2 MIN RANT: MPs’ expenses. How does the rest of the country manage?

Millions of people filed their expenses last month. Millions of people filed their expenses without a special helpline, without an expenses watchdog checking that they were following the rules that they had agreed upon themselves, and without much opportunity to renegotiate any declined claims.

Just how do we all manage? Perhaps I should explain to my boss that I am simply incapable of keeping to the expenses rules in my contract of employment, that he (he, not I), need to pay £6 million to have a special watchdog make sure I’m doing what he tells me to do. And if that doesn’t work, a special hotline where I can call at any time of the day, (also at his expense), if I find it all just too confusing.

In fact, maybe I will. I think he could do with a laugh.


11 thoughts on “2 MIN RANT: MPs’ expenses. How does the rest of the country manage?

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  1. We don’t have the same spotlight shone on our affairs though do we? I wouldn’t swap life in a goldfish bowl, surrounded by people desperate to catch you out, for a helpline.

  2. Number one in a list of 500! But there is a real problem getting enough people who have less than saintly pasts (or presents) to seek representative office. Do we want to be governed by a class of squeeky-clean robots and normal people forever frightened of making an error that business people make every day or by people that look like us? That’s not a plea for absolution for all fraud in politicians, but FFS, Cabinet ministers unable to travel first class on the train with their secretaries to get some correspondence sorted?

  3. People with a past are fine. People are incapable of understanding what “directly necessary to carrying out the duties of your office” means is not. It’s about holding them to the same standards as the rest of us – no special treatment in either direction please.

  4. No special treatment indeed – but anyone with the responsibilities of an MP in a business would travel first class on expenses etc etc etc. The special treatment is not special but commensurate with what goes on elsewhere – in fact, it’s well below. No special treatment for Media execs too?

    No way I’d stand for anything other than parent governor at my kid’s primary school. I’m too old and too lacking in ambition and drive (possibly talent too) and always was.

    You’re not though…

  5. Media execs, and anyone in the private sector can do what they like. It’s their own money, not our taxes.

    Nah I’d be useless, I get too angry! And I’m too sensitive, I’d hate being in newspapers and stuff. I’d probably go nuts and hang myself in a basement somewhere lol.

  6. And what a monumental waste of taxpayers’ money it is to have MPs who want to work while they travel (and they travel a lot) forced into spaces in which they cannot. And those Media Execs and others don’t offset the first class travel against tax?

    My point is one of equitable treatment for the responsibility of the job. Pay MPs 150k per year and they can pay their upgrades travel and that of secretaries, not on 60k or so.

  7. Well, I think comparing public service salaries to private sector salaries driven by profit is a large part of this problem. I compare MPs to other public sector workers. I’m afraid I don’t see social workers who need to work on the train (and their work is much more sensitive and quite frankly important than most of what MPs do) getting first class travel, and their salaries are much lower. Is being an MP really that much harder than being a headteacher in a rough school, managing a team of social workers, or being a nurse on call in a psychiatric ward? Really? How many MPs could honestly do those jobs, and do them properly? I’m not saying it’s the easiest job in the world but £60k a year is about right for the public sector and plenty of people on that salary can afford to travel first class.

    But first class train fares is just one example, and it’s not the particular issue I’m most fussed about. My blog post was about the fact that they need a special hotline to sort out their expenses, and that there is all this flapping around. How many people in the country, public sector or private, with any amount of money, do that? They need to suck it up and get on with it I’m afraid, like everybody else does.

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