When I heard that the UK Parliamentary Standards Authority
was about to award MP’s another £200 a week and take their salaries to £76,400 [or £1,500 a week] it was James Connolly I thought of first. I always do in
For it was the legendary Edinburgh socialist, executed by
the British for his part in the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, who
advised those seeking to represent working people to ‘rise with your class
not out of it.’
It always struck me as the essence of ‘representative democracy’ that those ‘representatives’ should live on
the same pay and in the same conditions as those they were elected to
serve. So, when the wages of their constituents rise to £76,000 then MP’s
will be entitled to the same. Meantime since the average wage in
Scotland today is £25,600 that’s what our MP’s/MSP’s should receive.
I suspect that all the crooks and corrupt timeservers who
inhabit the Parliamentary benches today and throughout the ages would have a heart attack at the thought of
living on the same salary as their constituents. So I suppose that’s another good reason
for supporting this policy!
And before anyone pessimist says ‘workers representatives on workers
wages are a fine idea, but no one would do it in practice.’ I'd point out that the
Scottish Socialist Party MSP's did.
Proving again that the SSP is different from all the other parties our MSP’s were elected on a promise to be ‘workers MSP’s on workers wages’. And
we kept that promise throughout all the years we sat at Holyrood.
As the duly
elected MSP for the Lothians for example my Parliamentary salary was £55,000.
Each month I took half of it – since the average wage of the people
I represented was £23,000 – and for 4 years I gave the other half back. No other MSP’s
followed our example.
Mindful of Connolly’s counsel our
conduct showed how different we were, that we were
motivated goals far greater than financial gain.
The SSP believes that in a truly representative democracy all MP’s are duty bound to
live as their constituents do. It would certainly make them far more impatient
for progress and improvement.
Today, MP’s are held in very low public regard. They are all seen as self-serving, corrupt and greedy.
With the average wage £25,600 MP’s now want three times as much!
working people are being hammered by the worst recession in 80 years it ill
behoves MP's to seek this rise. I am sure I am not the only one disgusted at
the sight of those same MP’s who voted to slash £35/week off the housing
benefit of those affected by the bedroom tax granting themselves another
£10,000 per year.
The Scottish Socialist Party advocates real democracy, where‘workers representatives are on workers wages’. This
sets us apart from all the others. And there is no doubt this policy
enjoys widespread popular support. Perhaps it was the reason for the
headline in last weeks Metro, which loudly proclaimed ‘It's time to bring back the SSP’.Too right it is.