Croydon chief on £155,000 salary writes poem on the evils of money
ONE of Croydon Council's top earners has had a poem published in which he writes: "I've seen the future, I can't afford it."
Finance chief Nathan Elvery earned £155,398 in his role as executive director of resources and customer services last financial year.
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And that has led to criticism of his ditty, which bemoans money as being "the root of all evil".
Poetry In commotion
EVERY night before I rest my head, see those dollar bills go swirling round my bed
You load 16 tons, and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt
I’ve seen the future, I can’t afford it. Tell me the truth sir, someone just bought it
(If you drive a car, car) – I’ll tax the street; (If you try to sit, sit) – I’ll tax your seat. (If you get too cold, cold) – I’ll tax the heat; (If you take a walk, walk) – I’ll tax your feet
Now my advice for those who die, (taxman) declare the pennies on your eyes (taxman) ‘cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it, Money for nothin’ and chicks for free
Money, you’ve got lots of friends. Crowding round the door. When you’re going, spending ends. They don’t come no more
Money, get away. Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay. Money, it’s a gas. Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
I know they’re stolen but don’t feel bad. I take that money, buy you things you never had. But outside of that, I’ve no use for dough.
It’s the root of all evil, of strife and upheaval.
You’ve got the brawn, I’ve got the brains. Let’s make lots of money. I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.
But I’m certain, honey, that life would be sunny with plenty of money and you.
She works hard for the money so hard for it honey she works hard for the money so you better treat her right.
Money makes the world go around ... the world go around ... world go around. Money makes the world go around of that we both are sure.
It has been published in the Municipal Journal, a magazine for local authorities.
Mr Elvery, who is also one of the council's two deputy chief executives, says the poem is intended as his take on the need to cut the country's budget deficit.
In it he quotes lyrics from songs about money, including hits by Dire Straits, The Pet Shop Boys and Pink Floyd.
Quoting the Beatles' Taxman, he writes: "(If you drive a car, car) I'll tax the street; (if you try to sit, sit) – I'll tax your seat."
He then quotes American crooner Tony Bennett's song With Plenty of Money and You, reflecting that cash is "the root of all evil, of strife and upheaval".
Mr Elvery insists the poem should not be misinterpreted, but it has come under attack from Matthew Elliot, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance.
He said: "This is a ridiculous poem in itself, but coming from a man with such a massive salary it is utterly laughable.
"Taxpayers in his area know very well that money is important, because they feel the pain every time the council squeezes more out of them."
Speaking about the poem, which is part of the Municipal Journal's regular Money Matters feature, Mr Elvery said it was simply an attempt to make a boring subject more interesting.
He explained: "Most of the people reading the Municipal Journal will be in local government or the public sector.
"They will understand the context.
"It's not designed to be misinterpreted, but a thought-provoking commentary written in a slightly different way which makes a dull subject a bit more interesting.
"I have got quite a lot of feedback from colleagues and from people who read Money Matters, who've said it's a really interesting synopsis of the problems the public sector faces.
"Its main message is that, given the Government's need to cut the deficit, it's an extremely difficult time for the public sector."
What do you think of the poem and Mr Elvery's wage? Let us know by writing to Letters, 3rd Floor, Jessop House, 100 Tamworth Road, Croydon, CR0 1XX or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org