Monday, October 29, 2007

Who's the Best Paid PM or President?

Robin Lustig, the excellent presenter of Radio 4's THE WORLD TONIGHT, has started a blog HERE. He's discovered that the highest paid Prime Minister or President in the industrialised world is none other than the Irish Taesoiach Bertie Ahern, who trousers a whopping £250,000 a year. And he's just been awarded a 14% pay rise, to be sure. Click HERE to discover how much other world leaders earn.


Alex said...

About ten years ago I heard a story that Lee Kwan Yew, then PM of Singapore earning $250,000 a year, told people that he was the highest paid head of state in Asia, and then added with a knowing look "but not the richest".

Anonymous said...

Over yon, Croydonian has noted that Frau Merkel trousers, if that's the word, £253,944 PA, which means she is better paid than the President of the United States.

This beggars belief.

Alex - LKY has always said that people charged with governing a country should be paid at least as much as people governing huge corporations, because otherwise, why would highly intelligent, ambitious people serve? He was, and is, a pragmatist.

Current PM Lee Hsieng Loong trousers around US$2m a year and the cabinet and other planners are rewarded on a similar scale.

Given the faultless way Singapore is run, it's clear that the citizenry have paid for the best planners and the best managers and they get value for their money.

George said...

£250,000 a year and a 14% increase? Where can I go to apply for his position?

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

The Singaporean PM earns somewhere in the region of £1M these days.

Anonymous said...

If I was in charge I would change a few things.

1 Cut the number of MPs by half.

2 Prime Ministers should be paid no less then I million a year for life and all other MPs half a million a year for life index linked to inflation.

3 Ban absolutely all MPs from any other paid employment investment income or directorships, for the rest of their lives.

4 Have independent accountants employed to make sure this happens.

5 Make a law punishable by public flogging, castration or worse for any MP caught inflating the cost of even a single paper clip.

This is the only way to attract the sort of individual that the public can trust. Most MPS want to keep their balls even if they don't have any natural honest ones.

Anonymous said...

Verity you are right Singapore is faultless if you like the idea of public floggings.

However I only like these things for politicians because they are the only people that truly deserve it.

Put it this way you can get flogged in Singapore for dropping litter or very petty robbery. So what sort of punishment does a politician deserve for ripping off the innocent law abiding tax payer by inflating their expenses by hundreds of thousands a year?

The death penalty is to good for these people. A slow very painful burning at the stake seems more inline, with the public mood.

Anonymous said...

Machiavelli's etc - I wrote, re Singapore: Current PM Lee Hsieng Loong trousers around US$2m a year. Comparing his salary with that of the President of the United States. Two million dollars.

You then cleverly "corrected" me: The Singaporean PM earns somewhere in the region of £1M these days.

Uh ... yes ... The current rate of exchange is, US$2m equals £970,809.200. This is about £1m. As I said.

Your point?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Robin Lustig doesn't have a higher profile at the BBC - he's an incisive interviewer without being rude, and about a million times better at speaking/presenting anything than the ghastly Caroline Quinn, whose vocal inabilities are getting worse and worse.

Colin D said...

It's all very well bleating on about hoe much they get paid. Surely the question should be: " how much are they worth"??.

Dave Cole said...

Anyone have PPP figures?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that in the context of world leaders £250k can be considered 'whopping'. Considering their power and what they do, it's a scandalously low amount. Just like with MPs.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Bertie Ahern, the Republic has a more successful economy than most other countries. I get the impression, without actually knowing, that Eire is profitable and debt-free.

Anonymous said...

Worth noting that the Irish PM doesnt have an official residence, if the imputed rental value of the residency part of White House / Camp David or No.10 / Chequers were added to Bush and Brown's salaries respectively then they would come out considerably better paid.

Anonymous said...

£250k? Does that include all the bribes?

Anonymous said...

Insert pot of gold, leprechaun joke here.

neil craig said...

Payment by results then.

If Gordo or Dave could achieve 7% growth for our economy I would be quite happy to pay them a million.

In any case the UK PM has far more opportunity than the Irish to make money on retiral on the US lecture circuit.

I strongly suspect that if their salary were cut to the national average but with very generous performance bonuses based on growth, tax reduction, & crime (though figures for the latter are easily manipulated) we would all be happier.

Anonymous said...

Atlas Shrugged says Singapore's a good place if you "like the idea of public floggings".

Well, yes, I do, actually.

But you are way off base. Floggings in Singapore are not public. They are done in a room at Changi devoted to flogging and the criminal is strapped to a special table. Pads designed for the purpose are strapped around his upper back to protect his kidneys from bursting. The rotan is long and could be lethal.

You write: "Put it this way you can get flogged in Singapore for dropping litter or very petty robbery."

I don't know where you're getting your volumes of misinformation about Singapore from, but this is absolute ridiculous. You can be sentenced to the rotan for drug dealing or murder. After an open, public trial conducted along the lines of British law (before it was corrupted by Blair, who is my favourite candidate for the rotan).

You get fined for dropping litter and you are imprisoned for robbery, "very petty" or not. Flogging for petty crime? Don't be ridiculous! However, there is no tolerance of human nature or circumstances in Singapore, which is why you can walk home in the early hours without once feeling impelled to look behind you.

"So what sort of punishment does a politician deserve for ripping off the innocent law abiding tax payer by inflating their expenses by hundreds of thousands a year?"

In Singapore, it's the immediate, public sack, crippling loss of face and an inability to find another job in Singapore as no one would touch such a person.

The government of Singapore does a superb job of running a wealthy, safe and comfortable country.

Dave Cole said...

Verity said: "The government of Singapore does a superb job of running a wealthy, safe and comfortable country."

Unless you want to have anal sex. Or be a Jehovah's Witness. Or put on a play without having it vetted first. According to Reports without Borders, it is ranked 146th out of 167. It is, according to Freedom House, 'partly free'. I would say that the wealth and safety are too much to pay for comfort for some.


Anonymous said...

Dave Cole, numerous surveys in Singapore have shown that the citizens are overwhelmingly satisfied with their lot. The vast majority are willing to accept the restrictions you mention because they believe they are necessary for the welfare of the community as a whole. Who are you to judge?

It is not illegal to be a Jehovah's Witness as an individual. The organisation was banned because it required its members to refuse to do military service or swear allegiance to the state.

The survey quoted by Reports Without Borders was on Press Freedom and it put the UK at 24th and the USA at 48th!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anonymous.

Singapore is similar in size to Israel and is in the middle of big oil producers Indonesia, the world's largest muslim country, and Malaysia, a muslim country.

Although they have a crack armed forces and have every single piece of high-tech military equipment (that they buy on rollout), every male in Singapore does a certain number of weeks of military training every year. No excuses. No way round it. Lee Hsien Loong, the son of LKY, had to do his service each year when he was within that age group. Defence of this tiny island - population around 3.5m - is top priority. Any Jehova's Witness or other moonbat organisation who tried to dissuade Singaporeans from their military obligations would of course be banned.

Too bad Britain doesn't deport and ban vicious, destructive imams who also have a religious message.

David Cole, I had gay friends when I lived in Singapore. They certainly didn't look persecuted to me! Ever visited Bugis Street?

Ah, yes, the pretentious organisation Reporters without Borders - copied from Medecins sans Frontieres ... Doctors without Frontiers, although they're lefties, do fly into dangerous places and deliver critical medical help to those who need it. I'm not sure anyone, in a Third World crisis, ever shouted, "Help! I need a reporter!"

You don't think their report ws a little bit pouty? "Hey! Singapore doesn't have the press freedom of the West! We're not free to trash the government of this tiny, very stable country! Let's teach them a lesson and put them at no. 142. That'll shake them!"

If you live in lively, rich, well-run, convenient, clean, green and pleasant Singapore, all you have to do is obey the laws and the rules.

Singaporeans make jokes about their government. Of course, they do! But they are overwhelmingly satisfied with their lot.

neil craig said...

Well they do keep voting for their government, by a majority even, unlike here, so they must be comparatively happy.

If everywhere in the world was run exactly like Singapore I would be worried (though the world would be a vastly more prosperous but so long as there are alternatives then good on them.

Anonymous said...

Neil Craig - "If all the world were run like Singapore ...".

Tragically, there aren't enough Lee Kuan Yews to go around.

Anonymous said...

Now I can place Verity. She is a modern day memsahib sitting in a villa on one of those streets off Bukit Timah Road. The Filipino maid is just tidying away tea and about to look after the kids. The villa is worth £4 or £5 million pounds but the rent is paid by the company Mr Verity works for. There is a lovely open verandah and a garden with coarse grass. Outside is an Audi A4. It is bottom of the range but it cost £70,000.00, as do all cars in Singapore. Verity doesn’t mind the fact that the road pricing and car pricing policies of the government make motoring unaffordable for most and make Ken Livingstone’s congestion charge look absolutely puny. Mr V’s company is paying for the car and the roads are so clear of traffic. The “little people” do not deserve to drive. That is socialism in Verity’s book. The government can do no wrong in Verity’s eyes. Everything is so clean and there is no crime. Verity has got used to the one line casual announcement of hangings in the Straits Times. She ignores the libel actions brought by the government against their opponents. She ignores other much more ugly rumours of the way the inhabitants of those tower blocks she is driven by are “persuaded” to vote for the government. It is all so clean and tidy. Faultless, in fact.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:44 AM Another weird fantasy about my life! Well, at least it's at the other end of the scale from some of the personnas and circumstances that have been assigned to me by readers who resent right wing women.

I was on an employment pass in Singapore. I lived in an ordinary flat in an ordinary Singaporean neighbourhood - not a condominium. There was a block of HDB flats on my street.

I'm aware of the actions brought by the government against some of its opponents. I never read the details because as a foreigner, it wasn't my business.

Everyone in Singapore who wants to drive, drives. And that is despite the (IIRC) 100% tax on buying a new car, and the road charges. They have the money.

The mass transit system is superb so you don't always have to take your car.

I think I am correct in deducing, from your tone of voice, that you are not a Singaporean, which means you're a "do-gooder" lefty ready to believe anything that discredits the government. It's too authoritarian for you. You'd prefer the insane, destructive authoritarianism of T Blair and G Brown and the civil chaos of Britain.

I recommend that you read LKY's incredible story of how he started the country - 'From Third World to First World'.

When Singapore was kicked out of Malaya and the Malaysians said, "Fine. You're on your own," he had a population of around 2m barely literate fifth or sixth or seventh generation immigrants from China who were scattered around in kampongs and a few Bhumiputeras and a few Indians. That was it. No police force. No armed forces. No schools. No real housing. Nothing.

A jungle.

Every single little thing had to be done from scratch.

Sometimes, he may have been heavy handed, but he had a lot to do.
He didn't have Gordon Brown's leisure to tinker around doing bugger all, nor Brown's arrogance.

I recommend LKY's account. It's a bracing read and should be read by everyone who believes that there is no substitute for capitalism for bettering the human condition.

On a lighter note, Lee has to have been the handsomest man who ever started a country; and certainly the smartest. And today the country enjoys the best looking and highest-paid head of government in the world in the person of Lee Hsien Loong. I'll bet you just hate that.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote: "She ignores the libel actions brought by the government against their opponents."

I figured Singapore does very well indeed at governing itself without my advice. Had I not trusted the government, I would not have lived in the country.

Anonymous said...

Verity, I was Anon 2.54 PM

I have lived and worked in Singapore. It was very stimulating. The country is refreshingly free of corruption and everything runs very smoothly. The critics haven't experienced life in Singapore and don't know what they are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Aardvark - Agreed. They just vomit out what they have read written by other lefties.

Far better the very mild social controls of Singapore than the social controls in Britain where everythng is subject to fascist diktats. When I lived there, I found the reins of control were never evident.

Also, they often don't enforce small laws unless someone complains. There was an HBD block down my street and a Chinese family had an extremely noisy funeral which began around 10 p.m. The gongs, the drums, the whole deal. There's a legal cut-off time for noise of this type, but as no one in the flats complained (and all these housing blocks have mixes of Chinese, Malay and Indian tenancies), it went on and on and on. The other races turned a kindly deaf ear, so to speak.

They are self-regulating and they treat one another well.

I'm glad you posted to counter the silly,ignorant malice with which this country is regarded.

Anonymous said...

While Singaporean politicians do sue for libel these can be & have been appealed to our Privvy Council. Perhaps if UK politicians who get publicly called war criminals (as I have with Blair among others) were under pressure to clear themselves in that way we would have fewer such criminals in government.

Anonymous said...

Wanna know how a US$2 m a year prime minister governs? In his own words, "fix the opposition and buy supporters' votes".