Alot of people have emailed me asking when I will be commenting on the expenses debarcle and the truth is the reason why you haven’t heard much from me is because 1) Im retired now (lol) 2) Its the exam period and 3) Im pretty neutral on the issue. Don’t get me wrong I think some of the things that have been claimed back are just bare cheek, e.g porn videos and plug holes, having said this I am loathed to admit I actually sympathise with the MP’s as a whole. Now I’m not condoning the behaviour of some. MP’s from all parties have indeed abused the system, however the system as it stands is unfair. Currently MP’s recieve £64,000 a year and I believe Lord Foulkes who was interviewed yesterday on the BBC hit the nail on the head. When berated, in typcial ‘holier than thou’ BBC fashion, for the expenses debarcle he point blank asked his interviewer “How much are you paid?!” To which she, to my suprise, replied £92,000. A relatively minor broadcaster is paid £92,000 for coming in to an office, sitting on a cushy chair, interviewing fascinating and important individuals and reading from a script. (Needless to say I’m thinking of a career change!)
MP’s by contrast get paid pittance and have to run both a constituency and a Westminster office as well as two homes. They do incurr huge expense in doing so and I believe that they have used the expenses system as a way to get as much as they can because quite simply they deserve it. MP’s as far as I am concerned have one of the toughest jobs in the country. Some are held unfairly with as much contempt as paedophiles or rapists by the public, they have to work lengthy hours and often have to criss cross the country to make official visits or complete constituency work. Anyone who has spoken publicly before will know what a daunting and draining experience it can be so as far as I am concerned to be an MP youve got to be a tough kind of person! But I think perhaps the worst part of an MP’s job is the lack of security. An MP can get in at one election and through no fault of their own be booted out at the next. You have no security as an MP and thus your earnings during that period will be realtively modest.
Naturally such a demanding and unstable job incurrs much cost not just financial but physical and mental. I think in light of recent events the public have a right to be angry and indeed some claims from some individuals are ludacris. But as far as I am concerned this situation is a reminder if we needed it of how flawed this system is. The system is a shambles and we can see just how easily it can be ‘exploited’. To get to the root of this problem you need to scrap it. I believe the solution to this is to raise MP’s salaries to £100,000 or a figure close to that amount, which is still modest compared to equally demanding professions. This, as far as I am concerned, negates the need for an expenses system. Of course you’ll have the public and the press up in arms in doing so, because theres nothing they love more than a good lynching session, but as a certain Tory once said ‘Dare to be unpopular’. In the short term this will create a furore (can it really get any worse?) but in the long term it will calm down and ensure we never have to deal with such issues in the future. Either way Lord Foulkes? Legend.