Who’d want to be an MP ?
Not had much chance to blog anything last couple of days (busy time at my school – and also getting used to leaving the house at 6.45 again sort of saps your strength at the other end of the day) I had been intending to blog on David Cameron’s July speech regarding Autism (see my earlier blog Still no response to David Cameron on Autism, Disability ),( and hopefully still will) – however he’s had a rather more high profile speech since then: Cameron vows to cut ministers’ pay and end subsidised food and drink so here’s a quicky :
Although I’d have thought that the key point of this speech was rather more about ‘fessing up to the fact that the Tory’s intend to make cuts to public spending; it is interesting that the Guardian (amongst others) have fixed on to his proposals to cut pay for ministers and end subsidies on food and drink.
Clearly it’s an attempt by David Cameron to wring a little support out of the public on the issue of the ‘expenses scandal’. I’m not impressed though. David tells us that : “far from politicians being exempt from the age of austerity, they must show leadership” – ( neatly changing the subject a propos of nothing in the middle of the sentence by the way – but lets not be pedantic. ) With all due respect David Cameron is a man who can don his metaphorical hair shirt and talk about austerity with relative impunity – he is after all, a very wealthy fella !
His comments reminded me though of a man I spoke to several months back when the expenses furore was at it’s height. He was a politican. A local one. A conservative, holding an executive position in a local authority. I don’t particularly share his politics, but he’s a good man – honest and approachable and professional in his approach to dealings with everyone – whether they support him or not. I asked him at one point whether he’d ever considered running for parliament. I was surprised at his answer.
He said he had run for parliament twice, narrowly losing each time, whilst increasing his party’s share of the vote. He was however not intending to do so again. Why ? I wondered. Surely third time lucky would be worth a shot.
He had his reasons though. He explained that he had his own business, and whilst it did not make him rich he felt it made him comfortable. He was not, he said “independently wealthy”, and in the current climate he felt that he could not afford the inevitable pay cut which he would need to take if he entered parliament.
That’s really sad. A Conservative politician with his own successful business who can’t afford to enter parliament. So I wonder whether if David Cameron increases the canteen costs there’ll be many lower paid people – factory workers or nurses for example – going into parliament ?
Or will it be more likely that we’ll reach a stage where the only people who want to go into parliament will be people rich enough to be able to afford it. Old Etonians perhaps – you know, like the ones that make up much David Cameron’s shadow cabinet.
I believe that representing a constituency in parliament should be one of the highest honours and privileges in the land, and that it should be remunerated accordingly with every effort made to facilitate the work of members. Every MP whatever their party has been selected by the people and entrusted with a great responsibility which they should discharge with honour and honesty, but for which they should also be rewarded adequately.
Bottom line – our MP’s must value the voters, but the voters should also value the MPs.
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