Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Gravy Suckers

As our government steadily but inevitably implodes upon itself the whole scandal about MP's expenses prompts a few questions.

The thing that has irked the population more than anything I suspect is that not a single MP has managed to come up with a decent defence of their expense claims. There have been two common defences. The first is to claim it was a simple oversight or accounting error. This would be plausible in a few cases but when this lack of attention to detail is exhibited by just about every MP, you start to think this is simply a collective excuse that they're all trotting out. If we were to believe they all made the same simple accounting errors then this displays a collective incompetence on a grand scale that simply illustrates they're incapable of the most simple of tasks and don't deserve to be employed in any position of authority.

The second defence/excuse is to say that it was "within the rules." This is patently untrue because the rules states that expenses should be incurred as part of being an MP. Having your garden landscaped which has been a frequent expense claim is not an occupational expense of being an MP however lax you make the rules.

The other excuse is to claim they're terribly overworked and equally terribly underpaid as they only take a annual salary of about £64,000. Based on average salaries, this places them in the top 9% of earners in the UK. This argument simply doesn't stand up to even the simplest of analysis. If I were an MP and felt as woefully underpaid, overworked and unappreciated as this lot do then I'd probably give it up and go and find another job where my brilliance was appreciated but this lot, despite claiming that they lead such a financially perilous existence seem strangely determined to hang on to their jobs. The reality is a great many of them could not hope to draw a wage like this (plus expenses) in the private sector as most of them have precious little experience of working in the real world.

None of them have been prepared to admit that being an MP is a pretty cushy existence. You get to run a small business with a turnover of around £250,000 per year that is pretty much immune from the scrutiny of the taxman. You can employ members of your own family in nominal jobs. You have various ways of collecting large sums of money from the public purse without having to provide any proof of actually how that money is spent. There is an extremely generous pension scheme that is unheard of in the private sector and if you do lose your job (effectively sacked because your electorate don't think you're up to it) there is a generous redundancy package.

MPs also like to proselytise about how much work they do and how essential their duties are. The reality is that over the last month, while Parliament has been mired in this scandal, precious little real work has been done. Most MPs are avoiding their constituents and the media like the plague for fear of being asked awkward questions. Party leaders have spent all their time defending the actions of their MPs or in the case of Gordon Brown, feigning interest in the health of reality show contestants in a desperate attempt to appear in touch with the public.

It's been a gravy train for too long and MPs have the gravy boat wedged firmly in their mouths and they'll keep sucking it for as long as they can get away with it.

1 comment:

sabrina said...

You know i simply can't understand why it is soo difficult for these buggers to be honest??!! I mean do they all have to take some oath or something where they swear to be dishonest bastards????!!!