If in doubt, change the subject, is John Healey's motto. As the Minister for Local Government, he claims that his aim is to stop overgenerous remuneration packages in the public sector. Clearly, he hasn't been entirely paying attention to the policies his Government have been promoting since 1997.
It is entirely accurate to suggest that pay rates at the top end have gone up rather faster than inflation, and the Conservatives have been quick to point this out - no hypocrisy there, obviously. However, the pressure to make the public sector more businesslike in its approach, and the devolvement of responsibility in terms of education budgets mean that you need to offer remuneration packages that reflect that. It is, after all, supposed to be a free market.
And yes, there are benefits to being in the public sector - a comparatively generous pension scheme and relative job security - but those benefits are not as obvious as they once were. Look at Sir Fred Goodwin's pension arrangements or, for that matter, the average director of a FTSE100 company. As for job security, when politicians opt to pass the buck rather than take responsibility, it's the official who is thrown to the media wolves. What price job security then?
It is entirely right that the public sector seeks value for money, and that remuneration packages factor in some of the benefits inherent in public sector employment. However, when those calls come from the same people who are adamant that details of their own remuneration packages are a private matter, it's time to keep up the attack on their hypocrisy and evasion.