As you may have read in the newspapers or seen on television recently, the Church of England is presently embroiled in controversies about how much it pays its employees. Apparently, the Church barely meets the basic living wage in many instances. Quite frankly, I was shocked that, for example, that the cheerful little fellow who opens the Long Car door for me when I attend official functions only receives £6.70p per hour. I confided these concerns to my constant companion, the young man with the wire in his ear. He seemed unmoved and said, “Well, he only opens a door every now and then. How hard can that be? Besides, what does he do when he’s not opening doors? Probably lolls about the place eating free cake”. I confess that I had given little thought to the possibility of Palace multi-tasking. I resolved to find out.
First, I arranged a meeting with my chief accountant, a Mrs Evadne Flint, known, according to my lady wife as “Ice Eyes”.
Mrs Flint was indeed rather off-putting. I must admit to being wary of people who never blink. However, she was able to confirm that not only was my Long Car Door Opener paid a pittance, but that thousands of other Church of England employees, nationwide, were in the same boat. I was staggered and asked Mrs Flint if she thought that was ethical. For the only time during that frosty exchange did Mrs Flint’s tone and demeanor change very slightly. She blinked-just once- and said,“Ethical? What does that mean?” All deeply depressing.
But worse was to come. You may remember that some time ago, I resolved to rescue the poor and needy from the leech-like grip of Wonga, a money-lending company. Well, scanning the various papers prepared for me by Mrs Flint, I discovered that my Church has significant investments in that company!
What would Jesus have done? We all know the answer to that. So, as of next week, I shall personally instruct my financial people to sever all connections with Wonga. Further, I shall recommend in the strongest terms that anyone in the Church’s employ receiving more that £30,000 per annum should donate the difference to what I shall call The Long Car Door Opener Fund, so as to properly reward those so long overlooked and undervalued by my Church. I ran this idea past the young man with the wire in his ear, in the back of the Long Car on our way to The House of Lords the other day. Alarmingly, he choked on the Mars bar he was eating and I was obliged to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on him. Later, back at the Palace, I outlined my plan to my lady wife. She laughed heartily and then began an entirely irrelevant conversation about the early signs of dementia. We shall see, and in the modern parlance, watch this space.