Whatever your view of Conservative MP Ben Bradshaw (he’s no Kelvin Hopkins), The Telegraph’s reporting of an associated expenses story is shameful. As one commenter on Liberal Conspiracy - ‘Minister attacks Telegraph ’smear’ as ‘homophobic’’ - rightly said, “[T]here is no suggestion in that article that Bradshaw has done actually anything wrong […] The only apparent reason that the Telegraph believes Bradshaw’s claims are newsworthy, is that Bradshaw’s other half is another man. That does seem homophobic to me.”
A less impressive post from Liberal Conspiracy caught my attention. ‘MPs are paid enough already!’ I disagree, judging by the responses from commenters I am firmly in the minority.
In a peculiar turn of events, I find that The Times are echoing my views. The thought of agreeing with a Murdoch owned newspaper is quite disturbing.
MPs are doing an important job and should be paid enough that high-quality people without independent means are financially able to do it. Being an MP is a public service and should not be a way to become rich. But nor should MPs earn only an average wage. Being an MP ought surely to pay as much as a GP or a secondary school head teacher. And inevitably that means that, say, deputy head teachers or nurses will feel that their MPs are getting something that they are not. The sensible setting of MPs' pay cannot be held hostage by this sentiment, however understandable it might be. […]
The pay of MPs should be placed entirely in the hands of an outside body, insulated from the ups and downs of political opinion and concerned only with the market for professionals capable of being good legislators. […] The allowance should, therefore, be abolished and the sum incorporated into MPs' salary so that they are paid £90,000 a year. […] the correct number of MPs should be determined in a separate debate.
This pretty much expresses my views. However, I am less than comfortable with the final point.
Finally, we should not insist that MPs give up all outside interests. Some argue that such work makes them better MPs. Let this be tested. If there were primaries, allowing voters to choose among candidates for the parties, then this assertion would be judged by voters.I may address these separate issues in more detail at later date.
Anyway, for a better argument against my own Stumbling and Mumbling look at ‘MPs' wages’ does a much better job than Liberal Conspiracy.