Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Who would want to be an MP now?
The expenses row seems to go from strength to strength as the general public find out what some of us have known for a while, the Westminster expenses system is rotten to it's core.
Complaining about it (and believe me, PPC's have been!) has got nowhere, the MP's have simply failed to recognise that the system they settled for in 2001 is wide open to accusations of corruption and abuse.
The essential problem is that most MP's believe they 'should' be being paid a lot more than £64,000. Way back in the mists of time the House agreed to link Members pay to a civil service grade to avoid unseemly accusations of gravy train activity; but then every time the civil service review board recommended a pay rise it was politically inconvenient, so MP's voted against.
Many MP's now privately believe they would be earning nearer £100,000 - and the allowances have become a convenient way to make up the difference.
It's dishonest, if MP's believe thay are worth £100,000 then they should stand up and defend it openly, not hide behind expenses and hope to get away with misleading the public.
Now the whole lot of them are tarred. I went to a wedding this weekend and all anyone said was 'I bet you are looking forward to getting a place in the trough' - and who can blame them for thinking this?
I cannot see any way that this discredited House of Parliament can sort this out and restore public trust. We need an new election, and freash mandates for every MP and then the new Parliament needs a bonfire of the expenses, and not just the housing costs - MP's have appointed themselves a huge staffing liability with some MP's having four or five members of tax paid staff -this is madness, when several MP's manage with one good PA.
It's all got to go, the communications allowance, the office costs allowance, the postage allowance, the IT allowance, the first-class travel, the central London parking costs paid for, the curtains and the CD holders.
Only by proving value for money for itself can any future Government call on the rest of the civil service and public sector to take care of our money.