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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Poor politicians are out of touch over pay rise

DO our MPs attend classes in how to make themselves appear rampantly out of touch with the people they serve?

Louise Allonby
Louise Allonby

Hot on the heels of David Cameron declaring UKIP supporters to be “pretty odd people” (blithely ignoring the fact that UKIP is currently streets ahead in the polls of Mr Cameron’s Coalition partners the Lib Dems), and thus alienating many thousands of Tory voters seriously disenchanted with the Conservative party, we now learn that the majority of our MPs think they deserve a 32 per cent pay rise, to push their annual salaries, excluding expenses, over £82,000.

This plea from our poorly-paid representatives came in the same week a real-terms cut to benefits was quietly announced. You couldn’t make it up.

So do MPs deserve salaries in excess of £82,000? Perhaps a more cogent question should be: does our current crop of MPs deserve to earn such salaries?

On the evidence, I would argue they do not. Their case seems to be that by becoming MPs and serving their country, they deprive themselves of vast salaries in the private and corporate sectors.

Says who? Just look at the current cohort of MPs in Westminster – of every political hue – and then ask yourself if any of them strike you as the sort of people who could run major companies.

Some of them give every impression they would fail to shine even if given the job of events organiser in a brewery.

It is arrogant in the extreme of these politicians to ask us, their employers, to believe politics’ gain is the private sector’s loss in terms of what they contribute.

If Whitehall was full of great statesmen or women, former captains of industry or people who have achieved great things outside of the corridors of power, they might have a case. But sadly, it is not.

Parliament is, in fact, largely comprised of politicians who slavishly toe their party lines, who speak in clichés scripted by central office rather than actually say what they really think, and who know virtually nothing of a world outside politics. The qualities of dynamic, successful business leaders? I think not.

Few MPs have any experience at all of industry, of infrastructure or of the things vital to the efficient and effective running of a country. Politics and/or the law are all many of them seem to have much experience of. That is simply not enough.

They cannot have it both ways: on the one hand they want to be career politicians (a concept which needs ditching), while on the other they want to convince the electorate they could have made it big in the real world which the rest of us inhabit.

Like their claim for a 32 per cent salary rise, that simply doesn’t add up.

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