Premiership footballers often make headlines for their off field antics. Add mention of nurses and the words ‘romp,’ ‘video,’ and ‘police inquiry’ seem destined for a Sun headline that has to be read.
As such it was an uplifting if slightly disappointing surprise to read that the millionaire playboys have come together with nurses and caused less scandal than an actress said to the bishop quip.
We have heard years of complaints about petulant and complacent players earning too much. They take home more for a single lazy performance than hardworking nurses/teachers/firemen/etc are paid in a year, or so the lament goes. And now it seems some one is taking action.
That some one is an attractive blonde called Noreena Hertz. But far from another candidate for lurid headlines, Ms Hertz is a well regarded and cerebral campaigner. And like many of the best ideas, hers is a simple one.
May 17th, 100 days from now, will see all signatories give up one day’s pay for a nurses hardship fund.
So far this socially aware campaign has earned a predictable endorsement from well known socialist agitator Gary ‘Che’ Neville. But he is just one of ten players from eight clubs that have already signed up, and they have been joined by a collection of club owners, managers, pundits and even spin doctor Alistair Campbell.
A single 365th of an annual wage is not a great deal of generosity for anyone. Indeed for a London nurse on £30,000 it would require payment of an affordable £82. However, £5million a year equates to around £14,000. So those figures could do a fair bit of good.
The campaign website www.maydayfornurses.com also sets out a wider political message that it hopes perennial bogeyman ‘the Government’ will listen to. And to make Whitehall take notice it calls on fans to support the cause by signing a petition. No cash required.
In truth the campaign is a little weak. It uses some alarmist rhetoric about lives at risk, and some questionable figures about future nurse numbers. It also glosses over experienced nurses earning far better money than most non-graduates, and it ignores that hospital porters and cleaners face far worse financial hardship.
More surprisingly it also fails to raises some serious questions. Why, for example, does the female dominated and better qualified profession of nursing earn less than male dominated policing? Politicians are unlikely to respond to this effort with much vigor.
That is a shame. It is a shame because student nurses in particular do face real hardship. It is also a shame because many give up their training because they can’t pay their rent. And mostly it is a shame because I want more chances to hint at sexual misdeeds in my writing.