Listening to Ed Miliband this afternoon, the ensuing comments by MPs - and then reflecting on other party conferences, PMQs and reports in the media about Parliament - it crossed my mind just how much do these representatives - and deciders of our destiny - actually cost us.
It would appear, for example, for the years 2005/2006 - according to the the House of Commons and Lords accounts - our masters spent £322.6 million running the House of Commons (although this included an exceptional item of £129.3 million), £155.3 million on members’ pay, expenses, etc and £106.4 million for the House of Lords. (Accounts for later years can be found here).
Do we need 646 MPs (or even only 50 less?) and a similar number of Peers? Just what do they all do? One is reminded of the phrase that the Devil makes work for idle hands and consequently it should also be borne in mind that most of the work is done by Committees who probably number no more than say 200/250 at a rough 'guestimate'.
On top of these Parliamentary costs should, of course, be added the cost of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. The 'work' that these bodies do could, it can be argued, be carried out by local authorities. The creation of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, with a view to devolving power, was nothing but political crap as their main purpose was part of the plan to regionalise the UK in order to facilitate that plan of regionalisation created by the European Union.
Coming across a quote by an American, Cullen Hightower*, and adapting it slightly it would seem that:
"Talk is cheap - except when the UK Parliament, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly does it"
Adapting another of Hightower's quips:
"Our politicians saying what they think gives them a wider conversational range than saying what they know."
which is quite pertinent when related to the majority of the present incumbents in the House of Commons and House of Lords.
* It is reported that one of his most notable quotes is "People seldom become famous for what they say until after they are famous for what they've done." Ironically, Hightower became famous for what he said rather than for what he did.