UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from Breakingviews:

Technical measures won’t curb pay extravaganza

By Edward Hadas
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

One of the more puzzling British and American trends in the last three decades is the vast increase in the share of national income allocated to the very rich. The High Pay Commission, a non-governmental UK body which published a report on Tuesday, points out that share of British national income garnered by the top 0.1 percent of earners has moved from 1.3 to 6.5 percent since 1979. The Commission has a 12-point plan to change things.

The puzzle is two-fold. First, what caused the shift? Companies may be bigger. But corporate bosses do pretty much what they always did. They are just getting paid much more to do it. At BP, one of the few big British companies with clear records going back to 1979, the top boss received 16 times as much as the average worker in 1979. Last year BP’s “boss-peon” multiple was 63.

Second, why has there been so little public indignation about the pay extravaganza? The report’s forward says “the public is rapidly running out of patience”, but in fact this trend has been in place for decades, was not halted by the recession and has not fired up a mass protest movement. There are rhetorical expressions of outrage from politicians and at the pub, but the British, like the Americans, seem remarkably complacent about the triumph of the elite.

from James Saft:

Britain eats (leverages) its young

James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Four years, several failed banks and at least one global recession later, Britain has finally discovered what its young people need: 19-1 leverage.

Britain has announced a new housing initiative, the centerpiece of which is a plan to entice first-time buyers into buying newly-built properties with as little as 5 percent down.

from Photographers' Blog:

NFL touchdown in London

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By Suzanne Plunkett

British sports fans are a serious bunch. When it comes to football (they never call it soccer), many would rather lose their home than miss their team score a winning goal. Club allegiance is often demonstrated with tribal passion - influencing tattoos, clothing and even choice of marital partners.

When American football makes a rare appearance in London, it's somewhat of a surprise to see the seriousness of the sport replaced with a more frivolous obsession: cheerleaders.

from FaithWorld:

Faith overtones heard in Occupy protests but many religious leaders wary

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(A banner outside St. Paul's Cathedral in London October 31, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

Religions condemn greed. The "Occupy Wall Street" protests around the world condemn greed. So theoretically, religious leaders should find common ground with the rallies denouncing the inequalities of capitalism.

from Left field:

Federer at his sublime best in Paris

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By Greg Rusedski

The Paris Masters was going to determine who was going to be the last players to qualify for the ATP world finals in London. The last few places were up for grabs and all the players that were in pole position ended up qualifying. The top eight for the field ended up being Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mardy Fish.

The other story of the week concerned Djokovic and whether he would play after shoulder problems in Basel. If he didn't play he would have missed his commitments for the master series events and it would have cost him over 1 million pounds in bonus pool money. He did play!

from FaithWorld:

Church of England regions for women bishops to break “stained glass ceiling”

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(An English village church in Ault Hucknall, Derbyshire, 11 September 2009/Trevor Rickard)

The Church of England's dioceses, or regions, have voted in favour of consecrating female bishops, campaigners said on Sunday, clearing one hurdle in a long legislative battle to let women break through the "stained glass ceiling."

from Breakingviews:

Music gods again divert EMI’s destiny

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The music gods have meddled again with EMI’s destiny. In the minds of financiers and industry wags, the union of the British music group - home to the Beatles and the Beastie Boys - with U.S. rival Warner Music was just a matter of time. But the star-crossed match has been knocked off course again by the sale of EMI’s two divisions to Sony and Vivendi’s Universal Music.

from FaithWorld:

London City workers criticize pay gaps, declining ethics – St Paul’s poll

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(A placard is balanced on a statue outside St Paul's Cathedral in central London November 6, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Hackett)

Most London City workers believe there is too great a gap between rich and poor in Britain and that traders, company bosses and stockbrokers are paid too much, a survey by a think-tank linked to St Paul's cathedral said on Monday.

from FaithWorld:

Former top London banker sees moral disaster in market economy

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(Former Lazard International Chairman Ken Costa listens during a Future of Finance Initiative conference in Horsham, southern England, December 8, 2009. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

A former top London banker, weighing into a protest movement in Britain against abuses and excesses of modern capitalism, said on Sunday the market economy had lost "its moral foundations with disastrous consequences."

from FaithWorld:

Ireland to shut Vatican embassy in financial crisis cost overhaul

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Ireland will close its embassy to the Vatican, one of the Catholic country's oldest missions, as part of a cost-cutting programme prompted by the country's EU-IMF bailout.

Relations between the Irish government and the Vatican, once traditional allies, are at an all-time low over the Church's handling of sex abuse cases. But Eamon Gilmore, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, denied the embassy closure was linked.

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