Ed Lines – December 1, 2017

IS THERE any job that’s worth the thick end of half-a-million quid a year? There are lots actually, not even counting the footballing  prima donnas of this world.

A superstar entrepreneur like Richard Branson may well have turned into a gobshine with a God complex, but he’s created massive businesses and by definition wealth, taxes and knock-on revenues the world over.

So if he wants to buy a private jet, Caribbean island, and pay himself a king’s ransom for good measure, then I say fill your boots my son. I’ll even turn a blind eye if he dyes his beard.

At the other end of the spectrum I think a salary of £150,000 for being Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is exceedingly low  – in principle at least.

The fact is if Theresa May was being paid on merit, she’d be delivering morning papers round the streets of Westminster to help pay back what she owes us. 

Gordon Brown would have to sell his good eye on the organ donor black market (and one apiece from every Labour voter who backed him) to even begin repaying the money that fiscal idiot cost the nation.

Still, £150,000 for running the United Kingdom is peanuts, when you consider that Adrian Lythgo, the discredited former Kirklees Council chief, was on £157,000 plus £20k into his pension pot? 

At least since Lythgo jumped – before being dumped over the failing Social Services scandal – Kirklees has reined in the profligacy somewhat.

But all of that is kicked into a cocked hat by the £468,000 the University of Bath was paying Dame Glynis Breakwell (plus £31k car loan and £20k living expenses) for being their vice-chancellor.

It beggars belief that Breakwell actually sat on the university remunerations board that decided to award her huge, budget-busting increases.

Why would her minions go along with that, you ask? Because like the trade union mafia dons, they’re all buying future favours.

Ah, you say, but she’s made Bath into a top-five UK university! No she hasn’t. That’s only if you read the dying British version of Pravda – The Guardian. 

You won’t be surprised to hear Breakwell’s a jumped-up social worker, who turned Bath Uni into a flag bearer of the militant left. More reliable sources rank it between 11th and 21st.

And it won’t be that high in next year’s rankings because student applications to Bath plummeted when the news broke of the piracy their fees were funding. 

The kids recognise a racket when they see one – not so daft after all.

In the private sector, Labour regularly froth at the mouth over fatcat pay, but they’ve been pretty quiet over this – because Breakwell is one of their own.

As rackets go this is small beer when weighed against the hundreds of thousands of lives sacrificed in Iraq to the war criminal Tony Blair’s vanity, but his 1999 pledge to to crowbar 50% of all children into university has come at a huge price.

Those were days when Blair was still reasonably believable and possibly even put national well-being on some kind of par with his and Cherie’s enrichment.

What a monster he created, however. From witnessing the university experience of my kids and their friends I remain unconvinced that universities are more than industrial cash machines, where funding the hobbies, ambitions and livelihoods of the faculty trumps the needs of students, or the nation.

I read this week that more than 60% of graduates, saddled with £40-50,000 of debt, are in jobs where their degrees are pointless. What a waste.

Closer to home I’m sure the University of Huddersfield has some excellent degree courses and quality lecturers. Indeed I’ve known a few over the years.

As an employer who gets more applications from Huddersfield students than anywhere else, I have strong reservations about their admissions criteria – I’d have thought being able to read and write would be a basic requirement of getting on a journalism course.

But I guess when each kid is waving a cheque for nine grand a year for the honour of being a bum on a seat, standards are very flexible.

It’ll be nothing to do, I’m sure, with Huddersfield vice chancellor Bob Cryan’s gut-punching 67% pay rise to the breathtaking figure of £365,000 a year?

Just to put that into context, Huddersfield languishes in 72nd place among UK universities, which probably ranks among places that were calling themselves names like Pontefract Polytechnic until Blair had his brainstorm.

It’s legalised robbery and it’s financially crippling so many young people.

NEXT April I will celebrate – and I use the term very loosely – the 25th birthday of Ed Lines. Roughly speaking (and at times very roughly writing) that’s in the region of 1,300 columns and about 2,000,000 words.

Wow – with around 30,000 papers a week at times, how many portions of fish and chips has this rubbish wrapped up?

So many years, week in and out, of poking fingers of fun and ridicule, has to take some kind of toll on the soul though. 

No wonder an old hack turns into an occasionally miserable, cynical sod at times. When you do this job for so long you come to realise there’s nothing new in the world any more, not in politics, not in religion, not in human behaviour.

So sing hallelujah and praise the Lord for news of a royal wedding to get stuck into. 

I can’t have been alone in being sick to the back teeth of ‘Harry and Meghan’ inanities within – oh, 20 minutes of the announcement? Another 20 minutes later and I had a yard-long list of cynical columns in mind. Months of material.

But do you know what? Good on them, I say. 

It’s not their fault that TV stations and national newspapers are run by Oxbridge in-breds who couldn’t finish The Beano crossword if it had one.

They’re a young couple in love, but hopefully old enough to know what rubbish is coming their way.

Be happy and be lucky, kids. Oh, and patient. You’ll need to be very patient.

IF YOU’RE already running short of patience on the Harry and Meghan frenzy, at least try to consider the up sides. 

As Harry’s conquests and her former ‘admirers’ come pouring out of the media woodwork over coming months, the phalanx of non-stories will at least distract from the interminable Brexit bolleaux (see, I am still moderately Eurolingual).

Is it 20bn euros to wave bye bye Brussels, is it 40bn? Or should we as massively insulted British patriots, declare a £trillion war over paying the bandits anything at all?

As a confirmed Brexiteer, should I feel betrayed by this rank capitulation? (And I presume the Remoaners amongst you will be delighted that we’re donating fortunes to your continental soulmates. At least now you’ll understand why there’s no spare £350m for the NHS and put a lid on it).

But do you know what folks? Really? I couldn’t give a tuppenny flip over the final bill for leaving, not least because the way these people operate it’s not ‘real’ money anyway.

If the Grey Ghost (PM Theresa May) thinks she can save her job or reputation by promising those garlic-eating surrender monkeys an imaginary figure, however extortionate, then fill yer wrinkly 200-denier tights love.

Just. Get. Us. Out. Then. Go.

And if, dear reader, you are remotely interested in knowing why I don’t care, it’s because by the time that bill comes due, I doubt there’ll be a functioning EU to cash the cheque anyway – it’s as much a walking corpse as May is.

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