I am an MP I need to be compensated

Before politicians decide they need a pay rise, as inevitably they will loose many of their perks and argue strongly they require a pay rise in compensation, it is time for an examination the career aspirations of politicians.

Political spin

Political spin

We frequently hear politicians proclaiming, what an honour it is to serve their constituents. I do not wish on this entry to look at the relationship between politicians and those they are meant to serve, rather, to question the expectations politicians have of their ‘career’.

A precept has crept in to politicians minds that they have the right to a career as an MP, through the path of: Hopeful candidate; safe seat; established MP; Minister and possibly to Chancellor or Prime Minister and they appear to assume this is their right of passage.

Disregarding their success on the political career path, many MPs secure plum roles in industry, way above their capability, barring their contacts in Government.

I would argue there is no case for a career path expectation.

Does any one vote in their MP on the basis they need a career and promotion? (Other than the unrepresented consituents for whom the Speaker of the House is their uncontested representative, which is a different debate), Politicians assume this to be the case.

It is due to this career path acceptance, that politicians now insist they require second jobs and a higher salary.

This mind set needs to be reviewed.

A politician is voted in for a period of office and only that period of office. They do not have a right to become an MP leading to a career path.

We will undoubtedly hear a call for politicians to be paid a higher salary in the coming months, but this has no foundation.

The argument provided by MPs is that they could secure a higher salary were they not serving the country; in very few cases would this be true. The majority of MPs are able to secure a decent salary, only after a stint as an MP.

As two simple examples, John Major, turned down to be a Bus Conductor, became the Prime Minister and now secures substantial fees for public speaking. I won’t here question how a failed bus conductor with no money managed to purchase a large property in his constituency just on an MPs salary.

John Prescott a ships steward, who sunk to the position of Deputy Prime Minister, now, secures significant payments for public engagements.

Would a failed Bus Conductor and a Ships Steward, (albeit Prescott became a Shop Steward) really have become household names demanding large appearance fees were it not for their stint in the political arena?

It is pertinent to consider what Politicians expect out of their move in to politics; evidently many see this as a right of passage.

For certain there are politicians who are on a successful career path and would expect to obtain high office in their chosen profession. However it is they who choose to become politicians not someone forcing them. Those on successful career paths appear to see this is a short cut to more fame and power and it is not acceptable.

The premise that a politician has a right to a long career in politics is the root of the problem and this expectation sits in stark contrast to the proclamation that ‘serving my constituents is a privilege’.

There is no reason why an MP takes a second job. If the role is worth the £60,000 a year, then there is no time for a second job.

The fatuous argument that ‘I need to keep in touch with “real people”’, is easily countered; when a politician feels they have lost touch, stand down, take a different job and if latterly they wish to continue as a politician, seek re-election. The counter argument being of course: but then you are left with politicians who know nothing about running a country.

There are plenty of counter arguments to this, including the argument the Conservative Party will present at the next election, never mind one of the most influential politicians in the world, the President of the United States, who doesn’t need a career in politics to be elected to power.

There is no acceptable reason politicians require a higher basic salary on obtaining office as an MP. They have 113 day holiday a year, the trite rubbish about constituency surgeries is a nonsense, (try making an appointment for a surgery in most constituencies) and for the first year of any administration, most people are on a learning curve.

If they wish to serve the people, that is well and good, there are no excuses for second jobs or higher salaries unless the precept that politicians quote is the accepted position.

‘…We need a higher salary to secure the best people and we need second jobs so that we stay in touch….’

If peole wish to serve their constituents, then salary is a lesser argument if it is only a five year term rather than a career option and a second job is irrelevant.

The role of an MP should be to serve their constituents. An argument rages in this country as to whether we vote for a person or a party, which is yet another debating point. In the voting publics mind, there is not a perception that we vote in someone to enhance their career, yet over the coming months this will be unspoken basis of the ongoing argument for a pay rise.

MPs should not have a second job and neither do they need a higher salary. If they do not like the salary the position carries, don’t stand for office. If they feel the need for a second job to ‘keep in touch’ they have been in the role too long.

Aside from all of that, please do not call for MPs to stand down until the contracts for new MPs are changed.

An MP is entitled to a tax free pay off of almost £40,000 if they are voted out of office and more gallingly even though this is written in to their contract, unlike every one else in this Country, who has a severance pay entitlement, they do no have to pay tax on it.

Yes, it was MPs who voted for this exclusion from taxation.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] The argument of a second job is a non-sequitor. Claiming as they do that MPs work a hard full-time job, there is no room for a second job, else it becomes a circular argument. I have posited this whole argument on a different article ‘I am an MP I need to be comensated‘. [...]

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