Dr Alf is right to be concerned about the rise of right wing populism in America and elsewhere but its emergence was and is entirely predictable and has been caused by the untrammelled greed of plutocrats and an emerging class of multimillionaires who pay no taxes at all whilst everyone else earning under £250,000 GBP a year is not represented by Governments but have to pick up the entire bill. 30 years ago the gap between the CEOs and Chief Executives of major American and British companies and those on average pay was respectively, 100 to 1 and 30 to 1. Now it has grown to something like 450 to 1 and the disparity is growing faster.
The wealth of the top 1/10th of 1% has doubled and the amount hidden offshore has grown to £34 trillion GBP whilst austerity, job cuts and other indignities are inflicted on ordinary people. For example, in three American food processing plants we learn that non unionised workers have in some cases taken to wearing incontinence pads and diapers because they are not allowed to take toilet breaks and will be fired if they do.
Donald Trump has cleverly tapped into this mood of anger, not to get himself elected but to further the election of his friend and wedding guest Mrs Hillary Clinton.
The UK has a similar problem plus a public sector which is unaffordable and not fit for purpose, a boss class that awards itself 11% to 15% pay rises irrespective of performance, the delivery of shareholder value and what others think. It is the “Because we are worth it” philosophy borrowed from the Oil of Olay television commercial.
As a lifelong Conservative, I am no leveller and not an advocate of brutally redistributive tax regimes but when you consider that the top/bottom wage gap in Germany is nearer 25 to 1 then the imbalance we have now in the UK is simply not sustainable as evidenced by the fact that for anyone to be able to buy an average UK house these days they need an income of £64,000 GBP a year plus a significant deposit. 5 million workers are on zero hours contracts offering no job security and 16.7 million people out of the total workforce of 32 million people are unemployed (2 million), economically inactive/economically discouraged (7 million), in training and make-work schemes (1.2 million), sanctioned (0.50 million),NEETS (1 million), in receipt of severance pay (0.50 million), in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and its replacement “Personal Independence Plans”)(2 million), Waiting to hear about benefits, under appeal and subject to “going on holiday” provisions (0.50 million), Registered as a Company Director at Companies House Cardiff but not in receipt of any income because the company has yet to trade(2 million).
UK worker productivity is just 39% on average; there is no Mittelstand and too many lifestyle businesses.
No-one talks about productivity or the lack of investment so it is easy to see how cunning politicians can oversimplify matters to the lumpen would be proletariat.