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Who served Britain best? Margaret Thatcher or Baroness “the pig” Ashton?

A constant theme of this site is that, in the last 30 or so years, there has been a massive change in the attitudes and rewards of those in power over us – business bosses, bankers, politicians, bureaucrats and eurocrats. Whereas many in the last generation may have genuinely tried to serve their companies or their country for quite modest rewards, today’s leaders only seem interested in clinging to their positions in power in order to massively enrich themselves at our expense, while preaching austerity and restraint to the rest of us.

In business, in the 1980s FTSE100 bosses were earning round 12 times the average salary. By 2012 this had shot up to 185 times, with bankers earning sometimes 300 to 400 times the average salary.

But perhaps no two people reveal the difference between the last and the present generation of the elites than Baroness “the pig” Ashton and Margaret Thatcher. After a life of holding various unelected, well-paid, well-pensioned public-sector positions, the fragrant Lady Ashton was pushed by Britain’s worst ever PM, Gordon “liar” Brown, to become the first head of the EU’s diplomatic service. She will hold this post for 5 years at an annual salary of around  £260,000 – about the same as the US president, around twice the £142,500 a British PM gets and over twice the £124,000 her counterpart, the US Secretary of State. Moreover, she has chosen to pay the extremely low EU taxes rather than UK taxes, thus saving herself around £40,000 a year.

When Ashton was appointed to her eye-wateringly lucrative position, one journalist wrote: “Never elected by anyone, anywhere, totally unqualified for almost every job she has done, she has risen to her current position presumably through a combination of down-the-line Stalinist political correctness and the fact that she has the charisma of a caravan site on the Isle of Sheppey.” According to The Guardian, an anonymous Whitehall source said: “Cathy just got lucky…The appointment of her and Herman Van Rompuy was a complete disgrace. They are no more than garden gnomes”.

When she leaves her EU job next year, Ashton will get a “transitional payment” of up to £464,000 payable over 3 years to ease her difficult transition off the gilded EU gravy train. In addition, she will be entitled to a pension of over £60,000 a year to add to all the other generous public-sector pensions she has accumulated in Britain.

Margaret Thatcher, on the other hand, was in Parliament for over 30 years and served as PM for more than 11 years winning a record-breaking (at the time) three election victories.  All in all, Thatcher served about six times longer than Baroness Ashton’s brief 5 years on the Brussels golden gravy train. For her 30 plus years, Thatcher received a pension of probably around £50,000 a year.

You couldn’t make it up.

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