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Walsh gets pay hike as BA poised to report profit

BA chief executive to get 12% pay rise and £1.65m bonus.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh will get a 12 per cent pay rise and a ₤1.65m bonus when he closes the merger deal with Spain's Iberia, according to merger documents published on Wednesday.

The British carrier may report its first profit in two years on Friday. Net income may reach ₤159 million pounds for the three months ended September 30 from a year earlier loss, according to the average estimate of five analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

The last time the airline reported a profit was in August 2008.

From next year British Airways' earnings will be reported as part of the merged entity International Consolidated Airlines Group in euros.

Walsh will be paid a salary of ₤825,000 per year when he becomes the chief executive of International Consolidated Airlines Group.

The salary of chief financial officer Keith Williams will rise by 43 per cent to ₤630,000 per year with a maximum bonus of ₤954,000.

The salaries and bonuses were comparable with that of FTSE 100 executives, BA said.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.