It is not surprising that the Boy-King of the Conservative Party has distanced himself from Sir Patrick Cormack, the large and unimpressive Conservative MP who has announced that for MPs to do their jobs properly they ought to be paid £130,000. Presumably, even he would not suggest that there should be expenses on top of that but nothing would really surprise me.
Douglas Hogg (known unaffectionately as the Hoglet) a man of great incompetence and complete lack of charm, who is standing down because of a little trouble with his moat, has also called for MPs to be paid six-figure salaries.
They were both described as "living on the planet Zog", which was, presumably named after the erstwhile King of Albania. The Boy-King of the Planet Tory knows that it is not sensible to be asking for doubling of MPs' salaries less than a year before the General Election when popular fury may well be visited on those who are associated with those demands.
In fact, there is some sense in MPs receiving their payment in properly accounted for and taxed salaries rather than the hole-in-the-corner manner they have been getting it. But there are a few problems.
One is the question of market forces. Is there, in fact, any evidence that people do not want to become MPs because of the "low" pay? There is not. Every party in every constituency has to beat off applicants. So, really, why bother to raise the salary if people want the job anyway?
The notion that a low salary attracts a low calibre of applicants is risible. None but the low calibre will go into politics now, whatever you pay and, in any case, if we raise the salaries it will be the bozos in there now who will benefit.
Finally, there is the unfortunate matter of the MPs' work, which, according to the egregious Sir Patrick, they cannot do at the moment because of lack of money. Just what is their job that they need to do?
Some time ago I wrote an Open Letter to our Legislators on the subject of them wanting higher salaries (it was £100,000 at the time so, in the meantime, they have become greedier), in which I enumerated all the many things they do not do: legislate, hold the government to account, scrutinize the budget, take part in debates, find out about important political issues. So far as I can or anyone else can tell, nothing much has changed since December 2006 except that more legislation has made its way from Brussels and more egregious mistakes, documented by the Boss of EUReferendum, have been made over defence expenditure.
So here is my suggestion. Let those MPs tell us exactly (and I mean exactly) what it is they do and why they deserve those fat-cat salaries. Then the electorate will see whether they deserve double of what they now get legitimately. Of course, there is a possibility that the electorate will also see exactly how little our so-called legislators do for the money they get now. And that would be very sad.
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