Tuesday, 30 June 2009

MP's second jobs - my two cents

There's a bit of debate in the media, in parliament and on some blogs about MPs having second jobs.

I haven't paid that much attention because I think its a stupid idea to do something about it and I have faith than when push comes to shove no bill that does anythinga bout it will go through.

Some people don't like it, they think that people who are MPs shouldn't also be company directors or after dinner speakers or grave diggers and so on. Just some people, mind, not quite everyone.

I gather that Gordon Brown is putting through legislation to stop MPs having second jobs. Mark Reckons off of the internet thinks that any earnings from MPs second jobs should be given to the treasury or charity. T'other day I made my feelings clear about giving any more money to charities or the government.

Anyhoo, I think all of this rule changing is a bit superfluous.

Surely, if people think that MPs having second jobs isn't acceptable, they would not vote for MPs with second jobs, they would vote for candidates with no other jobs.
As this isn't the case, and people have elected MPs with second jobs, no further legislation or rule changes are necessary.

Have I misunderstood something?

Aren't all MPs other jobs and interests listed in a register of interests somewhere? So we're free to find out and vote for whichever candidate we want to.

On his blog Mark responds to my comments:-
manc_ill_kid: Our system unfortunately doesn't work like this. If you are a strong Tory supporter and you don't like the fact that your Tory MP has 5 jobs, what do you do? Most people in this position would grit their teeth and vote for their MP again as there is no real choice. It is extraordinarily difficult to get most MPs ejected from their seats so whilst in theory your point could be true, in practise it very really is.
Something about that reasoning doesn't quite sit right with me. Say, you're a strong Tory supporter and your local Tory candidate is a woman or a foreign cove, or ginger or something, nothing wrong with any of these things, but some people have issues with them. So you vote for the candidate you have carefully chosen to vote for, and then some people decide to change the rules so that all women, foreign coves and gingers, must have gender reassignment, British citizenship and dyed hair, respectively.

Hang on, that's not what I voted for.

I spent a long time agonising over which candidate on the ballot paper I wanted to get the MP's job, and it was Quentin Five-Jobs that I voted for, cos he's clearly the most capable chap.

Now give us a fucking general election so we can hound out the fucking 5% of the vote Labour party, and get in some people who are going to stop spending my money, and can make some of their own. Money doesn't grow on tree, tax-payers don't magically generate it from their pockets, they earn it by having jobs, not like these fucking Labour baw-aches would know.


  1. To clarify, what I advocate is STV in multi-member seats where you would have multiple candidates from each party. Then if you were a Tory who didn't like the fact that one of your Tory MPs had 5 jobs, you would be able to vote for the other Tories and put Mr 5 Jobs last or not vote for him at all.

    The current system really does make it hard to eject sitting MPs and it is a very blunt instrument which disenfranchises electors.

    Just trying to address outside jobs without wider reform is an invidious task and will doubtless throw up problems like you say. That's why we need a citizen's convention to look at all of this stuff in the round (electoral reform, MPs remuneration, power of the executive etc. etc.) and come up with a package of reforms.

  2. Open primaries would also help a bit in selecting candidates that more accurately map the voter's beliefs, and that could be implemented within parties at their own discretion rather than mucking around with the current electoral system.