Sunny on the workers\’ wages

So Sunny posts this graph about the workers\’ wages.


He then tells us that:

show that right-wing ‘ideas’ on growth only involve attack workers wages

So let\’s just walk out way through this timeline, shall we?

So we see a drop in the workers\’ wages under Callaghan (Labour) then the workers\’ wages start to rise under Thatcher I….and she was a horrible righty, wasn\’t she? And under Thatcher II, then Thatcher III the worker\’s wages are still rising. Then we have even more Bastard Tories in the shape of Major I and Major II and the workers\’ wages just keep on rising.

And when does this top out? Just at the point that Gordon Brown (Labour, you will recall) started writing his own budgets. For they promised to follow the Tory (Bastard Right Wingers whose policies only involve attacks on the workers\’ wages!) for the first couple of years.

The joy of this is of course that Sunny doesn\’t in fact realise all of this. Tories oppress the workers, of course they do. Even his posting a graph which actually detailsthe opposite can\’t make him change his mind on that. The cognitive dissonance associated with finding out that capitalism really does increase wages and social democracy doesn\’t just cannot be accomodated.

7 thoughts on “Sunny on the workers\’ wages”

  1. Sort of like the cognitive dissonance involved with some of the richest, most privileged people on the planet camping near Wall Street and St. Paul’s and loudly declaring that “capitalism doesn’t work”.

    While they eat their McDonalds burgers, sip their Starbucks Frappucinos and tweet their righteous indignation on their iPads.

  2. Those medians presumably don’t take into account those who have no wages? ie it’s a bit like the productivity thing you were talking about last week.

  3. Those medians presumably don’t take into account those who have no wages?

    Well, Sunny’s source doesn’t say: “Source: Resolution Foundation analysis of UK annual survey of hours and earnings (ASHE)”. And, I’ll posit, that it doesn’t matter.

    Okay, clearly, for interpreting “median earnings”, it clearly does matter. But there are two points that suggest to me that this is an irrelevance.

    Firstly, Sunny is using this to claim that the workers are being oppressed by the evil Tories. Not that Tory economic policies have historically tended to increase unemployment (it is my impression that they have but I haven’t even bothered looking up the stats to make this comment.)

    Secondly, Tim’s point, as I see it, is actually nothing about employment, wages or even the accuracy of statistics. It is about the silly (ab)use of a statistic to make a point that the statistic you are using (whether it is right, wrong, misleading or a bare invention) apparently opposes.

    Éoin Clarke is the past master of this – although he is bright enough normally to draw his own graphs to somewhat obscure his mendacity.

  4. @ Surreptitious Evil
    The Attlee government defined “full employment” as Unemployment of 2% (subsequently described as “frictional unemployment” of people moving between jobs, especially but not only if they were seasonal jobs) and for most of the 1950s the Conmservative government presided over unemployment of *less than* 2%, better than the target Labour never reached. I do not recall any Labour government ever seeing unemployment drop below 2% because their policies to boost the share of GDP taken by wages have the inevitable corollary of raising unemployment. Labour’s policies benefit unionised labour in closed shops at the expense of the unskilled and the unemployed.
    P.S. If anyone fails to see the parallel between remuneration committees composed of non-executive directors who are executive directors elsewhere and closed shops, they aren’t looking very hard.

  5. Not really the point, John. Matthew’s argument added “those who have no wages” – therefore my comment about the unemployed.

    But, as I don’t recall the Atlee government and can’t seem to get an easy source of stats before 1971 ( is great for what is happening now but seems to hide historical data):

    Heath – Up during, slightly up by end.

    Thatcher – Massively up during, significantly up by end.

    Major – Massively up during, insignificantly down by end. But trending heavily down – for which Blair and Bruin took the credit (and then more and more credit, which they frittered away.)

    Cameron – so far – up a little bit but not looking good.

    I’m not saying this is wrong, evil or even unnecessary. Painful, yes.

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