Monday, December 24, 2007

Snouts, Troughs

Gordon Brown has come over all ever-so-'umble, opposing an above-inflation pay rise for MPs. Ah, isn't it great to see him observing the same pay restraint he urges on other public sector workers? So principled he is, protecting us from another scandalous expose of polliticians' hypocrisy.

Bollocks to that. It's not like he's advocating a below-inflation rise, or a pay cut, like he expects lower-paid public servants to endure, is it? And it's not like MPs are exactly going to struggle on their mere £60,675 (plus £90,505 staffing allowance, incidental expenses pay of up to £21,399, and additional cost allowances of up to £23,083), is it? If you see someone begging by the cashpoint over the next few Christmas days, dig deep in your pocket, it could be your local Member of Parliament. Not.

Mind you, the PM pockets three times the pittance of a mere backbencher, trousering £187,000.

According to one report, there is "a cross-party consensus of the Commons that an annual salary of £100,000 would be a fairer reflection of MPs' worth". Yeah, and there is a cross-everybody consensus in my workplace that we all deserve a whacking pay rise - but unlike MPs, we don't get to vote for our own remuneration.

The likelihood is that MPs will vote themselves a 10% pay rise over three years, and Brown, having done precious little to stop them, will hold his hands up and protest that he did not personally support it. But even if they vote against the big rise, they can hardly pretend to be in the same boat as the teaching assistants, nurses, benefits clerks and others whose pay they are insisting on cutting.

And to think, it was the labour movement that originally fought for MPs to receive a salary at all, since the unpaid nature of the position meant that only those rich enough through other means could afford to be elected to Parliament. I hear the hum of grave-turning.

Labels: ,