Britain now hates all its elected representatives, considers them all cheating scum and wants to see them suffer. That’s the impression one gets reading the blogs and public comments.
The reality is, we are pissed with our MPs and want them to go straight; this does and should not mean we kick the hell out of them until nobody with any sense or real world earning potential would ever consider a job in politics.
We need there to be good incentives for high performing people to enter politics, or we’ll quickly find exclusively mediocre people in charge of our country. You know, like New Labour.
The clamour for blood is resulting in some crazy, outré suggestions. I’ve seen proposals to limit the MP salary to the median income level in the country (proving that some bloggers didn’t study hard enough in maths), proposals to pay them the average industrial wage, even proposals to not pay wealthy MPs at all. These are clearly mad as a cat in tights and profoundly unworkable.
What does appear almost reasonable is a proposal to do away with second home expenses and provide for subsidised accommodation in London, maybe in some approved hotels or in a specialised accommodation facility, a little like a student hall of residence.
There are problems with this idea. What about spouses and children? Who would ensure there is no bugging, phone tapping or security risk to MPs? Who would handle catering etc?
The fact is, MPs are generally good, concerned people, who allowed themselves an obscene number of perks. They need to fix that, fast. But they deserve compensation for the work they do, quite apart from the enormous honour of being sent to the mother of parliaments by the people.
The people clamouring for vengeance should consider who, on average of any experience, ability and acumen would work for the mean wage. There may be some super ascetics out there, but not many.