Two points of view today. First, Mark concludes that by knocking the right of our MPs to have a minimal pay increase, we run the risk of incurring in cowardly behaviours:
In the meantime, can we please stop comparing apples with oranges? Putting the 11% MP figure alongside the 1% public sector figure is completely distorting and unfair. It would be much fairer to compare it to the 2.2% figure for the average rise over the last few years. And it would also only be just to acknowledge that it is cost neutral.
Anything else is simply bullying our MPs and I really do fear where that will ultimately lead.
I’m not sure that bullying can really take place when those of us who, every five years or so now, vote our MPs in and out (but can generally do little else) have, ultimately, so little real power to influence matters at all. In the meantime, I much prefer Chris’s conclusion, as he talks of the assumptions that underpin the idea that higher salaries command better results – when, that is, with characteristic self-interest, those involved apply such advantages to those at the top of the pyramids (ie themselves):
[…] They are part of the ideology which helps sustain the wealth, power and self-love of our the managerialist parasites who rule us in business as well as politics.
And whilst initially finding myself moved to call for a petition to ask that decent MPs consider donating their pay increases to local foodbanks, in the end – after reading Mark’s piece – I saw a different way forward. This being thus: how about if all those who’ve had their incomes frozen (or even cut) for that period of time during which MPs have also suffered such indignities get to receive a similar improvement in their wages and salaries? Let’s not consider dumbing down our elected representatives’ remuneration but, rather, take advantage of the opportunity and scale up the support systems of all the pensioners, disabled, unemployed and sick that the House of Commons in its barbarically eternal togetherness has seen fit to slash, burn and destroy over the past three and a bit years.
In the meantime, and to finish with, here’s a further constructive suggestion: let’s spend more on our MPs, by all means – but not on their salaries nor on their multifarious expenses: instead, directly on their manifestly underfunded, possibly mainly non-existent, backroom operations. Why? In such a way, we could develop and construct a network of individual thinking and properly sourced research on what’s happening in the voter world out there. Unmediated by the media, we could have bright young and old things sorting in a sustainable way our MPs’ perceptions of reality. Just imagine how a governance for the people could advance in leaps and bounds, if only MPs were no longer tied to the cunningly engineered spoutings of lobbyists, think tanks and other professionally interested parties always up for a conveniently-timed parliamentary briefing.
You never know. We might even manage to put the representative back into democracy.