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Monday, 16 January 2017


There is a growing tendency amongst some people to campaign for a thing called transparency. As far as I understand it, transparency taken to its extreme is knowing everything about everything and everyone. Let me repeat that - knowing EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Really?

A lot of focus is on how much bosses earn compared to their employees which is only useful if the facts help to equalise gender pay for people doing the same jobs. But a checkout operator in Tesco, say, knowing what the Chief Executive earns might be nice to know but is it relevant? Does it satisfy nosiness to know stuff like that or does knowing it stir up envy and bitterness? The greater the responsibility, the bigger the pay packet surely makes some sense.

On the subject of money, big name celebrities employed by the BBC will be identified and we will know what they earn. As it's the BBC, a portion of the population will gasp in horror at how much ten-a-penny presenters are paid and it won't be pennies. Others will shrug their shoulders and mutter ho-hum, nice work if you can get it. The politicians who favour and encourage the free market don't seem to apply their principles to the BBC because it is publicly funded and should be, er, transparent. Little credence is given to the fact that talent is an expensive commodity and like any business commodity it is prone to competition, bidding and negotiation. It is the way of things, not always palatable, not always fair but it's the way the world works. It we want high calibre, quality programmes and presenters, they come at a price. At some point, a government will enforce a maximum pay rate for BBC employees, celebrities and otherwise, in the quest to weaken and eventually destroy the organisation. Average calibre and average quality television is not an appetising prospect. Just spend a few hours watching second-rate satellite channels. You might like them, of course, or you will experience the liquification of your cerebral cortex.

I couldn't care less about celebrity pay and if it all became public knowledge, it wouldn't make any difference to me or jolt my blood pressure.  I watch TV and either like or dislike the presenters and programmes. I don't see them through kerching spectacles. David Attenborough earns a hefty wad. So what? Graham Norton earns a pretty penny. Yawn. Huw Edwards probably does okay. Am I bovvered? But, if some people are desperate to know how many shillings celebrities earn, the transparency campaigners will not rest until every celebrity/presenter (chuck in footballers too!) wears a badge in public declaring how much their contracts are worth, or better still, their remuneration should be displayed at the bottom of the screen any time the celeb is on camera.

Beyond celebrities, transparency means that every domestic and commercial building should be made from glass or perspex and we should witness what people get up to morning, noon and night. We should have access to view everybody's bank accounts, mortgage arrangements, debts, savings, investments and the value of their houses. We should know their living arrangements, their decor, their eating and drinking habits and any other stuff that would satisfy our curiosity. Once we know all there is to know, we can choose to ignore what we know or spit venom on social media.

If we really, really want to know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE, we should join the Secret Service and once we know everything about everything and everyone, as the Secret Service already do, our appetites for knowledge would be at peace because there would be nothing left to know. Shangri-la-la land. A peaceful, satisfied, harmonious world. Yeah, right!

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