By the Devil
Penny’s dreadful It will hardly be a surprise that, like The Appalling Strangeness, I had a bit of a giggle when Guido highlighted the rampant hypocrisy inherent in Laurie Penny’s advert for a researcher.
The job is to “find statistics and quotes and case studies, talk over what I’m writing and hunt down sources and stories for me, and keep meticulous notes of all sources in academic format.” For this the lowly researcher will be paid the grand sum of £500 for 85 hours work. As a fearless left-wing campaigner for higher living standards for the workers surely Laurie must know that £5.88 per hour is short of the minimum wage and far from the “living wage” she publicly supports (£7.85). Apparently the job would “suit someone who is currently out of work, working part-time, or parenting”. What planet is she on that she thinks parents can afford childcare on £5.88 per hour?
Even more controversial than the flouting of minimum wage legislation is her contempt for sexual equality legislation. She clearly states: “I’m probably looking for a female researcher”. The EHRC clearly says: “Stating a preference for a man or woman in a job advertisement is unlawful sex discrimination unless the requirements of the particular job mean that it is lawful to employ only a man or a woman”. Form an orderly queue…
All jolly hilarious but, to be fair to Laurie, she does point out that the research could be done at home and, in the main, through the internet—as such, it’s not as though a parent would necessarily need to get childcare.
Although, of course, if one is not working alongside the great Penny Red, then it is going to be extremely difficult for Laurie to make good on her offer to “make you tea at any hour”.
What really grips my shit though, is that darling Penny says that “this will be a lump sum coming out of my own not terribly well-stuffed pocket” and that she wishes she…
… could afford to pay the living wage for this rather than just minimum wage, but that’s not an option for me at the moment.
First, £500 divided by 85 hours works out at £5.88—not the minimum wage of £5.93. So, not much of a problem: you just need to work fewer hours. After all, Penny is paying a lump sum for a certain amount of work to be done, not a certain number of hours.
However, if Laurie Penny cannot afford to pay £7.85 an hour, why the living fuck does she think that anyone else can afford to? Does she think that every else’s pockets are considerably more stuffed than hers? Is she, as I suspect, one of these utter morons who imagines that companies—or, indeed, individuals—have vast amounts of magic money that they can just splurge around with gay abandon?
Yes, she probably is.
Because, like most socialists, she will be unable to connect her impecuniousness with anyone else’s. After all, in Laurie’s world, everyone is considerably richer than her, eh?
Second, as I did with the equally delectable Kezia Dugdale, it is worth looking at this “living wage”—because it is a complete and utter nonsense.
- A person working a 37.5 hour week on the minimum wage earns £11,563.50 yearly. Once tax is deducted, that person takes home £9,903.02.
- A person working a 37.4 hour week on the “living wage” earns £15,307.50 and, after tax, takes home £12,486.38.
As Timmy has repeatedly pointed out, we could practically eliminate the difference between the minimum wage and the living wage simply by extorting less money from the poor.
Then we have the living wage enthusiasts, those who would insist that wages should come up to the £7.60 an hour which constitutes the pre-tax income needed to live not in poverty as defined by the public through the Joseph Rowntree Trust. That’s 58% of median wage.
Now, I’ve long contended that there’s a trick being missed here. The difference between £5.91 an hour and having a personal allowance for tax and NI of £12,000 and £7.60 an hour under the current tax system is, for post tax income, if I remember my calculations properly, something like 3 pence an hour. So we can achieve our (joint, yes, I desire it too) desire of taking the working poor out of poverty simply by not taxing them so damn much.
Quite. Plus, of course, we will avoid all of those unfortunate undesired consequences discussed in Timmy’s post.
Do we see her backing lower government spending in order to afford lower taxes for the poor?
Do we fuck.
What we do see is Laurie campaigning for everyone else to be forced to pay a certain wage level, whilst crying crocodile tears because she, herself, cannot—or, more likely, will not.