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BBC Salaries And The Normalisation Of Greed In Our Time

20/07/2017 08:48 BST | Updated 20/07/2017 08:48 BST
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Greed is killing us. It has poisoned our culture from top to bottom, attacking and corroding the bonds of human solidarity that are the non-negotiable glue of social cohesion without which we are condemned to exist as a disconnected mass of human dust.

The publication of the top salaries paid courtesy of the taxpayer to BBC presenters such as Gary Lineker, Chris Evans, Graham Norton and Andrew Marr comes as further evidence of the pressing need to focus our attention on the introduction of a maximum wage in order to be able to fund a just minimum wage. The alternative is that we continue to allow unalloyed human greed to corrupt us all, wherein we are conditioned to not only accept such obsencnly gargantuan salaries at the top end of the pay scale but to believe they are consonant with human worth and achievement.

They are not.

What they are is consonant with the normalisation of injustice, a symptom of the model of unfettered and deregulated capitalism that sits as a tyrant over the lives of the majority and a servant of a very small and privileged minority in 2017.

Gary Lineker cannot conceivably defend being paid close to £2 million a year to read an autocue. Judging by his presence on social media - the views that he has expressed on issues such as Brexit, immigration, and refugees - he is a moral person. As such, surely he must reflect on the public salary he enjoys at a time when nurses are forced to rely on food banks, poverty is endemic, and the NHS is going through a funding crisis.

And the issue is not the 'market rate', as self-important idiots such as Alan Sugar are arguing on this question, the issue is class. How can it be anything else when police officers, firemen, nurses, and other public sector workers have been forced to endure a pay cap in service to austerity for the past ten years?

As an employee of the BBC, does Andrew Marr not work in the public sector? And if so why has he not been subjected to the same decade-long pay cap as other public sector workers? If he is not -- i.e. if he is employed as a contractor -- then how can the BBC still be considered a public service broadcaster? On the contrary it increasingly resembles a brand that operates according to market norms while enjoying a guaranteed income by dint of what is essentially a poll tax.

The entire thing constitutes an unalloyed disgrace, a scandal which speaks to the domination of the aforementioned free market values to the derivation of society as a whole.

There are other questions that need to be asked concerning the BBC. How many of its employees are from working class backgrounds? What is the proportion of employees from the nation's various minority communities? And how many of its key employees are products of private education and Oxbridge? All of these questions are relevant and the answers should be made public.

On the issue of the gender pay gap that has also arisen from the publication of the top salaries paid by the BBC, here, surely, the metric being adhered to is absurd. The idea we should be exercised over whether a female news presenter or DJ is paid two hundred thousand pounds rather than the three hundred thousands pounds her male counterpart receives is profoundly grotesque. The only gap that matters is the one that exists between the rich and ordinary working people, both men and women, due to the simple fact that obscene wealth and ostentation has its roots in poverty. It is an issue, once again, of class.

It is beyond clear by now that the BBC, to coin an overused phrase, is no longer fit for purpose. It is no longer a public broadcaster whose content is representative of society, but instead a repository of the very elitism, greed, and inequality that is suffocating us all.