MP pay is getting lots of attention and anger at the moment. Systemically this is something you are allowed to be angry about – a sanctioned pressure valve. Don’t fall for it. You can almost tell it’s not that great an ethical issue precisely because it gets so much attention – Oh how we hate them all! Oh, how dreadful they are! It’s a populist wave that is allowed because attacking politics generally empowers the corporate elite and makes everyone feel smug all round.
But even personal leeching on behalf of MPs doesn’t have much to do with their actual pay. Remember, it was ludicrous expenses that brought all that hatred on them before. Yet even Duck Island etc. were trivial compared to the banking rip-offs that came to light at (curiously) the same time via a very pro banking paper (Telegraph)
The facts on MPs salary are this: Without expenses they would earn less than many London based Deputy Heads Of Schools, and far less than GPs in the capital. It’s a professional role, if it’s not properly paid it will become even more a preserve of the rich.
The body reporting back on the matter was set up as independent, I haven’t read their report in full and don’t know how they deal with add-ons to basic salary, the far bigger issue, but there’s nothing about the basics which is outlandish. Still, it isn’t a good time to give an increase, and MPs know that.
Below are some simple proposals from the top of the head. They would probably need some tinkering, but in principle are so simple that they won’t get considered for a minute. “Simple” means less distractionist froth in this case.
1) Pay MPs a basic level around that of a Deputy Head in London, £80k may be a ballpark figure.
2) Pension contributions should be average compared to general professional roles.
3) A maximum of one paid directorship per MP. Don’t like it? Tough. Spend more time on your constituents instead. Or quit.
4) A modest tiered housing allowance towards London accommodation, rising slightly the further away one gets. There’s no reason why much of the costs shouldn’t come from salary, but £200 a week really wouldn’t be out of whack as contribution towards London rents (which are massively inflated via London property being a lead source of money laundering for global crime). Of course, all MPs receiving state aid for housing now and in the future should shut up when whipping up hatred against Housing Benefit claimants (most of whom are in work as well).
5) Free first class rail travel pass.
6) No other payment whatsoever for MP duties, on or off the premises of the House Of Commons. All sale of influence connected to the role to be a criminal offence.
7) Office staff to be paid separately, not from expenses, and sourced via a professional pool not “on the nod”. Office staff is a classic nepotism opportunity. For example sponger, and probable psychopath Ian Duncan Smith had his wife paid as a “Diary Secretary” even though it was hard to ascertain that she did much for it.
8) No other expenses. At all (they can pay for your own taxis on that money, or walk/cycle/use public transport like the rest of us).
As a general point, the idea that MPs “need” to make money outside of Parliament to be part of “the real world” is patronising garbage – MPs should be immersed in the “real world” as a matter of course.
To those who say that MPs should be on average or minimum wage: Well…it won’t happen and, as I said, it would just make it a profession for the already wealthy. But the idea that each MP should go for a protracted period of time (not just a week or 2, which anyone can manage) during each term, living at a state benefit level is a very good one. There’s no reason it couldn’t or shouldn’t be in the terms and conditions. They’d call it a “gimmick” because they’d be scared. In fact it would be a more accurate taste of the “real world” than most of the nonsense they lecture us about with regard to their “need” to be a “consultant” to some dodgy firm or other.
So what isn’t being discussed, what does this issue act as a smokescreen for?
Exhibit A: Open corruption, with the chief Tory fundraiser having been caught soliciting massive bribes for policy, but no suitable investigation into what policies were and are so influenced.
When a major new policy or contract is announced, the first questions from any “journalist” or “opposition” politician worthy of the name should be “Who bribed? Who lobbied? Which politicians have a direct interest?” This never happens.
Last weeks announcement that those in work wouldn’t be able to claim benefits for a week if they lost work is a boon to the “Payday” loan /leach industry.
The policy is sold via the ongoing toxic hatred against claimants, but those making a claim for unemployment benefit are exactly those who have been in work, paying towards benefits, and now are at a point where they need and deserve them most.
Tories and the lapdog press are attacking those playing by the rules and paying into the system. The attack on “entitlement” is being taken to those most rightfully entitled for a reason – this is what psychopaths and deluded fanatics do : Turn truth on it’s head and present the wanton distortion as indisputable fact. Do you swallow a word of it?
The boss of Wonga gave £800,000 to the Conservative Party. There was meant to be a clampdown by now. Remember that? They had 6 weeks to sort it out or something. Hasn’t happened. They assumed you’d forget. Rates are going up. The same lies are trotted out about the short-term nature of the loans making the APR figure of 1000s % “misleading”. In fact, “roll over” protraction of loans via hard sell is an industry standard and part of the business model.
The media don’t probe this very much. They are either stupid or they think you are too stupid.
MP sell influence, the going rate being £1k to £7k per day according to recent stings. Of course, it’s probably only a minority who are rotten apples, though it’s a common enough pattern in recent times (horsemeat, bank fraud, child abuse) that “isolated cases” turn into “small minorities” before lo and behold – it all turns out to be pretty rife.
Bankers laugh their heads off as we continue to spoon out money to them while the poor get blamed. Mervyn King, about to be replaced at the head of The Bank Of England by a Goldman Sachs operative, outlined that Osborne and Cameron “pleaded” for the banks to have an easier time from regulators. The City Of London gives the Tory party about 50% of it’s funding. Disabled and other vulnerable people, malnourished children, soldiers with PSTD…they don’t fund the Tories. No pleading for them. No waiting till 2019 for the new systems to be in place. They can go to the wall or kill themselves.
MP pay shouldn’t be an issue. They could and should have sorted it out reasonably in a matter of weeks, rather than keep the whole spectacle going for months. Next time some columnist or phone in show is going round and round the houses on it, with endless anger being siphoned into the issue, ask yourself (and them if you have the chance) where the anger isn’t being channelled.
Ask why a simple financial transaction tax on bank derivatives sales still not widely discussed, it’s actually opposed by the banker funded Conservative Party.
If there can be an independent body reporting on MP pay, why there is no independent body to root out corrupt influence into policy nearly 18 months after they were caught selling such influence?
Why was a modest proposal for a register of corporate lobbyists dropped from The Queen’s Speech? It may come back in now in the light of recent stings, but who lobbied for it to vanish in the first place, and who bribed?
What happened to the “recall mechanism” for voters to hoof out blatantly corrupt and under performing MPs?
The last 2 woeful failures stand after 3 years of a “reforming” government.
Corporations have our legislators over a barrel via personal and party funding and other pressures.
MPs should work for us, and we should pay them properly to do so, while doing all we can to stop them working for unelected corporations. While policy is sold on the basis of bribes, with nothing of meaning done about it, we don’t have a democracy worthy of the name, regardless of how much we pay MPs.