Diary: Massive Whitehall salaries sound sweet to Sugar

 

When details emerged last summer about the pay packets of some public servants, one Tory MP, James Wharton, called it "absolutely shocking" that people were drawing that sort of money from the public purse in these recessionary days.

But Alan Sugar, a Labour peer, takes the opposite view. Such sums are not outlandish to a man who was already a multi-millionaire in the 1980s, and he thinks the Government should hire more people on salaries to match that of Tony Fountain, head of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, whose total whack, including bonuses and pension contributions, is more than £675,000.

He has urged the Government to pull together a team of hard-nosed, highly-paid business types whose job would be to supervise every government purchase, from paper clips to guided missiles, to make sure they are not being fleeced. The Government buys about £238bn worth of kit every year, and Lord Sugar, left, reasons that if they hired the right people for a combined annual remuneration of £50m, and set them a target of buying the same volume of goods for £200bn, the taxpayers would be quids in. "Would the Government have the guts to do this?" he asks.

"Or would they be frightened off by headlines about the head honcho of procurement earning X millions of pounds a year? One can see a certain national newspaper carrying the headline: 'Fred Smith earns X million a year, while Joe Bloggs in the north-east of England struggles'." Yes, one can.

Ken Russell knew how to expose MPs

So far as I know, Ken Russell, whose death was reported yesterday, was the only director ever to film a future MP in the nude. I refer, of course, to Glenda Jackson in her role as Antonina Miliukova, the frustrated would-be lover of the gay composer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, in The Music Lovers.

The Tories' turn to leak

For years, the Tories would complain about Gordon Brown's practice of having the details of his budgets leaked in advance, item by item. Now both sides have switched roles. Labour has furiously complained about how the contents of the autumn statement that George Osborne will deliver today have dribbled out in advance. The Speaker, John Bercow, had already spotted what was going on and revealed yesterday that he has had words with Treasury ministers about it.

Bercow's heraldic acquisition

John Bercow yesterday acquired that rarest of status symbol – his personal coat of arms. The design includes a ladder, to symbolise his upward mobility, as a taxi driver's son, four roundels, because he's a tennis freak, scimitars, because he comes from Essex, and pink triangles, because a seminal moment in Bercow's political journey away from hard-line Conservatism was when he defied majority opinion in the Tory party by speaking up for gay rights. All that's missing is a flimsy sheet, to symbolise his love for Sally.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map