Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Dave and co paying it back

Looks like Constantly Furious and Mark Thompson were a few moments ahead of the zeitgeist in calling for MPs to pay pack their expenses, with David Cameron having a press conference to announce that the shadow cabinet were going to do just that.

Over on LabourList someone had calculated that the total sum of the expenses troughed is £16 million, £16,000,000.

So, if we were truly getting it back, that would be about 25p or £0.25 per resident of the UK, which wouldn't even cover the postage.

Yes, the MPs are all bad bad people and should cease to be parliamentarians, they've demonstrated that they cannot be trusted with taxpayers money, in any way. They should just fuck off and we get a general election to draft in a new load of people who may or may not be able to run things better.

We are in the midst of a global financial crisis, with government borrowing in the hundreds of billions of pounds.

Lets look briefly at this xkcd comic strip

and also briefly at these paragraphs from EUReferendum
But the crisis has acquired the characteristics of BSE (Blame Someone Else), with Parliament having walked away from acknowledging its part in the crisis – while the claqueurs prattle about "Mr Brown's regulations". However, responsibility ultimately lies with Parliament. Had MPs devoted a fraction of the effort they spent on creative accounting for their own expenses to the nation's financial affairs, they could have saved us hundreds of billions.

Such is the level of debate in this infantile country of ours, however, that prattling about penny ante sums of money, while billions pour down the drain unchecked, is seen as admirable. But, in the final analysis, we will have seen more energy, media coverage and Parliamentary time allocated to MPs' expenses than to the entire process of regulating of the financial sector.

Roughly, in terms of salary equivalent, MPs cost us £100 million a year. On one project alone, the defence committee could have saved us that. Collectively, each year – through effective and robust control of the executive – MPs could save us billions. And, should they do so – and had they done so - they would be worth the money they are paid, no matter how it is packaged.

The millions wastes / troughed / stolen in this expenses scandal is a lot of money, but still several orders of magnitude fewer than the thousands of millions (billions) that government borrowing and debt is swallowing up, and its the same parliament which is responsible.

We need to get rid of these people and get a new crowd in as quickly as possible. There need to be a new batch of politicians in the House of Commons, people who haven't been politicians before, people untainted, with new biases, new ideas and new ideals.

Maybe the future has a House of Commons with the two biggest parties being the Libertarians and the BNP slogging it out from far ends of the political spectrum, liberty and authoritarianism, or maybe there'll be coalitions from a palette of five or six parties. Either way, it'll get new ideas and change on the agenda and parliament can start working again.


  1. maybe we should turn our attention to BBC News 24 presenters who clear £92k for just reading out loud. That's 50% more than your average MP.....

  2. Still all paid from the public purse though (licence fee / council tax / etc).