Lesley Riddoch wrote in the Scotsman this morning, on a subject well covered in the weekend press, the tendency of bosses of large organisations to award themselves stonking great pay rises whilst presiding over job cuts, redundancies and reductions in working hours. She contrasts this with the small business world that makes up the vast majority of employers in Scotland and it is a good and worthwhile read.
Especially worthwhile when placed against two other stories, one from the CIPD to the effect that the government's spending cuts and the rise in VAT to 20% in January will result in more than 1.6 million job losses across the public and private sectors by 2016, their research suggests.
The figure from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is far higher than previous estimates, and if true will ensure misery for thousands.
The other story is that Lord Young, a relic of the Thatcher years and linked inextricably in my mind with Tebbit and his pedal pushing job seeking exhortations, has been given not one but two jobs by David Cameron and Gideon (for it is he) Osbourne. One is to advise on sweeping away protection for workers by removing sensible measures to prevent a childs eye being taken out by a conker, or more seriously removing precautions to prevent farmworkers falling into a slurry pit, in his role as the tsar for removal of health and safety legislation. His new job is to advise why more people do not immediately use their redundancy money to enter self employment rather than signing on the dole? (How long before it becomes compulsory rather than voluntary) .
Removing barriers to business by examining the preponderance of red tape must be applauded but better still examine why so many small businesses do not want to grow out of their comfort zones, and why so many small business owners prefer to employ as few people as possible, opting for lifestyle businesses, the odd cash job and a boat or a holiday cottage from their hard won earnings rather than employing disinterested youth and running the risk of days meshed in an employment tribunal when they try to get rid of the unemployable.
The juxtaposition of these three themes will allow for many meanders into the cogitation of business and what its real purpose is. In my experince the directors of many small firms are fortunate if they pay themselves 8 or 10 times more than their average waged employee, let alone the 88 times quoted by Lesley. If one is sitting at the head of a private company today it must be tempting to chuck in the towel, sell up and move to Bermuda.
I suppose it is indelicate to ask how much remuneration Gideon and David have agreed for Lord Young and indeed how much generally is being spent on the Tsars, dreamed up by Labour as one man quangos.
Finally one hopes that Gideon Osbourne has found a way to extract the maximum tax revenues from these overpaid big company bosses, or is he just passing on tax saving tips?
The final piece of news this morning neatly rounds off these stories by pointing out that by virtue of the ECHR, any fat cat serving time for fraud (very few, I know) will still be able to cast their vote for Cameron, as they apparently must have their dignity preserved by extending the right to vote to convicted prisoners.