Editor's blog: are we in for more fat cat protests?

Life is still good if you're one of the wealthy elite.

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

‘Well here we go again…’ you could be forgiven for thinking. Happy days have returned. Wine experts have agreed that the 2009 Bordeaux vintage is one of the finest in recent years, thanks to last year's perfect conditions of a wet spring and hot summer. The result of this classic marketing nonsense is that the newly released stuff from Bordeaux is going en primeur for seriously silly prices. Château Latour is £11,400 a case, Château Lafite-Rothschild is £13,500 a dozen, while Le Pin, a small vineyard in Pomerol, is on sale for £18,000. There are, apparently, no shortage of buyers for this nectar that cannot be consumed for at least 10 years, although the vulgar City boys will be slinging it down their necks way before then.  

Happy days, indeed. The truth is for those individuals able to afford a grand for a bottle of wine things never really stopped. OK, it was said after the darkest days of late 2008 that the mega-rich were laying low and merely doing the Pètrus in the comfort of their own Notting Hill and Monaco mansions. They were rolling in it before 2008 and still are. Little has changed for them.

Meanwhile us mere mortals are all entering the grim Age of Austerity. George Osborne is handing out hair shirts by the container-load which makes conditions ripe for yet another round of fat cattery protest. According to Incomes Data Services, bonuses for UK board directors at the largest companies rose by an average of 22.5% in the last six months. The average went up from £456,000 to £559,000. ‘After a period of relative austerity [note the word relative] the good times have returned to the UK boardroom,’ said Steve Tatton of IDS.

The truth is it’s always been miserable being poor and life won’t change there. But the new squeeze is on the middle class, as The Telegraph’s excellent and so-to-be-missed economics commentator Edmund Conway shows in this piece.

As Conway writes: ‘much of the extra cash generated during the boom years (and even after them) has been actively funnelled towards the most wealthy. The median wage in the US, adjusted for inflation, has been stagnant for pretty much three decades. But the figures at the high end of the scale have soared; whereas in 1970 the average US chief executive made $25 for every dollar of their typical employee's salary, today the figure is more like $90.’


In today's bulletin:

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Editor's blog: are we in for more fat cat protests?
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