Fat cats in the public’s eye – what is fairness?

Fairness was catapaulted to the top of the agenda in the last General Election campaign. Since then the debate is on – what is fairness in our society?

“It’s not fair!” announces the youngest child with all the authority of a top judge. Where did the child learn this judicial skill?

In 2010 Wayne Rooney negotiated to be paid £200,000 per week after threatening to leave Manchester United. In Jan 2011 Kenny Miller, another footballer, was reported to be paid £50,000/week in Turkey. Wayne Roony earns £10.4m annually while an NHS consultant earns on average about £112,000 p.a.

The reason why the public don’t call footballers fat cats is because they see Rooney’s skill week by week. The public accepts that the television media and the industry it spawns brings in enough revenue to pay entertainers such wages. Just like tabloid journalism, the public want it and pay for it.

However the public don’t see the work of doctors, surgeons, chief executives and high earning ‘fat cats’ as they are called. Yet like the three year old child they feel qualified enough to give their judgement.

An appeal for fairness is an appeal for justice. Justice is good, but God reminds us that we need mercy along with justice Psalm 89:14. “He shall have judgment without mercy who has shown no mercy; and mercy triumphs over judgment” James 2:13.

The Gospel of God’s grace teaches humility – that we don’t deserve the good things we get. This does not sit easily in a society demanding its rights. For every right I have, there is a corresponding responsibility – from someone else – and vice versa. Christianity turns the subject round and looks at our responsibilities to love our neighbour as ourselves – to give fair due to our neighbour out of genuine love to them. God will judge us according to what spirit we manifest – “as a man thinks in his heart so is he” Pro 23:7.

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