When I was growing up, the majority of the population wanted to bring back the death penalty and my Guardian-reading teachers would explain why this was a great example of why we needed elected representatives to moderate the unhealthy views of the dirty plebs. Or, as you and I might see it, to block the democratic will of the people because the liberal intelligentsia always knows best. In 2016, the people were allowed their say on Brexit and, bloody hell, the dirty peasants went and did the wrong thing just showing that decision making should be left in the hands of a small elite.
I raise this not as a supporter of Brexit or an opponent of the death penalty, for exactly the same reason I oppose abortion. But just to note how so many of those who railed against the 17.4 million dim-witted bigots in 2016 are now demanding that nurses and other NHS staff get a bumper pay rise because all the polls suggest that the country wants that to happen. The clear double standard appears lost on the liberal elites.
The argument that NHS workers deserve a bumper pay rise is two-fold: one that they are underpaid and secondly that they performed heroics fighting covid.
Because so many health service workers in the layers and layers of its management and among the doctors earn really quite excellent salaries, campaigners focus on nurses who we all believe to be underpaid. In fact, whereas the average pay for an Army recruit in training is £15,985, the basic pay for a nurse the day she starts work after her degree is £24,907. An army corporal is on £31,0869 but a nurse who moves from grade 5 (post-degree) to grade 6, something which takes on average 18 months, is on £33,00 – 35,000 depending on the skills he or she has picked up.
That means the nurse, just 18 months out of university, is already earning well over the average wage of all British workers of all ages of £31,461 and with a generous pension plan and longer holidays than most folk in the private sector, no one can really say that a nurse is badly off. Yet that is the myth.
As for Covid, what actually happened was that we – as a nation – were asked to “protect the NHS” when in fact the NHS is there to protect us. Hundreds of thousands of folks falling ill with non-Covid ailments have received utterly inadequate treatment and many have died. There are countless folks now dying of cancer because of those policies implemented “to protect the NHS”. And the economic cost of policies to “protect the NHS” has been industrial-scale job losses, bankruptcies and ruin. Health service staff have been far less likely to die of Covid than, say, security guards and far better protected than, say, supermarket workers. Many NHS staff, those working in non-covid wards or in closed down GP surgeries, have had the easiest year of their life.
Against this backdrop, should NHS workers really be singled out for special treatment when – as a result of the idiotic lockdown – Government finances are creaking as never before? No other public sector worker is getting a pay hike. Many of the 85% of the workforce in the private sector have either lost their job, will lose their job, or face a pay cut. Pay rises? In our dreams. We have suffered real economic pain Q” to protect the NHS.”
But the public thinks nurses are underpaid and heroes and so will support demands for a massive 15% pay hike. You can do the maths on how much that would increase the already large gap between nurses and the average wage. But discussing facts and hard economic realities seems impossible in the current climate when emotion and virtue signalling are the order of the day.
This article first appeared in my free weekly Tomograph newsletter which you can get sent straight to your in-box by clicking HERE