This is not a bleat about those earning prodigious sums, but a plea on behalf of those on the other end of the scale. Living as I have in so many different societies, from life in the British Raj, through rural Britain, working-class London, to the rarefied atmosphere of Northern Ireland, I have seen such incredible changes, to the ruling classes and the impoverished, from the Victorian era to this incredible society we are now part of. We seem to worship instant notoriety, give monumental payments to those folk providing, so-called, entertainment, without a thought for what this type of adulation is doing to the economy of those not so well off.
I have two professional golfers in my family, and yet I think it is totally crazy that a man receives half a million Sterling for coming second, and seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds, for winning a single golf tournament. When I hear musicians, film actors, and presenters on television, with more money than they will ever be able to spend, obtained in effect from the pockets of many of whom are unlikely to see their bank statements ever in the black, I fail to understand why this situation is allowed to persist. I also object to the fact that the top football league is allowed to pay such extremes of salaries when the lower leagues haven’t even enough money to maintain their stands to the standard required today for safety.
In my youth there were very few people who had as much wealth as those just mentioned, and the class system maintained the situation. Now the whole class situation has been inverted, the wealthy of yesterday are having to sell off heirlooms to pay their taxes and young people, overnight, by reaching those very heights and adulation, rarely deserved to the extent it is portrayed, are promoted by specialists angling for a quick buck.
I suppose there is no way that we can level out the giving and the taking so that those at the bottom of the heap may have their pleasures at reasonable rates. Those who are at the top of the heap, currently earning these vast sums, should receive their reward at a sufficient level to justify their worth, and create a goal for others to aim at. My family is sport mad, so I hear a lot of the gossip and one thing that comes out of it is that the rising stars, not only in sport, are so keen to be accepted in their chosen milieu that they will work almost for nothing to achieve their aim. On the basis of that, they are entitled if they are successful, to be recompensed for the time served in learning the profession, but it doesn’t seem to make sense to me that a man who has also had to struggle to reach the top of his profession, a surgeon, or any of the other professionals you like to name, should receive so little compared with those enumerated above. This is not a rant, it is an expression of frustration at what in many cases, but not all, is a moneymaking racket engineered by a few who are escalating their own percentages while promoting others, merely, in the case of young rising talent, only to dash their dreams subsequently, when the cream is getting a bit thin.
River cottage and the like. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, that eccentric farmer-cook, overreached himself the other day,. when he tried to change the eating habits of some urbanites. I think he tried to do too much in too short a time, but however he did make me think that there is an industry out there, for which we are clearly paying, which is devoted to meeting the demands of some of the food gurus who constantly preach about diet. All the time food is cheap, tasty, simple to prepare, with little post washing-up, so-called junk food will be on the menu. What I object to so strongly is that all the packaging, much of it unnecessary, has now to be labelled in all sorts of categories and which I suspect, 99% of the population either doesn’t understand or doesn’t read. But we are paying for that printing, and the hours spent discussing how is to be applied, how it is to be regulated, and government departments are concerned with advertising basic common sense as if it was a new idea. There was all that fuss about school dinners, which seems to have died down, and obesity is constantly being discussed on television, .As one who has had a weight problem for years, my experience tells me that a simple, balanced diet, of small portions, is all that is required, and it is self-control which should be advertised on the packets. The younger members of my family, partly through eating out, through being interested in food, and being prepared to take trouble, have extremely varied menus, and much of the food that they eat, such as aubergines, I find to be relatively flavourless; but I was brought up on roast beef, Yorkshire puddings and three veg, toad in the hole, and all the other British recipes from way back. These require considerable preparation and more clearing afterwards, perhaps that is why they’re no longer popular