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Things You Thought You Would Never See

Things you thought you would never see Number One: The managers of a company actually losing money when the business they are running does badly.

This is known as the Banker's Paradox, wherein nothing that the management of a bank do, no matter how cack-handed and idiotic they are, no matter how little they understand of what their bank is doing and how crooked, underhand and devious they may be, has any effect on their remuneration at all, at least in a downward direction. Chief executive officers of major corporations continue to pay themselves as though they had invented money whether the company they are running hits heights never before imagined or sails serenely off a financial cliff to be smashed into little bits.

In normal circumstances, literally no amount of ineffectual cretinism on the part of those running an organisation would result in those individuals actually earning less. Bonuses are not paid for excellence in such positions, they are paid as away to maximise income without it appearing as though they are receiving that much. If, as a shareholder, you are told that the boss earns £200,000 a year, you might think: fair enough. That figure will, however, hide the truth that for simply showing up he will be paid pension top ups and bonuses and share options and so on. This will all be buried in indecipherable small print to make it seem as though management is getting less while ensuring that they get more, no matter how the business does.

It is quite surprising then, to learn of the nice people that run Morrisons supermarket - their slogan: "We're not as evil as Tescos" (I made that up). Their head of remuneration said that it is appropriate, given Morrisons drop in sales and profits that the chief executive should receive less money than last year. You read that right: less money. Not just a little less either. Even if Bozo The Mayor would call it chickenfeed, I am sure that Dalton Philips, Morrisons monger-in-chief would have noticed that his pay was shaved by a percentage amount that I am unable to calculate as I have forgotten the formula. In actual pounds, his salary went from £1.78m to £1.09m. I do know that drop is more than their 7.2% fall in pre-tax profits. Even I can figure that out.

Morrisons remuneration committee has also tightened its pay policy for the year ahead. New targets that are tougher than those set before will concentrate the minds of those at the top as they mean that management pay will be linked inextricably to company performance. How refreshing. It almost makes one want to shop there, if it were not for fear of bumping into professional Northern cheery chaps, those Captain Blandtastics: Ant and Dec.

Things you thought you would never see Number Two: Alex Ferguson in the House of Lords.

The world of football is stunned at the news that a man in his 90's (must check that) has decided that a life of screaming at referees and swearing at linesmen is no longer for him. Who could have seen that coming? It is literally shocking to learn that a manager puce of face and fiery of temperament should throw in the towel while still this side of a heart attack. Officials of the game will just have to get by without his furious purple ranting at decisions that didn't go his way and the piece of grass in front of his dug out will now flourish afresh, being less burdened with discarded mounds of frantically chewed gum.

In the rush to pour praise on him, there has been suggestions that "Sralex" be elevated to the House of Lords. What nonsense. There's no one in there that is remotely like him. There is no precedent of someone such as Ferguson to be installed in that place. There is no Lord of his ilk for him to sit alongside. Can you think of another shouty, rich, working class, finger jabbing, self made, crimson faced, charm vacuum with a chip on his shoulder the size of the QE2, who is famous for his temper, appears not to be a very nice person and is on telly a lot. Nope, me neither.

Things you thought you would never see Number Three: An MP refusing to pay back the profit made on their homes on which the public paid the mortgage payments.

Just kidding - that's EXACTLY what you would expect. What is surprising is that some actually made not a squeak when asked to cough up the money. MPs owe about half a million pounds to the state, which is to say - us. Seventy MPs have returned the money, which is only right as without us paying their mortgages, they wouldn't have got it in the first place. Among the Cabinet members are Welsh Secretary David Jones who returned £81,446, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond who gave back £34,883 and Kenneth Clarke who gave back £737. Seven hundred and thirty-seven pounds? Where was his house? Hull? How can you make only £737 profit on a house that is fit for a minister to live in? A property expert he is not. He is a minister without portfolio, let's hope they don't give him Housing.

There are refuseniks though, for example one Tory MP is holding on to the £54,000 he made off our backs, presumably as he has already earmarked it for comics and sweets or a first class ticket to Hell. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority will now sue him for it. They will do this using our money, and he will resist their advances to get our money back by using our money. Those gaining, whatever the outcome, will be those representatives of the majesty that is British law.

Things you thought you would never see Number Four: Lawyers losing. And you never will.

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