"Ministers yesterday admitted they are powerless to stop any rise ordered by Ipsa, and party leaders may have to shame their MPs to turn down any inflation–busting pay increase."
Francis Maude speaking on Sky News: "It’s not in my control, it’s in the control of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. It isn’t even in the control of MPs themselves. What we do control, which is ministers’ pay, we are controlling rigorously and we are controlling and we are cutting back on the cost of running the government."
I happen to think MPs are underpaid, but now is not the time for a massive increase in their salaries. However, I do wonder at the statements by ministers who say they can’t do anything about it. Fannies. Make that Lying Fannies. I reckon they could easily get a majority to restrain this pay increase. Labour have already said they will vote against it en bloc, so I’m sure they would get support for a motion killing the rise from them. I’m equally sure that they could rustle up a few Tories and Liberals to get a Parliamentary majority.
So, why aren’t they attempting to stop it rather than wringing their hands and crying "woe is me"? Ed has said he will reverse it after the election, so why not stop it now?
The answer is glaringly simple: they don’t really care what the British people think. It’s all about the arrogant posh boys again. They posture, say the right things and then do nothing that will change the situation.
Take the economy: every man, woman and child in the country will tell you that the cuts are killing the economy and we need investment. As I have said time and again: if you want something to grow, then you have to feed it, on the other hand if you want it to die, just go ahead and starve it. Does it matter to them that people are struggling to make ends meet? Not really, because it doesn’t affect them. Those people at the tops of the big companies are still earning their fat salaries and it’s the unemployed and the poor who are suffering, i.e. not them. The “I’m alright Jack” theme of the current government is pervasive in society and unless the have-nots get up off their arses and do something about it through the ballot box, then we’ll have more of the same.
This follows quickly on the heels of a massive pay rise for the Monarch. Like them or loathe them, I’m sure you’ll agree this is the wrong time to give them a whopping big pay rise. But the Government just doesn’t care what we think, again because they are doing all right, Jack.
Then we had David Cameron criticising George Galloway for cosying up to dictators – which is pretty much accurate as far as I can see – but then he goes and spoils it all by playing pals with the thugs in Kazakhstan. His reasoning is “trade”. He told the Guardian: "I am delighted to be in Astana today – the first serving British prime minister to come to Kazakhstan. Frankly such a visit is long overdue. The question should not be: why is the British prime minister in Kazakhstan? The question is: why has it taken a British prime minister so long to visit? Kazakhstan is on the rise – a dynamic country that is poised to become a high income country by the end of this decade." Let’s not be under any illusions, their President got 95.5% of the vote after his opponents declared they hoped he would win. This doesn’t smack of free and fair elections. Of course the motivation is profit and if this government is consistent in one thing, it always put profits before people. They’re all right, Jack.
The real problem of course is there are too many wealthy, comfortable clever people running the country. I remember once being told that we would better off if businessmen ran the government – how wrong is that? They are so divorced from the reality of living at the bottom that they will never appreciate the problems ordinary people face. What we need are more nurses, plumbers, fitters, railway workers, unemployed and pensioners in Parliament and fewer bankers, lawyers and businessmen.
The roadblock to this is the selection processes of the major parties. They tend to select clever, articulate and generally selfish individuals who have the drive and ambition to succeed at all costs. Consequently, they behave in a selfish manner in Parliament and who can blame them? So, changing the method of selection is key to developing a new political system, one that more fairly represents the ordinary people of the country, which is why the experiment Labour had of ensuring that women had better representation in Parliament by imposing quotas needs to be extended. If there can be quotas of women, why can’t their be quotas with other criteria? Sure it’s hard, but most things that are good will be hard at first and if it gets more ordinary people and fewer professional politicians in Parliament then where do I sign?
The biggest benefit of having ordinary people in Parliament is that when they say, “I’m all right, Jack” then they will mean us too and if we’re all right because they’re all right, then Parliament will have done it’s job: to serve the people. Just to make sure, I would ban MPs from serving more than two terms, prevent them from having second jobs, implement a right of recall and make their salaries a multiple of the poorest off in society (not the average, they can boost that by making sure the people at the top get disproportionately more).
Getting Parliament to do this is going to be tough. It’s the old Turkeys-Voting-For-Christmas syndrome. Which is why everyone and I mean YOU, should be getting in touch with the local party of their choice, joining and participating. The more of us who join the major parties, the better chance we have of changing them. Standing on the side-lines and shouting the odds is no longer an option, it’s time to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. There will be those who prefer ideological purity to taking back their party and that’s fair enough, if principles are something you value over the practical, then you carry on watching desperate people walk in front of speeding trains and echoing the minister’s “woe is me” mantra.
Me? I’m going to do something.