Friday, 25 July 2014

Living Wage? Not if you want to work for Harriet Harman

Ed Miliband managed to get his favourite catchphrase into his ‘I’m weird – get over it!’ speech today – “cost-of-living crisis”.

One of Labour’s ways to tackle this is to roll out the Living Wage to workers – starting by only awarding Whitehall contracts to those who pay their staff the amount.

He has even threatened that those who pay less could be “named and shamed”.

Miliband is obviously keen for Government and politicians to lead by example.

Alas, it seems the message might not have reached his Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman.

She is currently recruiting for a Trainee Caseworker for her South London constituency of Camberwell and Peckham.

The post promises a wage of £17,000 per year.

If the employee does a standard 7.5 hour day, that works out at just £8.72 per hour.

According to the Living Wage Foundation, the London living wage should be £8.80.

Harriet Harman – named and shamed.

If you fancy the job – apply here

UPDATE: Having spoken to Harriet Harman's office, apparently the successful applicant for this "full-time role" will only have to work 35 hours a week - thus making the salary £9.34 an hour. Let's hope Ms Harman ensures the worker claims back time in lieu for the "occasional evening work" detailed in the job advert.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Cameron trumps Miliband in first PMQs after his reshuffle

GLOWERING eyes were focused on David Cameron today during Prime Minister’s Questions – and not only from the Opposition benches.

Positioned at the entrance to the Commons chamber, seemingly unable to bring themselves to sit on the Government’s backbenches, were former Cabinet members Owen Paterson, Dominic Grieve and – still licking his wounds from 2011 - Liam Fox.

The trio watched, arms crossed, faces fixed with stern gazes, as the Prime Minister stood just a few metres away, talking up his new band of merry men and women.

He found time to praise Dominic Grieve – who, it seemed, did such a good job as Attorney General he had to go.

Perhaps that’s why Iain Duncan Smith – who stood alongside the discarded ‘pale, male and stales’ out of solidarity – remains in post.

Michael Gove, the headline axing from the reshuffle, sat in his new place at the end of the Government’s frontbench, staring straight ahead throughout.

Even when Cameron listed the former Education Secretary’s achievements, Gove showed no emotion, and noticeably avoided looking at the Prime Minister.

Perhaps he had realised in that moment, that he was no longer one of the big boys.

Being forced to sit so close to the Lib Dems may have made him feel like he was being moved out as others moved in. 

Perhaps if he had looked at the Prime Minister, a David Brent style tearful plea of “Don’t make me redundant…please” would have escaped his lips.

As it was, Cameron was on top form. Sure, the ambush of Ed Miliband with a quotation from his deputy Harriet Harman on raising taxes for the squeezed middle was – to put generously – taking the words slightly out of context.

But it didn’t matter. The roar of the Tory benches as Harman and Miliband produced opposite reactions to the claim showed victory was Cameron’s.

The Conservatives will leave for the summer recess feeling buoyed, with some media-friendly new faces at the top and a strengthening of Eurosceptism in the Cabinet - heard much from Ukip recently, anyone?

Labour MPs were subdued throughout PMQs. They had heard it all before – #costoflivingcrisis vs #longtermeconomicplan.

Cameron joked to Miliband that his party want to reshuffle him out of the leadership position.

After today’s showing, Miliband may have to spend more of the summer than he planned trying to stop his colleagues reaching for Labour's pack of political cards.