Wednesday, 5 January 2011

MP sleaze - No Turning Back

Something incredibly important happened last year. Without ever formally being asked, the British public decided almost universally that MPs should no longer be regarded as privileged. We made it clear that we want to hold the financial rewards of MPs at about the level of commercial middle managers, without additional perks or special treatment over and above standard commercial practice. Nicholas Winterton's defence on R5 of first class rail travel at the taxpayer's expense, Eric Pickles' savaging on Question Time over his inability to understand that MPs aren't a special case (What, like a job, Mr Pickles?) and the stunned audience reaction to Margaret Beckett's similar claims on the radio version are still just the tip of the iceberg; most MPs still don't get it, and won't accept it. 

Cameron has already signalled to the House that he thinks MPs can now get away with reversing some of the reforms, and in particular getting rid of the bothersome IPSA, and that he will quietly nod such changes through. No doubt he imagines that at this stage in the Parliamentary term he can get away with it, that we will have forgotten our outrage of 2010 by 2015. In this he is grievously mistaken.  

The reaction of Sir Ian Kennedy, the IPSA's chair, has rightly been to affirm that he wants to hear our views - the views of the British public - before any changes are made. He said so in a press release on 16th December, and has reaffirmed this yesterday to the BBC. Cameron is probably doing everything he can to engineer legislative changes before the public can be consulted - he may even block Sir Ian's consultation. I urge you therefore to support Sir Ian in ensuring the we, the British public, are given our say.    


Edward Spalton said...

It was in 1971 that the beginnings of MPs' pernsion, perks and expenses culture took root. It was at the time when negotiations to join the Common Market were at their height. I cannot help thinking that the negotiators saw how well their continental counterparts did themselves and thought they would like a bit of that. It would also help to quieten the consciences and sweeten the lives of the more pliable hon. members.

"My evidence was against any increase in remuneration or any increase in allowances of any kind and to the effect that the facilities available to members were already larger than conduced to the best possible discharge of their duties...These motions will contribute to bring about a marked alteration in the status of hon. members of this House. I have deliberately chosen the expression "contribute to bring about", for when there is a trend or tendency it is rarely possible to point to any one event and say "That event, that decision was decisive:everything after it was different to everything that came before"..........

...The change which will come about as a result of this alteration in our status - because of our becoming increasingly assimilated to full time, pensioned employees - is that those who have the voice to say whether we shall or shall not be candidates of our party at a General Election gain a great accession of power over the individual and thereby over the House".

Quoted from Hansard by Stuart Wheeler in his book "A Crisis of Trust" (Bruges group)

hatfield girl said...

Enoch Powell is usually right, ES, which explains the levels of viciousness attained in smearing him as a racialist.

Budgie said...

Cameron obviously has no slave to whisper that he is but mortal. He may be more personable than Brown but the delusions of power are going to his head just as surely. He is increasingly showing signs of the same detachment from reality.