More Than The Money

There was a statement by Malcolm Rifkind that everyone is jumping on and the thing that I find interesting is that most people (but not all) are jumping on the least worrisome part of it.

BRITAIN-ELECTION -RIFKINDHere it is…

“I think also if you’re trying to attract people of a business or professional background to serve in the House of Commons and if they’re not ministers it is quite unrealistic to believe they will go through their parliamentary career being able to simply accept a salary of £60,000.”

The biggest reaction to this so far has been that many who have seen it are furious at his suggestion that £60,000 is not much of a salary to be getting on with.

Now, he would defend himself by saying that he didn’t mean it was a bad salary for the plebs (probably not using those words), but rather that it was a poor salary for the type of people that he thinks we’re trying to attract to parliament.

However, I just want to put that quote up again and highlight the relevant section…

“I think also if you’re trying to attract people of a business or professional background to serve in the House of Commons and if they’re not ministers it is quite unrealistic to believe they will go through their parliamentary career being able to simply accept a salary of £60,000.”

The section in bold is what troubles me as it has so many things wrapped up inside it.

Let me spell a few of them out…

  1. Who precisely is trying to attract that kind of people to parliament?
  2. Why?
  3. Why would they be considered more useful than other members of society?
  4. Why does it sound like your talking about a job in a business rather than representative democracy?
  5. Does the fact that you are talking about attracting a certain kind of person to a job in parliament, and not about the representatives that the public choose to elect, make a mockery of the UK democratic process?
  6. What does that say about the attitude of the people already in parliament?

I’d say those questions are more worrying that what Mr Rifkind believes to be a reasonable salary.

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8 comments

  1. I think the whole MP’s pay thing is a distraction. The point is, that is what they signed up to when standing for election, and they don’t deserve any of the 60k if they don’t do the job properly. What these men should spend their time doing is representing their constituents, not touting for extra cash. Instead they are acting like parasites on the back of the democratic process. In any other job such activities would see you sacked, and rightly so.

  2. So we need more business people in parliament? Look at how the salaries of the FTSE CEO have climbed, while employees struggle on minimum wage and zero hour contracts.

    No way do we want these people in parliament.

  3. When there’s something approaching gender balance and ethnic balance in the House of Commons, when working class people have a route into high level politics and when the endemic corruption is rooted out, THEN we might worry about whether we’re getting enough lawyers and independently wealthy businessmen into Parliament. As things stand, I tend to think those people are not exactly put off a career of being extremely powerful and having access to yet more powerful people because the salary is too low. After all, the expenses are excellent, the subsidised food and drink in the fine restaurants are a great perk, the pension is spectacular and if you’ve achieved anything very much then there’s bound to be a directorship at some major financial institution in the City waiting for you when you get out of that penurious occupation.

  4. Sorry to get ma tinfoil hat oot but there’s awfy smell of fish about this. You’d have thought the likes of Rifkind would have been well looked after,
    Maybe there’s been an internal-scum fall oot and they wanted him away from that security job?

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