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Thursday 13 January 2011

Money Mail – It’s All Relative

Watchers of the world that is the Daily Mail do not have to look far to see the paper’s obsession with money: what some folks are paid, what they may or may not be taxed, the money some get improperly, the losses made by others. Typical of the Mail’s money stories was today’s why-oh-why effort attacking refuse collectors in Birmingham: they earn 45,000 notes a year!

And, of course, the reality is different: they earn between 24k and 26k, and make a bit more with overtime (to around 32k). But you have to be envious, so the numbers are made to look like they get more than you. And at the same time, for those earning 25k a year (like those binmen they just went after), the Mail is actually on your side: more why-oh-why copy tells of the “hammering” coming to such people when the benefits system is reformed.

So far, so typical: the Mail is facing both ways in its efforts to fuel the anxieties of its readership, which it more than likely put in their minds in the first place. But what does not get told is that this really is small beer when put alongside the wads awarded to the paper’s staff and its array of dubiously talented columnists.

Because the picking around the odd 25k here and there is thrown into sharp relief by the news that the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre last year trousered a remuneration package totalling an eye-watering 2.8 million notes, making him the best-paid editor on the dunghill that is Grubstreet.

That’s a lot of dosh, even allowing for Dacre’s unique ability with expletives, which has earned him the nickname of “The Vagina Monologue”. But several of his columnists are equally lavishly rewarded: Fat Dick Littlejohn, who finds basic research so tiresome, is thought to be close to the million quid a year mark. Liz Jones, whose empathy with those in debt is so sincere, may not be far behind.

And what of the rest of the unsavoury bunch? Whether you would want to find yourself stuck in a lift with Jan Moir, Janet Street [expletive deleted]ing Porter, Stephen “why oh why BBC” Glover, and “Mad” Melanie Phillips, and may reasonably cross the road or avoid bars and restaurants to keep away from them, they are doubtless squirreling away a sum well into six figures annually from the Mail.

So when the Mail tells of how rotten it is that refuse collectors can make over 30k a year after getting a bit of overtime, remember the poor rewards and high principles of those doing the carping and demonising.

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