Good morning, it's Paul here!

Please see the header above, for the companies I intend writing about today.

I might do a preamble later, about the US markets recovering. Or possibly tomorrow, we'll see.

Last night's TV programme which attempted to demonise Vice Chancellors at Universities struck me as being a damp squib. Yes, some of them are probably overpaid, but comparing salaries with that of the Prime Minister is complete nonsense, and lazy journalism. Directors of listed companies deserve far more scrutiny over their bloated remuneration, and would have made a much better TV show.

As for the so-called scandal of the university heads' expense accounts, I was scratching my head to understand what the problem is? They have to travel abroad for various reasons, and flying business class on a long haul flight, and staying in a 5 star hotel, seems perfectly reasonable to me, given that these are the heads of quite big organisations. The grand total from almost 200 universities, was £8m p.a. spend - completely immaterial relative to the further education budget.

I've heard stories of horrendous greed on expense accounts at listed companies, even very small ones. It's quite common for company Directors to use their expense accounts freely, to fund really lavish overseas trips, with first class travel, and all the trimmings. Often on a largely spurious pretext. What a pity we shareholders can't file Freedom of Information requests on the expense accounts of listed company Directors. If we could, I bet we'd discover some real horrors, not the spurious horrors that last night's TV programme presented. It's always worth asking Directors what class they fly, and watch them squirm!

Another disappointment, was that all the students who were asked for a reaction simply provided the faux outrage that they realised they were expected to give. Not a single one gave the correct answer - which is that they would need more information and context to form an informed judgement on whether the cost of an overseas trip by the Vice Chancellor was justified. 

Although maybe such replies ended up on the floor of the editing suite? Years ago, I took part in 2 documentaries, and discovered that TV really is all down to the edit. If they like you, then the TV people will edit your pieces sympathetically. If they're trying to demonise you, then the whole thing is edited to…

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