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Tuesday, 6 April 2010

They’re Off

On 6th May 2010 we will be asked to elect a new House of Commons consisting of 650 honest and true members, up from the current mainly honest and true 646 members. Of those currently sitting, 144 (22%) will not be seeking re-election, an unusually high number, some through disgrace, some taking the opportunity to secure attractive redundancy payments before a likely reduction, and others who have become completely brassed off with the whole thing.

Much has been made of the ‘expenses in lieu of pay’ problem. An interesting historical perspective on this appeared in the Telegraph in November 2009: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/6629911/MPs-expenses-system-created-in-pact-between-Thatchers-ministers-and-Opposition.html

But we the public must take our share of responsibility too. If we were to accept the advice of independent panels set up to consider fair and reasonable remunerations for people in public life instead of giving way to political expediency resulting in changes which, by definition, are less than fair we should avoid many of the troubles we find ourselves in. The ‘What’s in it for me?’ brigade will continue to howl their protests but politics should be about the common good not narrow self interest. A system that is open and fair must benefit us all in the long run avoiding the sort of mess we find ourselves in now.

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