Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, wrote a blog piece recently about the disturbing practice arising at some book festivals, where authors are not paid for appearing. Her rallying cry was taken up by the Bookseller and the Society of Authors, which recently published guidelines about the level at which authors should peg event fees.
Inequality is growing nationally and globally. It is corroding social cohesion and democracy. It is creating division. It is also holding back economic development and growth. However, too few politicians seem to regard inequality as important. Indeed, some of the Coalition government's policies have directly increased inequality and there is no indication that the Government has any strong desire to reverse this trend.
Whoever takes over from Boris should take heart from de Blasio's victory and be bold. This is not quick-fix politics: it calls for sustained stewardship of our city and its economy. But a brave mayor could lead that conversation, challenge the orthodoxy and change not just London but the national trajectory too.
We live in an era of profound and increasing inequality, at the heart of which is inequality in education. For any nation truly committed to creating a fairer and more equal society, private schools have no place... Private schools are at the very heart of a society divided by inherited wealth and privilege.
Improving quality in Pakistan would also be a huge breakthrough. In rural areas many primary schools lack sufficient classrooms to provide a proper five year cycle: In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for example, more than half of the schools do not contain the requisite 5 classrooms (one per grade). If you were a parent, would you send your children to school, and keep them there, if school conditions meant that your children were unlikely to learn the basics?
A chief executive in one of Britain's biggest businesses takes home more in three days than an average employee can earn in a year. The pay gap between those at the top of the income scale and the rest of the workforce has continued to rise sharply year after year - throughout the recession and recovery.
Bankers get millions in bonuses, footballers earn thousands every week: we all know the clichés. The market says this is what they are worth, but the general public don't really believe that. Do they earn this money, really? Can anyone do a job that genuinely, demonstrably, should produce that kind of reward?