Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear

Yesterday afternoon, there we were thinking that MP’s were noble and decent souls by voring through an increase in salary that was in keeping with the current need for inflation-damping restraint.

Then, in the space of a couple of hours, they take the (admittedly) small amount of goodwill that generated and furiously pissed it up the wall by maintaining much of the current system for claiming expenses, including what has now come, in the vernacular, to be called the ‘John Lewis List’ as well as the allowance for second homes.

It’s annoying, because Members of Parliament are, I think I’m fair in saying, unique in situation: they can claim entire second homes as an expense and are also in charge of policing their own behaviour. Can I do their job then?

It’s not as if I’m against MP’s claiming expenses, but some transparency is needed here, though I don’t believe the toothless Parliamentary Standards Committee the place for them to be scrutinised. How about Parliament buys property in London and allocates them to MP’s as London homes? Possibly by lottery to avoid any accusations of bias. Those living in London would, of course, be excluded because they have no need of a second home.. These homes would effectively be grace and favour accommodation and maintained and furnished centrally.

Then, just like the rest of us, MP’s would have to finance their own mortgages for their constituency homes. This seems entirely fair to me. After all, no one has twisted an arm up someone’s back and forced them to stand for election now, have they? And even this would be significantly better than the settlement most of us currently have.

As it is, those who voted for the status quo look more much cynically acquisitive than they might otherwise have done; that many cabinet ministers either did so or were conspicuous in absentia is even more discomfiting. Perhaps we get the politicians we deserve; it is increasingly starting to seem so to me. We have created a grasping, me-first society, so why are we surprised when our representatives turn out to be just like some of the rest of us?

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