After doing my own 5km static jog for charity, I nominated my flatmate to do the same today. When she came to donate her £5 to Virgin Giving, we were amazed to find a 15-minute queue to access the payment page on the website. Not only does this display the huge power of social media when it is put to good use, it also shows the generosity people are trying to exude during this crisis.
At a time of immense financial uncertainty for the majority of the UK population, millionaire football players on £150,000 a week have begrudgingly agreed to donate an undisclosed – no doubt tiny – percentage of their salaries to NHS charities too. The generous gentlemen only agreed to this after significant public pressure and former England captain, Wayne Rooney, whined in his newspaper column about players being victimised, expecting us to side with him. Does he think we will sympathise with their reluctance to share their excessive wealth with a struggling health system that is working overtime to keep us all safe and get our lives back to normal as quick as possible? Every other worker in both Spain and UK who is surplus to requirements has been laid-off for the foreseeable future and forced to accept significant pay cuts, so why shouldn’t footballers do the same? They haven’t ‘worked’ for over a month now and clubs are dismissing other non-playing staff to continue paying the lucrative salaries of their star signings.
Perhaps he is right and we are victimising these overpaid buffoons. As there is almost complete wage transparency in the English Premier League, they are an easy target and have been picked on first. But this is just one example of a glaringly obvious problem. This week it was also reported that EasyJet shareholders were to receive their part of a £174 million payout, despite the airline asking for government support to keep it from falling into bankruptcy. It is grossly unfair that the mega-rich are being allowed to cash in at the taxpayer’s expense, at a time when everyone else is worried about their livelihoods. What is more, the typically worse paid members of our workforce are those who are risking their own lives and those of their family members, because of increased exposure to the disease. They are putting themselves in danger and still working without tax breaks or special treatment for the greater good of society. The brave and selfless efforts of these front-line workers should be reminding us that now is definitely not a time to be selfish.