So the BBC has just published salaries of its presenters at the behest of the UK government. Was this sensible or political manoeuvring against the Beeb?
It is clearly political, in that only the salaries of direct employees are being reported. Those who choose to hide their financial affairs behind suitable ‘distribution companies’ avoid such scrutiny and pay less tax into the bargain. The logical response of valuable BBC employees is to turn themselves into companies, and thus regain their privacy and pay less tax. Joan Bakewell is right, the government is simply up to some mischief at the expense of the BBC.
I remember the culture of industry during my ‘working’ years. Salary was something negotiated with your boss on joining, and subsequently once a year. There was no simple way of knowing if you were paid in any way commensurate with your peers – you relied on the boss to do that. Of course, those who shouted loudest tended to get the best deal.
Far more sensible would be a company environment where all salaries and remunerations are transparently visible to all – clearly fair, but a culture change a long way from where things are (still) at. There is a peculiar attachment to secrecy in money matters – of course encouraged by the main beneficiaries. So there is a germ of sense in the government’s position, even though its motivation may have been entirely malicious.