Aasof on Fat Cats


This week on Facebook: The collapse of the company Thomas Cook raised the spectre of fat-cats¹. Government folly in its fiscal policy matters has always served the interests of the Fat Cats and which, despite any disingenuous political protests², results in yet another burden on the taxpayer. The collapse of Thomas Cook led to its staff, based in the UK, losing their jobs with the troubled operator.

In the 19th century, Honoré Daumier, the great French caricaturist, was thrown into prison for his depiction of  King Louis-Philippe as Gargantua.  And in 1835, when the king re-established censorship, which had been temporarily suspended, it was not for print but rather for caricature (“censorship of the crayon”) on the ground that whereas “a pamphlet is no more than a violation of opinion, a caricature amounts to an act of violence.” (included urls not in original.) Why Are Political Cartoons Incendiary?

Frank Richardson Kent (1877-1958) was a longtime political pundit on the Baltimore (MD) Sun, writing a syndicated column titled “The Great Game of Politics.” Kent popularised the term “fat cat” (sometimes given as “fat-cat” or “fatcat”) in a 1925 column, a June 1928 American Mercury article titled Fat Cats and Free Rides³, and in his 1928 book Political Behaviour.

It ought perhaps to be explained that Fat Cat is the significant and revealing name in political circles for the sleek, rich fellows who enter politics for one reason or another and depend for their standing and success upon the liberality with which they shell out the dollars. Fat Cat (Fatcat)
Commenting on George Orwell’s essay (Politics and the English Language) Peter Oborne may well be right about political narcissism and certainly the term is not just applied to politicians, it has changed more than just political writing. However, regardless of narcissism, most would gladly join the ranks of Fat Cats by writing blogs that created the financial incentive that the social-media now provides.
A new method of expression has come into existence. The new method of expression has become the dominant form in blogs and social media. The New Language Of Political Narcissism (url*):

1. Greed of the Thomas Cook fat cats: Bosses at Thomas Cook pocketed a £47million pay bonanza as the firm headed for the rocks. Last night, after the travel operator was dramatically declared bankrupt, furious customers demanded executives hand back some of their ‘rewards for failure’.

2. Fat Cat Friday 2019 — CIPD calls for action on high pay and RemCo reform: Friday 4 January 2019 is “Fat Cat” Friday. In just three working days, the UK’s top bosses make more than a typical full-time worker will earn in the entire year, according to calculations from independent think tank the High Pay Centre and the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.

3. Thomas Cook directors facing probe over fat cat pay deals: Business secretary Andrea Leadsom has asked the official receiver, which oversees liquidations, to look at whether the actions of executives “caused detriment to creditors or to the pension schemes”. Executives have been paid more than £20 million over the last five years during which the share price collapsed as analysts expressed concerns over the firm’s future.

4. Top Dogs and Fat Cats: Top pay has risen much faster than average levels of pay in the last twenty years. This is in part the consequence of globalisation and developments in communications technology, but it may also be a result of rigged markets and ‘crony capitalism’.

5. On Fat Cat Day, a short history of why the rich keep getting richer – and what can be done about it: I’m sure Fat Cat Day moves closer to New Year every passing year. Is it a trick of perception, or a consequence of galloping executive pay? The High Pay Centre reported in advance of last November’s Living Wage Week that FTSE 100 companies saw chief executive remuneration reach an average of £4m a year, while 61 of the very same firms were not even accredited Living Wage employers.


Referenced Articles Books & Definitions:

  • A bold text subscript above and preceding a title below (¹·²·³), refers to a book, pdf, podcast, video, slide show and a download url that is usually free.
  • Brackets containing a number e.g. (1) reference a particular included article (1-5).
  • A link (url), which usually includes the title, are to an included source.
  • The intended context of words, idioms, phrases, have their links in italics.
  • A long read url* (when used below) is followed by a superscript asterisk.
  • Occasionally Open University (OU) free courses are cited.
  • JSTOR lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online.

¹The Art of the Fat Cat (url): A century and a half of soaking the rich—with ink.

²Top British firms named and shamed on PM’s fat cat pay list (url*): Companies on the register include fashion label Burberry, broadcaster Sky, retailer Sports Direct and Sir Martin Sorrell’s advertising company WPP. Others on the list include banking giant HSBC, supermarket Morrisons, BT, estate agent Foxtons, the AA and Mothercare.

³Fat Cats and Free Rides (url/pdf): Regardless of party, they are basically all alike, with a viewpoint wholly disassociated from issues, policies, personalities or principles, and severely concentrated on practicalities. Their idioms and ideas, which are always essentially the same, are not clearly comprehended by those who watch politics from the outside and to whom it is not a means of livelihood—in other words, the non-professionals.

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This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

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The Real Economy

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