Tuesday, 31 March 2009

MPs get a bad press

There have been recent stories about the outer London MPs who get expenses for another home within inner London. It does sound wrong that an MP should need another home a few miles from their ‘real’ home and the system needs an overhaul. There is a quote from Lord Acton that says 'power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely', so we need to make sure that there is a system of checks within government. He went on to say 'great men are almost always bad men'. Jacqui Smith wasn't around at the time but anyone in power is 'almost always' bad. We definitely need to restrain the power of individuals.

If someone said to you that you could have £100 per week if you did some work in a relative’s house a few miles away then you would look for the advantages in working there and emphasise them till they become a need. Maybe you would have to be offered £1000 before you found that need, but my point is that the system is just wrong. By all means claim what needs to be claimed but can you drive twenty minutes to get home and then get travel expenses?

Pay MPs well and do give expenses for essential constituency work but how did we get a system that meant pay-per-view TV 9or at least this level of detail) was an expense? Keeping up with events is a requirement for the post but surely this should be covered by a salary. The two advantages with this system of expenses are that an MP can say they don't get paid well, and secondly their bonus of expenses to go about their job means that the bonus is tax free.

Change the world.

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