Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Reflections on the MP's Expenses Scandal

Watching the outrageous and at times sickening feather bedding and corruption of our MP's these past two weeks I was repeatedly reminded of the wise words of advice James Connolly, the great Edinburgh socialist, gave to those seeking to represent working people.'Rise with your class, not out of it.' said Connolly condemning in particular in my view those Labour MP's who masquerade as representatives of working people and the poor.When I had the great honour of representing the people of the Lothians at Holyrood between 2003-2007 I was guided by Connolly's principle. I took it to mean that until such time as those I represented enjoyed the wages, conditions and privileges I did then the inflated salaries and perks were not due to me either. That is why all SSP MSP's took the average wage of a skilled worker and donated the rest of our £55,000 salary to the party. For me that meant writing out a cheque for £1,300 each and every month to the SSP.
They say we all live in a Parliamentary or Representative democracy yet there is scant evidence our 646 MP's are typical of the population as whole. The fact is these lawyers, Old Etonians and businessmen are completely unrepresentative. Where are the health workers, local government workers, low paid civil servants, transport workers, shop workers or sheet metal workers for that matter?
If I hear someone argue that MP's are underpaid at £68,000 per annum once more I will scream. The fact is they are in the top 2% of wage earners in Britain and that is before fiddling their expenses, allowances and travel!If MP's lived on the average wage of those they represented not only would they have far more fire in their bellies and better understand the job they were sent to London to do, they would be less inclined to pass the buck to meaningless Committee's and procrastinate in countering the big scandals of our age; the poverty, inequality, ill health, homelessness and financial corruption of the bosses system.

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