It may be an unpopular thing to say at a time when so many are being squeezed so much, but I think MPs should be paid more.
There, I said it, lynch me… Or, preferably, don’t and let me explain.
MP’s are paid comparatively little for the job they do; £65,738. Yes, more than most, but still less than you might think for professionals charged with running the country and with the cost of living in London (at least part of the time) to boot. Is it any wonder MPs were caught up in the expenses scandal of 2009 when they pay was less than that of GPs, Headmasters, some lawyers and plenty from the business world? The adage; you get what you pay for, could not apply more strongly than with our politicians.
And the overall cost is really quite small. In a country which spends by the billions, less than £43m for our elected representatives could seem a wee bit on the cheap side. Throw in the wake of the expenses scandal, and suddenly everything was too much; 1st class rail? Why should they get that on expenses when the rest of us have to put up with the cheap seats? It’s not like they’ve got matters of importance to be working on is it? And the press don’t help in this regard either. I can’t help but remember my local MP recount the story of how he got his staff to diligently list each and every purchase made at the public’s expense, only to have the media bash him for buying a washing up bowl (bought to wash mugs in his office sink). End result; he’s never listing anything he doesn’t have to again. The media – one – transparency – nil…
Rather than the bashing, let’s agee to expect more from our politicians. They shouldn’t be occupying second jobs, should have to list each and every thing they buy with public funds and should be more accountable to the people who elect them (recall elections anyone?). In return, we pay them a proper salary, accept they kinda need 1st class rail travel* and forgive the seemingly silly things they may need for their office – whilst in turn ensuring we set proper limits as to where it can go (trouser presses = no).
Otherwise we’ll be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, have to put up with 2nd class politicians and all because we wanted them to suffer the tiniest fraction of what we’re suffering too.
* I’ve never understood why we can’t simply get all MPs free railcards to travel on any train at anytime? Not only can this be used to commute to and from constituencies, but I for one wouldn’t object to MPs being able to – no, encouraged to travel the country via train. They might come to appreciate some of the concerns of commuters a bit more and see some more of the country outside of Westminster.