Monday, May 11, 2009

The State of Democracy

We're 4 days into the Expenses scandal in UK Parliament with no end in sight to the revelations.  Today it's the turn of the Tories to face the scrutiny of the press with allegations that senior ministers 'flipped' their homes several times a year in order to claim the maximum amount possible in expenses.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is disgusted by the blatant greed of our politicians in the face of a growing recession.  I think what makes this one hard to fix is that throwing out Labour doesn't solve the issue.  All parties are guilty because the problem is at the heart of having 600+ people in positions were they can set their own salaries and expenses without true public scrutiny.

There was a time (granted it was hundreds of years ago!) that public service was viewed exactly as that; a service.  Of course corruption in politics is as old as Margaret Thatcher (and she's fucking old!), but the level of corruption this time round is quite hard to believe.

Anyway... I have figured out a solution to this problem that doesn't involve revolting against tptb and overthrowing all before us.

Here's the plan...
  • MPs get a salary
  • If the MP lives outside of a certain range (say 50 miles) they get a rented apartment in London in acceptable commuter distance to Westminster
  • The rented apartment should be nice but not OTT (2 bedroom furnished property in a nice area)
  • For those that live inside the range (50 miles) they can friggin commute like every other person has to.  The state can be fair, they can have their travel expenses paid for (but no travelling by helicopter or golden carriage)
  • No more expenses for furnishings
  • No more getting mortgages for second homes
  • Oh... and no more hiring your entire family to be PAs in your constituency office, they can still have money to set this office up and run it, but it has to be staffed through proper recruitment process rather than jobs for the boys (and wifes and mistresses and illegitimate sons!)
If an MP cannot survive on the basic £64,766 per year, plus free travel to work, plus a free, furnished apartment in London then they should quit and let people do the job who actually still believe that public service is about serving the public rather than lining their pockets.
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