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There is most certainly a mood of anger directed towards the political class, who themselves often use issues to bolster their own profile, playing politics with peoples lives. If the political process is regain the respectability it once held then it must burst the Westminster bubble and engage with voters once more. That should involve a pay cut on principle rather than as an act of publicity.

There is now consensus among thinkers who traditionally have represented left and right that the excesses of political elite have to be reined in. MPs creaming expenses, for themselves and their families while ordinary folk in huge numbers are being forced to live on 60 Pounds a week dole can only breed the sort of anti-political resentment that leads to low turnouts and a feeling that the politicians and the army of bureaucrats they employ are only in it for themselves.

I believe the underlying problem is the lack of ethics that would make MPs not want such huge amounts of taxpayers' money in the first place. Why should David Cameron force them? That is not solving the problem. It's hard to change when you've been doing something for many years. I think part of the solution should be stricter rules for the next generation of MPs. You can't make a corrupt organisation not corrupt overnight! It'll take years for the culture to change, but we should push for that. Genuine, permanent change, not headline grabbing strictness that doesn't last. Honourable gentleman and gentlewomen are people who don't *want* in their hearts to steal our money. They are people who burst with anger at the thought of it!

I posted the following comment yesterday but I'm posting it again as I'd like many people to read it.

"Will Cameron acting like a father, saying no to his children (the party), change politics? Only temporarily. Only for gloss. It won't wash. Haven't politicians as a whole been corrupt since... always? When have they ever not been on the take? What's missing is the substance. Ethics.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-ethics/

Hey British M.Ps! Put Aristotle's Ethics on your reading list! Keep a copy with you at all times. Don't brag to the world that you're reading from it, just quietly act in a decent way, even when nobody is looking. Everyone's human and you're going to screw up sometimes, but just try your best because you're there to represent us and we need you to do a good job for Great Britain. Thank you!"

We could use a 10 commandments for MPs. 10 questions that every MP should ask himself every day. For example, "why am I an MP?", "is this morally right?", or "am i putting my constituents first?", "what would my consituents think if they found out?".

Who wants a party of Derek Conways under a strict leader? What we want is a party full of decent people full stop. It's obviously impossible but it should be an aspiration.

Neither Polly Tonybee nor D.Draper could answer the simple Daily Politics Mug Question correctly, says it all really doesn’t it.

reform of allowances is the bigger issue although a cut in pay would send the right message on where the tories are heading on public sector dieting.

I am not sure the anger is just about pay, but a deadly combination between the excesses of MP's pay and perks and that MP's have disenfranchised the electorate from having any say over their lives. One moment you see MP's with their snouts in the trough, the next they are saying to the cry for British jobs for British workers, 'nothing to do with us'. MP's have become the latter day Marie Antoinette's, filling their faces while the country goes to hell in a hand cart.

It`s not just the quangocracy who are overpaid. Surrey County Council`s Chief Executive resigned recently: he received a salary of £195,330 plus another £6,000 "to oversee service provision". No doubt the vacancy is being advertised at the same sort of money, plus of course the usual benefits, like a gold plated pension.

As far as MPs are ccncerned, just a token reduction in pay would do something to restore respect for them - something they need badly. I can remember, a long time ago, when MPs were respected and admired. We need a new breed to get back to that situation.

Self-interest is a besetting sin in this country (best epitomised recently in Blair's concern about his 'legacy' and Brown's desire to remain PM until the bitter end) and it is given verbal form in the highly popular but ungrammatical 'Me and my friends...'.

Maragaret Thatcher in her (in)famous speech, where she said 'There is no such thing as society...' added: 'It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbours'.

I support David Galea's call for MPs to put ethics (not necessarily Aristotle's Ethics) at the core of their political philosophy and we might be forgiven for asking why the established church is so quiet on this point?
Politics is secular but David Cameron's social policies do have an ethical foundation that does not run counter to the CoE's teaching and hopefully should be acceptable to most other main faiths.

David Cameron will have the chance to rebuild this country from the smoking ruins left by 12 years of Labour and a global downturn. He should take the chance to build it up from the bottom and ensure that the huge gap between poor and rich and between the highest paid and lowest paid in a company is greatly reduced and that our legislators are no longer able to write their own expenses' cheques.


Do you honestly think MPs will take a pay cut? Quite sure that won't happen unless they top it up with additional expenses. After all they can spend what they like under £25 without receipts. Claim for 5 items a week at £24 and you have a nice little earner at £240.

David Galea is right. Instead of justifying their greed by saying "it was not against the rules" all they had to do was ask themselves, what would my constituents think about it?

Come on, Subrosa, we must hope and dream things can be changed. If we don't we surrender. You know as well as most, the blogosphere has given us a tool for protest that is growing daily in strength.
Derek Conway was ousted by the roar of anger on here whilst DC ummed and arred. We can now make a difference.
Dan Hannan continued, on Newsnight, the work begun on the blogs.

A leader of a major parliamentary political party is always likely to be in the worst position to champion an anti-political mood, especially Labour or Conservative who since the war have alternated in government and official opposition.

Leaders of major established political parties can try and show that they are not just another politician taking their turn.

David Cameron is an integral part of the problem. He was the one who proposed the extension to state funding of political parties to insulate the political class even further.

In Dan Hannan's speech, we have had a brief taste of real meat, a politician showing genuine anger and expressing genuine beliefs and catching the mood of the nation because he is thinking like us, not because his team are trying to hitch a ride on the latest bandwagon.

The era of Blair and his self-proclaimed heir are coming to an end. Cameron can't 'tap' into this mood for political gain, to even think about doing this just confirms which side of the fence you are on.

Ethics today means climate change activist, environmentalist, anti-sexist, anti-racist, and anti-homophobe. How can you run a country on just that? As long as politicians hold those views then what Mr Belchamber mentioned above:

"Self-interest is a besetting sin in this country (best epitomised recently in Blair's concern about his 'legacy' and Brown's desire to remain PM until the bitter end)"

is fine and dandy! It's not. We need traditional, subtle ethics without a PR spin. Sorry I didn't mean we should follow Artistotle's every word, we have to find our own modern way to bring the best ideas from philosophy into running the country. Artistotle's book is a free download so it was a good example. We need virtuous behaviour not good parenting.

Subrosa - So your the one that sits with George Osborne helping him with his figures for his economic policy.

5 x £24 = £240??????


Chipping at MP's pay is the ultimate gesture politics. The voters know that.

Chanting 'fat cats' merely plays the tune of the Left.

A Conservative government should slash the size of the state. It should espouse free markets.

For two years David Cameron said he would match Brown's spending. He and Osborne have promised a few individual cuts but no vision.

They could do worse than remember Mrs Thatcher's many references to the housewife balancing her budget. They may not like the language but that is our reality.

The UK is akin to a ship which has been heading in the wrong direction ever since Labour took control of the wheel. Instead of intervening too many on board have preferred to travel hopefully. Having sailed straight into the storm and been blown onto the rocks the ship is sinking. Long overdue fiscal and monetary rectitude cannot now save her. And there are not enough life boats.

I have no objection to a temporary pay-cut for politicians. However, on its own it is a insignificant measure that does little more than pay lip-service to the electorate and does not address the core problems. What is the point of providing temporary relief, if in a few years, the same issues rear their ugly, self indulgent heads again?

In terms of MP's remuneration there are three things that need to be addressed in the longer term.

Firstly, MPs should lose the ability to decide what there terms and conditions are. Parliament needs to stop acting like a Trade Union over this and start acting like a business.

Secondly, there must be radical reform of MPs remuneration to halt the perceived abuse of expenses and the perception that MP's are failing in their duties.

Thirdly, to redress the perceived failure of performance there needs to be generic selection criteria and open selection procedures imposed on political parties to better ensure that MPs have the necessary level of experience, professionalism and general management ability to fulfil the roles expected of them by the electorate.

Once these have been achieved and we have repaired what is increasingly perceived as a dysfunctional Parliamentary system riddled with stories of abuse and incompetence, perhaps we can then have a serious debate about what the appropriate remuneration for our national elected representatives should be?

The time has come for MPs and political parties to wake up to the fact that this is the 21st Century and not the 19th Century!

I do not think any of the comments have grasped the state of the problem. David Cameron offers much of the same! I called him a Blair Tribute Act and I do not regret that.

His one line dismissal of Hannan's brilliant speech was just that -dismissive. If I had been Cameron Hannan would have been on the platform alongside me at the Welsh Conference today for maximum publicity.

Last night, another interview with Hannan, on Newsnight with Kirsty Wark. Hannan ended with the words that sum up the problem the Tories have to deal with IF they want support.

"People are being taken for granted, ripped off, lied to and ignored"

Cameron has to offer something completely different and he has to start with the Tories attitude to the EU. If that means Kenneth Clarke leaving for the Libe Dems then so be it!

Re "Blair Tribute Act": spot on.

And one other thing. How can the Conservatives continue with Eric Pickles as its Chairman. His performance on Question Time, especially over the issue of second homes,was a disgrace and highlights the problem,

People are being taken for granted,ripped off,lied to and ignored!

"Last night, another interview with Hannan, on Newsnight with Kirsty Wark"

Yes it was a clever performance by Hannan. He managed to turn what on the face of it was gong to be a difficult outing on Newsnight to his political advantage. For you wouldn't have thought he could find any common cause with a G20 protestor, yet that is just what he managed to do with his analysis of the frustration, anger and powerlessness of people on the street, with the distant and removed power structures that Brussels has created and that his Euscepticism is opposed to. .

johnny come lately is another I agree with. The package MEPs and especially those unelected Commissars sorry, Commissioners, receive with their expenses makes what our chaps get look like petty cash. And they certainly know how to cover up fiddling. Let`s get out of that mess by quitting the corrupt EU and then sort out our problem.

The anti-politician mood will benefit the small parties, UKIP, the Greens, the BNP and Respect and, perhaps, the occasional independent. You might not like it, and I might not like some of it, but it is inevitable and will be compounded by the effects of the gathering economic storm and continuing stories of excesses by MPs and bankers.

There little you Tories can do about this in the short term but, this week, a new Tory Star was born. What are the Tories in general and David Cameron in particular, going to do about Daniel Hannan? As the Guardian article correctly observes, Mr Hannan’s philosophical position is closer to that of UKIP than that of the Cameroons.

If the Tories don’t fully bring Mr Hannan into the fold, and listen to him, then he might just defect one day. Now that would be a disaster, wouldn’t it (for the Tories) but we Ukippers would be laughing all the way to the voting booth.

We would not have these problems if the Commons were open only to gentlemen of independent wealth from the shires (as it used to be). It is little wonder that corruption is endemic when 90% of the MPs don't have two pennies to rub together.

I am surprised that a Tory website has not sought to make this point.

It would be useful if this discussion extended to value for money. No one would begrudge MPs their pay if they were doing their jobs effectively. This is from tomorrow's Booker column:

As scandals mount over how MPs exploit their expenses, last week’s Sunday Times reported one Tory, Nadine Dorries, saying that MPs are bored because ‘there is not enough for them to do’. The same edition carried a report from Afghanistan referring to Sergeant Lee Johnson, who was killed last December when his Pinzgauer Vector patrol vehicle hit a mine. Before his death the reporter had interviewed Sgt Johnson, who described the Vector as ‘an absolute death trap’ because of the ‘crucial design flaw’ which made its driver or forward passenger ‘particularly vulnerable if the vehicle is struck by a mine’.

More than two years ago, when the Ministry of Defence was about to deploy Vectors in Afghanistan, I published an item about these vehicles, based on information from my expert colleague Dr Richard North, who runs the Defence of the Realm blog. Headed ‘Our troops will patrol in “coffins on wheels”’, this warned that the Vectors were in some ways even more vulnerable than the notorious Snatch Land Rover, ‘because the driver is sitting right over the wheels when the mine strikes’.

Why, if it was possible to point this out on October 29 2006, before the vehicles were deployed, did MPs on the Commons Defence Committee or the Tory front bench not pick up on it before at least five soldiers were killed and an unknown number injured, for precisely the reasons predicted? The Committee’s chairman James Arbuthbott now says ’no one had told us as a committee that there were any problems with the Vector, therefore we had nothing to prompt us to pursue it as an issue’.

When I wrote those words in 2006, the Tories’s front bench spokesman on defence procurement, Gerald Howarth, was actually pictured on the Pinzgauer website, sitting in the front of a Vector and giving it a glowing testimonial (in light of the subsequent disaster, he has since recanted).

But, as Nadine Dorries says, MPs at Westminster are bored because there is ‘not enough for them to do’. Why do we even pay their salaries, let alone allow them to buy second homes on their expenses?

Richard North, yes this was also reported on by Christopher Booker, who also described the Pinzgauer Vector patrol vehicles as coffins on wheels and pointed out that there was a cheaper, more effective, and safer vehicle being used by Oz military and others, unfortunately it seems the over riding decision to buy these vehicles was to 'be good Europeans' suggesting that Parliament is prepared to sacrifice the lives of our troops for its EU political positioning. It was also along these lines that the army truck contract was awarded to Man trucks in Austria rather than giving the contract to the consortium that would have built a better truck using LDV's plant in Birmingham.

You sometimes wonder what we have done to deserve the British political class we have, for when they haven't got their noses in the trough, they are busying themselves with the task of endangering troops lives, damaging the employment opportunities of British people and screwing the British tax payer.

It is unfortunate that Conservative-run councils are as guilty as anyone else when it comes to ramping up the pay of supposedly "top people". In Suffolk, for example, the Chief Exec on £170k pa left to head up City of Westminster council.
Amid a lot of babble about getting the best people and so forth, J. Pembroke and his pals on SCC got in a new Chief Exec at - £220k p.a. I believe this is more than the old CE gets at Westminster. If this isn't salary inflation, then I don't know what is.
It is unfortunate that to a lot of people this appointment looks like showing off and acting big on the part of the councillors; a sop to their vanity.
Every year there are complaints about the unfairness of Suffolk's government settlement and the apparent anti-Conservative bias. These go hand in hand with the usual budget and service cuts combined with increased council tax and a host of other council price increases.
This is not the kind of example we should expect, and even received less than favourable comment from some Conservative MPs.

"People are being taken for granted, ripped off, lied to and ignored" - johnny come lately quotes Dan Hannan and quite right too.

The growth of the No Party has been phenomenal. Voters have not voted because there is little worth voting for.

Now things are changing.

They may manoevre their votes, as someone pointed out here yesterday, to ensure for example that Dan Hannan is re-elected but they don't want the rest of the list - so they can afford to vote BNP to send a fusillade across the Conservative bows.

Many are so angry that today they are more likely to vote for an extreme than not vote at all - the previous majority position.

We are entering dangerous waters.

The general public are not so stupid as to want advice about retricting income from people who already have significant wealth.

Toynbee deserves to be denounced at every possible opportunity for her hypocrisy - the ultimate in champaign socialism 'do as I say, not as I do'.

Hannan is well received because he is not ramming policy down anyones throat - he is promoting mechanisms to improve democracy and representation -- Hannan may have his own beliefs, but is clearly more interested in the people getting their democratically expressed will, rather than imposing his own on the unwilling.

I look forward to Dans EU-Sceptic grouping emerging as a significant opposition to the existing anti-democratic EU-Phile Cartel.

Wow, I just watched Pickles on QT.

To be cruel but fair, Pickles both sounded and looked like a political piggy slurping from the trough.

What a suicidal choice of Chairman.

Now for Change? LoL. Oink, oink.

David At Home:

Whilst, having read your comments on the previous related thread, I suspect we would be much in agreement on most issues, I think your latest effort@12:30 is misleading.

I can think of nothing more worrying to UKIP in the run-up to the European Elections than for a Conservative MEP to gain considerable profile for eviscerating our dreadful Prime Minister whilst professing good strong conservative values.

If anything can convince like minded voters that it is in their interests to vote Conservative rather than UKIP, it is the sight of the likes of Daniel Hannan telling Brown a few home truths!

What you fail to recognise is that many more turned their back on politics as a result of the debacle of the right in the 90's than went off in a huff to create UKIP and the rest of the splinter parties of the right.

Now many are coming back out of necessity. Brown has dragged us in totally the wrong direction.

What most of them seem to realise is that if we want to roll back the European takeover and if we want to rid ourselves of Brown and his dismal regime, then we have to back the Conservatives because much as we may have sympathy with some of the views of UKIP they are not going to be able to change anything, anytime soon if, indeed, ever.

I suspect that those who sympathise with Hannan within the Conservative party way outnumber the total core UKIP support these days.

Now it would be much easier if we on the right were united in getting rid of Brown and rolling back the European project under a single banner. So now is the time for us to unite and in doing so take on those within our political parties as well as those without who would deny the obvious change that is required.

By the way, I think that you referring to socialist propaganda in the Guardian (one of the homes of British Europhilia) is priceless!

I think announcing a pay cut for MP's and capping public sector pay at a certain threshold would be a great move to restore public confidence in Conservative MP's. It would show that they would be willing to personally contribute to shrinking the cost of the public sector (however relatively small this contribution would be) and would resonate well with people in these hard economic times.

William Blake’s Ghost

I really don’t care which party, or group of people, it is that sets this country on a new course. By a new course I mean less wasteful unproductive public spending ( I DO support the welfare state but not shovelling taxpayers’ money down the drain and subsiding the feckless to sit on there bottoms and breed - not sure of the mechanics of this!), putting a stop to mass unselective immigration, reducing taxes that discourage industry and employment, having a sensible national energy policy, properly equipping and deploying our armed services for the defence of THIS REALM and its essential interests, changing the criminal justice system so it catches and punishes criminals, arranging a decent national education system and, above all, restoring our sovereign democracy.

Prime Minister Dan Hannan would probably set out to do much of this, as would Prime Minister Frank Field or Prime Minister Nigel Farage (or of course, someone who has yet to emerge).

The trouble is, as things stand, none of the above has a snowball’s chance in Hell of becoming PM, nor has anyone like them. So, in my little way, I will keep chipping away at the foundations of the current Lib/Lab/Con consensus until one day, as a result of the efforts of many people of which I will be but one, the whole ugly edifice comes crashing down.

My chosen route is through UKIP, the policies of which I am in almost total harmony. However, I am not so foolish is to think that UKIP alone will bring about the required change. Nor am I unaware that there are good men and women within both the Tory and Labour parties (not so sure about the LibDems) who share these ideals.

So I salute and wish Godspeed to all those people of good faith, of whatever party or none, who, uninhibited by personal greed or stifling ideology, are working towards to good of our country.

As for quoting the Guardian, know thine enemy and spread the seeds of discord within his camp!

Disconnect alert!
Dave is a classic example of a Politician.
You don't hire a gamekeeper to do the poaching......

Agree totally with your post Tim. There certainly is an anti politician mood in the country which has become more pronounced as the recesssion bites.
I'd be interested to know whether your contacts within Parliament are aware of the extent of it?

Two MPs have told me they agree with me Malcolm - seven have said they disagree with me!

Interesting! Did those that disagree say why? And do you think these people are out of touch?

Basically 'we don't get paid enough' and 'nothing we do will stop the public hating us anyway'.

Did those disagreeing 7 live more than 37 miles away from Parliament?

Oh it's terrible, my job works like clockwork, and my employer expects me to turn up on time!

Imagine it...

DAH @ 14:49 Fair enough!

'If charity begins at home, so, too, must austerity.'

1: All the MPs with dodgy 2nd homes must put them on the market now! They must repay all of the allowance money they have got since the end of regular late sittings.

2: Our MEPs should refuse to travel to Strasbourg, effective immediately. All allowances concerned with the operation of the Strasbourg Parliament must be refused by our MEPs.

3: All frontbenchers must give up paid outside interests immediately.

4: Yes Tim, our MPs should take an immediate pay cut.

5: Our MPs must claim the absolute minimum in admin costs etc etc. Immediately!

6: All our councillors and members of the Scottish and Welsh bodies must take measures similar to #s 4&5.

7: I'm not forgetting you!: All our members should increase their subscriptions, donations etc etc in order to limit the need for funding from taxpayers & Big Donors to an absolute minimum. We must all increase our sacrifice of money/time/shoeleather. It is absolutely critical for the country that the Labour government is removed. We must do everything we can to increase party membership.

I think they're wrong. Most people in my experience don't 'hate' politicians. They do hate sleaze and the allegations of corruption that have become more pronounced in the last 20 years. And the political class have largely done nothing at all to address those concerns.We live in a more open society and MPs must get used to that. If they can't justify their actions to a reasonable member of the public then they simply shouldn't take that action.
Pickles tried to defend the indefensible on Thursday and failed miserably. I hope other MPs learn the lesson.

"The public is angry at a political class that doesn't understand the pain that ordinary families are going through"

Worse they see far to many politicians making a quick buck by dodgy interpretation of the rules. We need to end the gravy train culture of Westminster. I say increase their pay a little but end all of the expense accounts. How many people working in the real world get a bonus payment for having an extra home? At a time like this, where cuts will be common place, and austerity measures a real possibility, we should not ask the public to tighten their belts if we will not.
The old chestnut is "if you pay peanuts you get monkeys" but in parliament it seems the "if you pay too well, then you deserve the pigs you get". its time for some real politics of morality from the top of the party. To his credit D.C. has made a small start in the right direction.

True Malc.

Few non-politicos would have heard of Dan Hannan or Eric Pickles before this week, but compare the different public reactions to them.

I don't recall Dan Hannan blurting out that people are going to 'hate' him anyway.

Piggy Pickles is the new poster boy for the trough-swilling political class.

All the MPs with dodgy 2nd homes must put them on the market now!

And most will not be MPs by the time they sell those houses, the way things are going......

All our members should increase their subscriptions, donations etc etc in order to limit the need for funding from taxpayers & Big Donors to an absolute minimum.

Hands up any politicians who want to argue such an idea in the current climate?

Hmmmmmm???????

And I'll say it again. The UK electorate has, proportionally, five times the representation of the US electorate.

Let's get lean. Yes, paycuts happen in the wealth generating sector but the main blunt financial instrument is redundancy and clearly there is a whole shed full of redundancy in our lumbering great gut bucket of an over-bloated system of political representation.

And I'll say it again: California, alone, has a more powerful economy than the entire United Kingdom and yet Scotland, alone, has over three times the representation of the Californian State Senate. California: 40. Scotland 129.

Why? To subsidise the Hollyrood dream factory?

Englandism:

The UK electorate has, proportionally, five times the representation of the US electorate

Pray tell how do you come to that conclusion?

Basically 'we don't get paid enough' and 'nothing we do will stop the public hating us anyway'.

Posted by: Tim Montgomerie | March 28, 2009 at 15:07

The concept of being paid enough is surely based on the belief that the work you are doing is of any value to your employers. Practically all MP's across the political spectrum choose to ignore the instructions of the people who employ them(us), and act as lobby fodder for their own, or their parties self interest. If I chose to ignore my contractual obligations with my employer to follow my own narrow interests, not only would I not be paid enough, but I wouldn't last five minutes never mind five years.

As to whether the public hate politicians, I don't think they hate the likes of Frank Field or David Davies(Haltemprice and Howden), but I have no doubt they despise with a passion the likes of Tony McNulty, Jacquie Smith, Dereck Conway or the Wintertons, not forgetting naughty Nick Clegg who promises a referendum on Lisbon then tries to move the goalposts when he is confronted with his promise. These so called protectors of our democracy have activly voted against the interests of the general population time and time again, destroying the lifeblood of our democracy, and making themselves an irrelevance.

"And I'll say it again. The UK electorate has, proportionally, five times the representation of the US electorate

Just because you keep saying it, it doesn't make it correct!

You need to consider why they have less in the US (clue: think localism) not simply compare one layer of elected representatives and demand equalisation.

By all means slash the number of MP's if you plan to devolve powers downards to elected officials closer to the people, but slashing the number of MP's without doing that will simply be concentrating power in fewer hands.

Toryblog.com:

I did a quick check on California and was amused to find that Englandism was Salami slicing the California political system.

You see he fails to mention that California has a second state assembly which has some 80 representatives.

So his illusion that there is a comparison of 40:129 is actually 120:129.

Furthermore, given that California has been in financial difficulty for many years and I found this:

The San Francisco Chronicle noted on December 14, 2008, "California is bleeding so much money that without a sweeping fix, the state's budget deficit will reach an unprecedented $40 billion in the next 18 months, a huge gap that many officials agree can't be bridged without increasing tax revenue."[23],[24]

California hardly seems to be a shining example that we should aspire to.

Actually, I think our legislators should be reasonably well paid but I think that their pay should be determined by an independent review board, not by themselves (if that is now the case).

I do think that the system for paying their expenses is absurd and should be replaced by the sort of arrangement discussed yesterday.

To put the record straight, it is to Dan Hannan's credit that he blew the whistle on the EU gravytrain quite a long time ago and less to the credit of certain conservative MEPs who laid into him for doing so.

But surely David Cameron is the epitomy of the political class....smug, arrogant and dismissive of anyone holding a different opinion...schools, taxes and crime to take just three examples.

I am not overly in favour of a paycut for MPs. It would just be a circus of gesture politics as some would righteously "Mea Culpa" all over the place spoiling one's dinner with sanctimonious sauce and others would with horrendously exaggerated shrugging shoulders point at all the support staff let go.

What is much more relevant is addressing the additional expenses and payments and perhaps even publishing them online or adding them to "www.theyworkforyou.com" individual MP entries.

It is the perception that the majority of MPs spend more time cooking their books than addressing Parliamentary business that is aggravating the electorate. By introducing a transparent, simple, unequivocal system of expenses, you can make this major distraction go away and MPs can get on with their jobs. The Party that seizes that nettle AND implements a solution will get a major fillip in the polls for what should not be a great deal of effort.

With some trepidation, I think nothing is being done at present because all parties know a tsunami of revelations is set to burst through in the next two months, and so to avoid charges of hypocrisy nothing will be said until after the Parties can take an assessment on how they have survived this tsunami of sleaze.

Hello William Blake's Ghost.

Population of the California is......36,000,000.

Population of Scotland...is....5,000,000.

Even with a full German breakfast full of salami that's looking like a factor of seven. Then we have the Westminster MPs and bag full of MEP monkeys to stitch on. Over-representation costs us money so slice 'em down. Recession burden sharing thereof wise.

California is responsible for 13% of the United States' gross domestic product (GDP). The state's GDP is at about $1.7 trillion (as of 2006).

In 2006, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Scotland (excluding oil and gas production from 'Scottish' waters) was just over £86 billion.

Do the math. Go figure. Whatever. California on its own kicks total UK butt (like totally). Dude.

All second homes held by MPs should revert to the Exchequer

All second homes held by MPs should revert to the Exchequer

Basically 'we don't get paid enough' and 'nothing we do will stop the public hating us anyway'.

They knew the salary when they applied for the job. And quite frankly there are plenty of intelligent, hard-working people around (lots of engineers, for example) who would make better MPs than the shower we have at the moment and who get paid much less.

Any MP who really thinks like this should just quit and make way for someone genuinely interested in public service.

Englandism:

Nice try. Notice you don't try to consider the fact that California is on the verge of bankruptcy. Consequently, I think that might put in question whether their political system is adequate. Perhaps there are too many people per representative?

Let's try another state, shall we, seeing as you love the US so much.

Maine State Population 1,000,000 approx

Number of State Representatives 185

I've done the math too you see and your's reminds me of Gordon Brown's.

We can all play games with statistics. You can cherry pick and salami slice all you like, the thing is if you try and justify butchering our political system using the US system in such an unthinking simplistic manner you will only make it worse.

You see trying to do a like for like comparison with US states is basically a Brown like fix. A US state is not comparable to a British region. We are not a federation like the US and we don't have a President for a start!

Funny thing, I never had you tagged as a statist political centralist. Go figure!

Englandism:

Oh I forgot if you like it so much why don't you head off over there?

Well ,editor,if you think that asking MPsfor a temporary-yegods-paycut of 5% - is the way to cut public spending I think you have a very long road to travel.Anyone would think you were a convert to the 'perception not reality 'school of politics.
Why dont we scrap the ridiculous policy of ringfencing spending on health.
Look since the foundation of the NHS the number of beds has dropped by 68% and the number of nurses has increased by 170% -over 200% in Scotland Work out the arithmetic-there are five times as many nurses per bed as in 1948. There is mountains of money to be saved in the NHS not just in managers .

Hello again,

The purpose of this thread is to suggest some recognition that MPs should share some of the pain that exists beyond the Westminster umbilical cord.

5% is on the table but I would argue that this not sufficient. A commercial organisation looks at cost centres, strips out the activities surplus to core activity and redundancies follow.

The core activity of Westminster is? Representation of the people and serving and protecting the interests thereof. I would suggest that we are grossly over-represented and if commercial principles were to be applied to not only the political process but also to the wider public sector then the cost benefits to the client, we the people, would be vast.

Politicians cannot sell public sector pain if they do not demonstrate their own responsibility to cut the fat.

Oh, another piece of salami:

Anthony:

The biggest publicly financed organisation in terms of human resources is the standing army of the People's Republic of China. The second is? The NHS.

WBG

'Englandism:

Oh I forgot if you like it so much why don't you head off over there?'

Can't get a visa. The last time I tried the septics confiscated my red coat and musket.

I'm still waiting to hear one word from Cameron regarding the theft that goes on under the guise of expenses.

So do I assume he's at it as well?

I'm baffled as to how Radsatster thinks MPs are instructed by their constituents. I work for an MP, and in the last few days alone, we have had fundamentalist Christian constituents wanting him to vote one way and a local gay lobby group the opposite, just on one clause in the Coroners Bill. From which group would Radsaster prefer him to take instructions? MPs aren't solicitors. You don't instruct them on your behalf. They are elected by a majority and thereafter have to use their personal judgment. Remember Edmund Burke's explanation of this? Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

Although a Ministerial scalp looks to be the target, here in the North East we have a Labour MEP, Mr Stephen Hughes that has a office inside Durham council buildings at the peppercorn rent of £1,642 per year...published on page 11 of Saturday's Telegraph!

He gets £40,000+ to cover office expenses and a fellow MEP with a commercial property in Durham city centre is paying nearly £23,000 for rent and utilities.

He's had the office for 18 years...with a £20,000 advantage. Scream at Ms Smith and Mr McNulty all you like, but these MEP's are under the radar and seemingly untouchable.

Round it down and this MEP has £300,000 of unaccounted expenses just relating to his office and the news is all about a £20 film.

Why all the concentration on politicians and public servants? The culture of greed permeates our society.

At risk of breaking a Conservative taboo, can I ask how many company directors receive (I do not say earn) more than the Prime Minister? Should not their consciences be troubled?

Donald - I have no problem with a Director earning an absolute fortune from his own company - but I do agree that the fat cats who sit on the remuneration committees of public companies and vote each other exhorbitant salaries and bonuses have been left unchecked for far too long.

The fundamental problem is that, with a few notable exceptions our "Honourable Members" show little sign of honour.

are david cameron, walter softie and jeremy kyle the same annoying person?x x x

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