as a great white shark. But that’s beside the point in her world, because what mattered in her social circle was to look good, send Johnny to the right schools and care about little else in the world than numero uno plus possessions. 

I think Tatler and other publications of a similar ilk (Daily Mail) should come with a health warning – for the health of the nation and humanity – because, quite frankly, they appeal to a person whose outlook is at odds with the evolution of society. Anyone who pays 15,000 pounds for a handbag advertised in Tatler clearly makes the purchase with complete disregard for how that money could be better spent. Yet they expect to be respected because of their posh accent, education and social standing. I can feel a Plan B song coming on……

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. If you spend lots of money on handbags then please spare a pound or two for this campaign. If you use carrier bags instead, no doubt you will donate even more.

Thanks for reading. 

Putting right some prejudices

I seem to be coming up against a few recently from across the social scale. One minute my neighbour makes an incredibly racist statement against black people (she is in her thirties so should know better), the next my boss makes a very derogatory comment about where my family grew up and still reside.

It was at our team meeting today. To be honest he has mentioned it a few times in the past and I have bit my tongue and let him off. But this was one remark too many. We were talking about how targeted (or not) newspaper advertising is and he was arguing that people from a certain council estate in our area wold not be reading the Financial Times (i.e. people that would not be considered our target market). “OK I will tell my Uncle then who lives in that area to stop reading it as he is not the right demographic”. My boss looked very po faced but was still very joking about it as was I. However, on reflection, making sweeping statements about a group of people in society based upon purely where they live is no better than making a statement about a person just because of their ethnicity.

Why is it that in Britain it is OK to be derogatory about someone’s class, background or upbringing and to base assumptions purely on their social ‘breeding’. Quite rightly there would be public outrage and uproar if comments were linked to skin colour or race (like the case of the young woman who was suspended for racial tweets she sent in her teens that were still on the internet). But apparently to call someone a CHAV or to discredit them on no other basis than the area where they live is acceptable and even funny.

The situation seems to be getting worse rather than better and class rifts seem to be deepening. Those in the ‘working class’ category are getting even bigger chips on their shoulders and those in the ‘upper middle’ are becoming more and more ignorant. Youth doesn’t seem to make a difference either. I have come across teens with so many plums in their mouth I need subtitles to understand them and I have come across my contemporaries who have requested a level of social cleansing at their child’s pre-school insisting teachers refrain their children from playing with ‘those from the estate’ . The have’s only talk to other have’s and the have-nots cluster in defiance with other have-nots and n’er the two shall meet. It seems I am a rare breed of person who doesn’t fall in either camp  and loves the stigma attached to local authority housing because you can pick up a good well-built house relatively cheap.

It is a social tension that seems to be building not lessening and might go some way into explaining the uprising 2 years ago in London. The anger that comes through the lyrics of Plan B has a root and that will only grow as the class divide intensifies.

OFSTED’s new head, Michael Wilshaw, quite rightly believes that private schools should play more of a role in the support of the state system. If he can make this happen this would be a step in the right direction as I strongly believe these prejudices start and develop at school and the private/ state system we have in this country is the UK equivalent to the Berlin Wall.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef – please donate to the campaign here.

When I am not blogging I am dreaming of racing a motorbike, check out Chris Walker the Stalker’s race school if you share this dream….

Thanks for reading.