Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's a hard luck life ...

It turns out that anti-terrorist laws are being used to snoop on ordinary members of the public suspected of petty offences. People have been bugged and spied upon for breaching the smoking ban to housing benefit fraud to playing music loudly. If only those same laws had been used on the snout trough-ing members of government who have been lavishly spending the public purse on nannies, private accommodation and other perks.

Just for laughs, whilst asking the country to show restraint in wage rises, a group of London MPs have been awarded inflation busting increases. There is even talk of a 40% pay rise for MPs to make up for some of their perks being taken away. Until that arrives, the poor loves have been told that they now have to buy their own TVs and kitchen furniture out of their £60K+ p.a. salary. How will they cope?

It shouldn't be forgotten that in the past MPs asked for everyone to show restraint and set the example by awarding themselves low wage increases. Of course, we all suspected that they were racking up hidden perks. At least we now know just how much they've been coining it.

So should they get huge rises? Well in my opinion they should not only get pay rises pegged to the CPI but their lavish expenses should go. I know that Andrew Neil (from "This Week") doesn't believe that £60K+ is much money, but most people think it's a fortune.


Doug Clinton said...

My pet hate is MPs who have other jobs on the side. I think that for every pound they earn on another job, one pound should be deducted from their MP's salary.

swardley said...

Obviously one of the issues raised is that being an MP is a temporary role and that we wish to attract the best as MPs. Of course, few people have any guarantee of employment and £60K+ is a highly attractive salary.

The biggest obstacle to getting the best into Government is almost certainly the lack of opportunity. We have appalling social mobility in the UK, and many of our best can be found doing menial low paid jobs up and down the country.

That said, I don't see why MPs shouldn't be allowed to hold other jobs as long as that additional work does not impact their role as an MP or raises any conflict of interests. We should apply the same rules as we apply to soldiers, civil servants and members of the emergency services.

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