Saturday, 16 May 2009

MP's Salaries/Expenses/Allowances/Deselection/Re-Selection Etc

A number of points.

Guido Fawkes has a post on MP's salaries and the reported suggestion they should receive a £30,000 pay rise. MP's salaries are but part of the overall subject of probity on the part of MPs. Were MPs actually responsible for the laws of this country, an argument could be made for any salary increase, unfortunately they are not. It is accepted that 75/80 per cent of the laws governing this country are made by the EU and I fail to see how a pay rise can be sanctioned for someone who is but an 'administration clerk', as that is what an MP's task has become. In any event most EU directives/regulations are imposed by Statutory Instruments (SIs) and MPs do not actually debate the subjects as the directives/regulations cannot be altered. What could be debated, but isn't, is the 'gold-plating' that this government applies to EU directives and which is not called for by the EU. Until Britain withdraws from the EU and governance of this country is returned to us, the subject of a pay rise for our MPs should not even be on the discussion table.

The Guardian has a report that any Labour MP who is found to be guilty of having made an improper expense claim will automatically be deselected and barred from standing at the next general election. Whilst laudable, the question has to be asked: What is an 'improper expense claim'? It can but be repeated that, whilst 'within the rules', any claim for something other than mortgage interest/rent/utility bills is not 'wholly and exclusively' necessary for an MP to carry out his parliamentary duties. At the risk of being accused of repetition, every sitting MP should be subject to a reselection hearing as a matter of course and this should be done within an 'open primaries' scenario.

Frank Field has published his expenses on his website, according to the Daily Telegraph. This MP is someone whose views on certain matters I hold in high regard, however it would seem that even he has claimed for items that could be questioned. Once again it must be asked: How is an LCD tv, a clock radio and 'kitchen goods' necessary for him to carry out his duties as an MP? And £250 a month for 'petty cash'? Food expenses? Whilst this highlights Frank Field, it is obvious that possibly all MPs have been, and are guilty, of questionable decisions in relation to expenses and allowances.

As part of the discussion on MPs, their salaries, expenses, allowances and their probity, it is necessary that the question of democracy - how and by whom we are governed - is also addressed, nationally and locally. A further point is that of election broadcasts, their content and campaigning. As an example, consider the European elections. Not one of the three main parties wishes, or attempts, to discuss the issues. David Cameron considers the EU elections as an 'opportunity to send Gordon Brown a message', which has nothing to do with the EU and everything to do with getting the keys to 10 Downing Street. Should not political parties be forced, by law if necessary, to address issues about which an election is being held? Using David Cameron as an example is not intended as condemnation of him in particular, but of party leaders in general.

The above comments are just thoughts that have arisen, whilst scanning the Internet this morning.


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