Mark Andrews: Greed of the bus strikes, threat of Chinese cars and why PM should take a pay cut
As I write, West Midland bus drivers are voting on whether or not to accept a 16.2 per cent pay rise, taking their salaries to £33,000 a year.
I feel for them, having to make such a tough call. They were forced to withdraw their labour this week after the skinflints at National Express offered them a stingy 14.3 per cent pay rise.
If they vote to continue with their strike, I do hope National Express withdraws both its offers and tells them they will get 5.9 per cent – the average pay rise in this country – take it or leave it.
I would hazard a guess that many of those worst affected by this week's strike can only dream of a 16 per cent pay rise, and a salary of £33,000 a year.
The elderly, the infirm, those paid by the hour, will be the ones who have suffered most from this week's stand-off.
Their hard-ball tactics may pay off in the short term. But I wonder where it will leave them as driverless vehicles become ever closer to reality.
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Not that the march towards driverless technology is something I look forward to with unbridled joy. Particularly if Chinese tech companies are involved.
As the Government plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars within seven years, the Chinese automotive giants are already preparing to flood the market with a new range of cheap electric vehicles. Those Commies can teach us a lesson or two about capitalism.
Moreover, these cheap electric cars will be packed with new technology. Who knows what data they will be harvesting?
I fear future generations will look back in disbelief at how we put our security at risk just for the convenience of a few cheap gadgets from China.
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On the subject of pay rises, it would, of course, not go amiss for our leaders to show a bit of restraint themselves.
I care little that Rishi Sunak's annual tax bill dwarfs most people's earnings, but it does show he can afford a voluntary pay cut.
Margaret Thatcher famously declined her full prime-ministerial salary. More recently, the former Dudley North MP Ian Austin donated a big chunk of his pay to charity.
Lectures about living within our means would carry a lot more weight if those delivering them showed they were in it with us.
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It's a witch-hunt, cry Boris's supporters. He's a liar and a disgrace, say his enemies.
But maybe there is a middle ground. That he believed there was a loophole in his own rules, and that he had technically complied while ignoring the spirit of them.
Arrogant and unethical, certainly. But possibly not guilty as charged?