Who would be a politician?
June 29, 2010 17 Comments
When my good friend Iain Dale decided he no longer wanted to pursue a parliamentary career I have to say that deep down I wasn’t surprised. Having stood for Parliament twice myself I know the financial (let alone personal) sacrifices that are made to fight an election.
Following the whole expenses saga I would say the whole political class has faced so much of a back lash that many capable people will just no longer want to pursue any kind of political career. Now I’m not asking for tears to be shed for the grubby expense grabbing MPs who deserve all they get, but at the same time I have seen some of the vitriol expressed towards new MPs who are actually doing their hardest to restore faith in politics.
But is it worth it? Would you be prepared to take a pay cut to initially work for up to six weeks without office or staff. Would you then be willing to have to pay for the mere basics out of your own pocket because the new expense system seems to make it that hard to claim for things legitimately (I’m talking about staplers pens etc) that elected representatives are just buying stuff themselves.
Then when they get an office they find that it takes an age for them to get IT equipment so that they struggle to answer the hundreds of letters constituents write in , the majority of which I would suggest should really be dealt with by local councillors. But of course it gets worse. In many letters where the MP can’t really help as it may not be appropriate to intervene the correspondent feels the need to have a further dig about all MPs being on the take.
Is it that bad? Well I know of people who have worked for Members for over 2 decades who have worked weekend after weekend for no pay, who could earn more in the private sector who are finally thinking of leaving their role in Parliament working for an MP. Some may say that is just a sign that change is happening, but it is much more than that. The whole role of being a Member of Parliament seems to have been so tarnished in the eyes of the public that perhaps it has become little more than being a social worker and administrator passing constituents complaints to the relevant department. Why would you be an MP when you could be a County Councillor on a few committees and probably bring in more money for much less hassle and scrutiny?
Why would you be an MP when you could look after the Comms for the organisation that looks after MPs expenses and get paid more? Why would you be an MP when everyone things you are guilty and wants you to prove you are innocent.
Isn’t about time that we stopped slamming anyone involved in politics so that we can attempt to restore some faith in the political process?