MPs pay rise scandal: “They said pretend we’ve got no money…”
HALF a million people are reported to be relying on food banks in Oxfam’s Below The Breadline report taken to the house of Lords for debate this afternoon – dismissed by Lord Freud, but more on that later.
In what could easily be mistaken for a woefully out of touch parallel universe, Members of Parliament are considering giving themselves a pay rise, in addition to their £65,000 a year salaries, and expenses. You know, the moats and the Laura Ashley curtains and the like. The valuable use of the taxpayers money on making second and third homes “nice”. If you ask me, I’d rather have an extra member of staff at the local Sure Start children’s centre, but nobody asked me. But why did nobody ask me? Or you? Or any of us? I thought this was a democracy – but it seems the only people that want the MPs to snort more taxpayers money out of the alarmingly short public purse, are MPs.
In January, an Independent Parliamentary Standards Association revealed that 69% of MPs think that they deserve a pay rise. As the poll was anonymous, it is suddenly impossible to identify whether those clamouring through the press that they wouldn’t accept the raise, were those eagerly (anonymously) deciding that they should be paid over £100,000 a year. The average results of the poll were as follows:
LABOUR MPs thought that they deserved an average salary of £77,322 per year.
LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MPs thought that they deserved an average salary of £78,361 per year.
And with no surprises, CONSERVATIVE MPs thought that they deserved an annual salary of £86,740 a year.
8% of them thought that they deserved over £100,000 a year.
Our current “public servants” seem to have forgotten that they were initially paid a wage at all in order to encourage working class people to represent their communities.
Their current wage, £66,000 a year basic rate, not including additional payments for sitting on committees, expenses, or allowances, is approximately three times the national average wage.
I haven’t done a poll, but how many firemen, teachers, nurses, postmen, shop assistants do we actually have in the Houses of Parliament? And how many professional politicians, that went from University to an internship at the Houses Of Parliament, or to work for an MP, and have never done anything else?
How many MPs have even been to their local food bank – (mine has, James Duddridge, Conservative MP) – let alone have any idea what life is like for the half a million people struggling below the poverty line and reliant on handouts every day? And what are they doing apart from photo opportunities and lip service, if they’re capping benefits at 1%, but giving themselves a £10,000 pay rise?
But we’re all in it together, remember. Leader of the Lib Dems Nick Clegg might whinny to the national press under pressure that he “wouldn’t accept” a pay rise, but will he whip his members into doing the same? Or will he turn it down because he can live comfortably on his hefty salary, and it will be good PR for him to look “like a man of the people.” Please. Reduce your salary down to minimum wage and live in a council house on £71 a week for all bills and food for a month, and then tell me that you’re a man of the people and you’re doing the right thing.
I had the same outrage at Iain Duncan Smith, claiming that he could live on £53 a week. Of course he could, in his wife’s big posh house, with his big posh things, a nicely stocked larder and all the home comforts a man could possibly want or need. Try doing it in a single bedroom, with your child sleeping on a mattress on the floor, with no food in the cupboard and no heating to turn on. Try it then, and tell me that we’re all in it together. Tell me how easy it is.
Job seekers and people on income support receive £71 a week for food and bills. MPs receive £140 a week for food, and can claim their bills as expenses.
They say there’s no money for libraries, for children’s centres, for police officers and benefits – yet they can justify an unstoppable pay rise for themselves? How?
As I have said before – we are not a country of middle aged, middle class white men with private educations – so why in hell are we governed by them? Are we really not collectively angry enough at how it’s all playing out, to go to the polling stations and vote them out?
But we’re all in it together, remember. It’s just that some of us are apparently in our living rooms with the blinds drawn to ride out 52” HD 3D TVs and fiddle jobs and nine illegitimate children that we’re claiming every type of benefit on earth for, and some of us are too busy guzzling away at the trough to notice the underpinnings of a decent society is collapsing around their knees.
I was asked a few weeks ago, completely seriously, if I would stand for Parliament in Southend.
I said no, because I’m currently writing a book and doing 101 other things that mean that I wouldn’t be able to commit to the election campaign for the next 18 months as much as I would like to. I am often told to go into politics, by blog readers, friends, strangers – and I agree that there is only so much shouting at the rain and raging against the machine that I can do.
But right now, the thought of joining that Parliament, with it’s ridiculous salary, corrupt culture and complete lack of values, saddens me. That culture and lifestyle will only attract a certain type of person, and it isn’t me. It needs to change. They make a murmuring noise every now and again about having more “real people” in Parliament – but then alienate those “real people” by deciding to give themselves pay rises, while the rest of us scrabble to feed our children in biting, wounding austerity.
As the great Billy Bragg said:
“The factories are closing
And the armies are full
I don’t know what I’m going to do.
I’ve come to see
In the land of the free
That there’s only a future for the chosen few.”
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe
Beautifully put, Jack – couldn’t agree more.
Accurate and succinct.
IMO they should be subject to the pay freezes/increases as the rest of the public sector i.e. 3 years of a pay freeze and then a paltry 1% increase.
They’d soon do something to get the economy growing again…
Politics does need more ordinary people. I did it for 3 years on a Town Council as an independent (trying to stop a massive Tesco) and it was a horrible experience. I truly think you have to view politics as a career otherwise you’d crack up, because those who give a damn, take it personally. Those who don’t give a damn view it as a job. Real people like you and I Jack just don’t have the energy as we’re trying to survive life and have nothing left to give.
Politics is full of ordinary people. I also was a councillor for four year though have not been a member of a political party since the last General Election. I think the idea that people are some different from the rest of us does not stand up to any examination. I accept that being an independent is probably harder because there isn’t the same level of mutual group support but for the most part – and I include the people I was opposed to in this – most were honourable people trying to a good job for the local area. The fact that they may have been in favour of the “massive” Tesco’s does not make them bad people
Well said jack.
Martin Lewis had a poll today on how much people thought mps should he paid. He thought they should be paid more (which wa against the general view of his audience unspringly) – something along the lines a a court judge & that he knew MPs who worked job hours and cared very much. I replied that if that were the criteria for a wage like that then why aren’t nurses paid that much?!
I understand part of what he’s trying to say, that not *all* MPs are money grabbing no ethics/moral having idiots – and the minority might be tarring the majority, but quite frankly, as you touchéd on above – if that’s the case then now MPs know how people on benefits who are tarred with that same brush feel.
Someone else tweeted they should be paid a lot as they are running the country for us and it a important as someone doing heart surgery – well they’re not running the country very well – why don’t they get put on performance related pay?
I think you would be amazing in politics but at the same time, I agree that so many people in politics seem to be vile human beings that I’m not sure it’s the way forward.
It’s so unbelievably out of touch, it just beggars belief
That’s interesting about Martin Lewis, a few years ago David Mitchell wrote a piece where he also said that MPs should get paid more, not because they work long hours and care so much, but because most of our current MPs are basically not suitable for the job, and a higher salary would attract better, more capable people to the roles. He wrote that piece back in 2008 though, so I’d be interested to see if he still holds the same views 5 years on, especially considering how bad things have gotten since then.
I understand his reasoning, in theory a higher salary should produce better people for the role and I’m sure that in many other industries that works (but then this is in part due to the differences between the Public and Private sectors; the Public sector’s lack of accountability is appalling to say the least, allowing people who are incompetent at their jobs to make poor, flippant decisions and contributing horrendously to so much wasted money…but that is another rant altogether!), but I disagree when it comes to MPs.
As Jack and others have said, the very culture of Parliament at the moment only attracts a certain type of person, and by increasing the salary it is just going to further incentivise more people from Cameron’s boys’ club to run for Parliament out of greed rather than the ordinary people who we so desperately need. It is a shame that more people don’t take interest in local politics, it’s the only way we will get true representitives of the average person.
It just makes me want to cry – in sheer frustration.
so, how much should MPs be paid, and why?
‘how much should MPs be paid, and why?’
I’m no socialist but MPs ‘deserve’ a living wage ( as does everyone else for that matter ) and that’s it. Many of them are successful in other lines of business and/or go on to have lucrative speaking and publishing careers…in any line of work of making decisions for other people and telling people what they should be doing it’s important to be seen to be maintaining those values to avoid the charge of hypocrisy- it doesn’t seem very honourable to take more than a fair share for oneself whilst advising others to accept cuts etc.
The practicality of living in or near Westminster, one of the most expensive postcodes, could be mitigated by moving the Parliament or increased use of electronic technologies, or by providing MP hostels.
With most people in the UK now having access to a computer and internet and mobile phones those same technologies could be utilised to provide greater referendum activity and enhance democracy.
There are no easy answers- but there are always solutions if people want to look for them and be open to them.
Maintaining historic protocol or tradition should not be allowed to undermine a democracy.
That is exactly what happened last year with the Church of England refusing the rights of women to become bishops when 26 CofE bishops automatically have seats in the House of Lords.
Any democracy must necessarily embrace equality, fairness, justice and though not so popular these days- a sense of honour in recognising and taking care of these things from the people who would seek positions as societal leaders.
I think the “two homes” issue could be solved by building a block of flats for MPs in London, in which they have to live when they’re in Westminster – some countries already do this. They should probably pay a subsidiised rent. Council housing for MPs, sort of thing. That would reduce expenses dramatically.
MPs’ argument for salary is that they should be paid the equivalent of a similar executive position in the private sector. Since there *is* no similar position in the private sector, they tend to make up the similarities – the chief executive of BP is paid several hundred thousand pounds, for example, and that means the PM should be paid a similar salary, in order to attract the “very best”. Lol! The reason politics doesn’t attract the “very best” has nothing to do with salaries.
The minute you go into politics, your life becomes an open book. I wouldn’t do it for just that reason.
Added to which, most MPs have never really left school – they went to university with their peers, then off to political internships with the same people, then politics … well, they’ve never had any real world experience. It’s an exclusive club, briefly penetrated by working people sponsored by the Unions (the old Labour party), but now back to what it was before – a bunch of privileged “posh boys” with no idea how real people live.
I think that politicians should take a long hard look at how they live and where that money is coming from. They say that people shouldn’t choose welfare as a lifestyle … but, since their salaries come from exactly the same place as jobseekers and income support (ie taxes), doesn’t that make their salaries a form of welfare, too?
I’m rambling …
Yeah, as someone said, why is it only MP’s and leaders in business and judges and basically the very well paid jobs at the top that must be well paid to attract the ‘very best people’ anyway? Why don’t we use that criteria for nurses, school teachers, firemen, carers of all kinds and so on? Why is always a priority to attract ‘the best’ when they are talking about the rich and privileged and not for everybody else? The inference being that ordinary people don’t count and only the wealthy and connected and already ludicrously privileged have a right to prosper and plan for the future whilst the rest of us struggle on in some way.
It is also a closed shop, like most institutions. How many top politicians, judges, barristers, top cops, top civil servants, merchant bankers, and even the BBC and other corporations have people from poorer Working class backgrounds in good positions in them? It doesn’t seem that many to be honest. They are usually and predominantly white, male, Middle class, well educated, well spoken, privileged, often from London or the South East, with the token Working class person, black or Asian person for good measure, and they are usually establishment types in some way. Yes, we are ruled by privileged posh boys with no experience at all of how ordinary people live, and so no empathy whatsoever of any kind, and only compassion for themselves and the immediate family and friends. Are we a democracy or a private gentleman’s club after all?
To add insult to injury, the same people who are cossetted from birth to death with every advantage are rather strangely the same people who attack others for wanting the same things as themselves. Don’t we all want better lives after all?
Until we demand change, and start challenging privilege of all kinds, we will remain a backward undemocratic country run not for the majority but for a contemptuous elite who care nothing for democracy or other people if they are poor.
The only time politicians are interested in us is when they need our vote, or if they think that by helping one of us with a problem they might get some good PR which could possibly result in them getting promotion and even more money.
Great post. However Billy Bragg also said that the biggest problem we have to overcome in order to make change, is cynicism. I, however, think greed is as big a problem.
You are right on many points. However remember that people have the government that they voted for.
I get immensely irritated by people from all walks of life and political persuasion who complain and then admit not having voted. Not your case, thank goodness.
I also spend a lot of time cajoling people to vote, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that we shouldn’t complain because we voted them in (I realise this isn’t precisely what you said, but it is said often). I vote for the person I think is least bad, not the person I would actually prefer, because there is rarely any such person standing. My view is that politicians should not be allowed to be MPs unless they have done something else for a certain period of time, but I don’t know how workable that would be in practice.
We vote for these so called MP’s to represent us in parliament and what happens when they get there? It doesn’t matter what party they’re from, 99% of them forget that they are there to represent the people of this country, the people who put them there to right the wrongs of previous Government’s. They fall into the same trap as all those that went before and become greedy SOB’s, put themselves first and forget about the ordinary men, women and children who are now struggling to live in this mess they have created! Lets see them live on £71.00 a week! Sorry about the rant but I’m about to lose my house.
Sorry, I forgot about Lord Freud. Tell him to look at North Enfield a London Borough that is supposed to be well off. A food bank was opened in May 2012 and they were overwhelmed by demand and had to open a new food bank in a warehouse in February 2013! now open 3 days a week instead of 2.( http://www.northenfield.foodbank.org.uk) It’s not just the so called poor parts of the UK, it’s all over the UK, all over the world! You just need to open your eye’s and see Lord Freud, just see!!!
Martin, they know these things because they are the architects of them. Appealing to most of these people is like appealing to a crocodile not to eat you! And I am being serious.
I think what is missing from the discussion is the fact that MP’s don’t get to decide on their salaries and for once Jack I think you are missing the point. I doubt there is a single group if you polled them wouldn’t think they deserve a pay rise. Why would MP’s be any different? They are human too. No really most of them are!
Martin – What is a “so-called MP”?
The point is, in an anonymous survey, most of them wanted a pay rise. They might bleat that it isn’t their decision – but IPSA is a byproduct of the expenses scandal – which was very much their making.
In an anonymous survey most people in every walk of life would probably want a pay rise. However they wont get to got anonymously – and I suspect the public vote will be somewhat different to a private one. I am pretty confident that no such pay increase will happen;lp
All the expenses scandal proved that a handful of MP’s are corrupt – and when given a semi blank cheque they will take what they can get. Rather like the rest of the general public.
Reblogged this on …and other stories.
No I don’t think MPs should get a pay rise when the rest of the working people in the country are experiencing pay cuts and freezes. However, I do get annoyed at the seemingly constant attack on anyone that either has money or does well in business and makes some money (funny how a ‘hard worker’ does well and then seems to morph into a ‘fat cat’ in the eyes of so many). Good for them I say! I don’t begrudge the fact that IDS lives in his wife’s nice house and I have no issue with him. Our personal circumstances are not the government’s fault. We all have personal responsibility for our actions and our decisions.
I totally agree with you that the expenses scandal was shocking but I think things have changed and I don’t think it is fair to suggest that all MPs are ripping us off any more than it would be fair to say that all of us claiming benefits and/or tax credits are ripping the country off.
The more someone earns, the more tax they pay towards running the country (unless they are in the minority that have one of those ‘handy’ offshore fiddles going on, of course). So no I don’t begrudge anyone living in a nice house and having money in their pocket, good for them.
We live in a democracy, and are incredibly lucky to do so. If we don’t like our government, we have the power to change it, or even be a part of it. If we are so angry, and really believe we can do a better job ourselves, then we have the opportunity to make it our priority to try. For that I think we are incredibly lucky.
What’s democratic about a bunch of people that the public elected, getting a pay rise that the public don’t want them to have?
As I said, I definitely don’t think MPs should be getting a pay rise given the hard times we are all experiencing. However, of course they are going to say they think they should have a pay rise. Just like the rest of us think we should have one too. It doesn’t mean we necessarily deserve one or are going to get one though. I’m not sure what the alternative system for reviewing MPs pay rises in a democracy should be – we obviously can’t all vote on each pay rise proposal can we?
What about a blanket rule that basic pay rises should be in line with their own recommendations for public sector pay? (Currently frozen for 3 years…)
Yes, I think that would tell me (and more importantly show me) that the government means it when they say that we are all in this together. Fair play to you I’m with you on that one Jack!
Politics should never be a “career choice” it should be a calling. These people are bastards. That is all
All of them?
with you every way,folks need to start saying yes you do the job pay minimum wage,
Yes, I think that would tell me (and more importantly show me) that the government means it when they say that we are all in this together. Fair play to you I’m with you on that one Jack!
I should have put it across in the original article but i aimed for 400 words, pulled a face at 800 and drew the line at 1,100!! 🙂
You might not want them to have it, but a lot of other people do. I don’t think you should claim to speak for ‘the public’. That comes across as arrogant. Personally I don’t feel MPs are paid enough at all – especially when you look at what other public servants such as doctors and head teachers get paid. This just sounds like jealous ranting to me. If we want the best politicians to run our country and negotiate with the rest of the world we have to pay them accordingly. It does not mean I, or they are not insensitive to people without or who are struggling. Quite frankly I’m fed up with all the whinging about ‘other people earning more than me’ – there is nothing to stop you, or anyone else going into politics if you want to earn a politician’s salary. I found your blog interesting and challenging when you were talking about your personal situation and how you dealt with it and also what you would do to change things. But the constant negativity about what others are doing or have is turning me off. It seems I am the only one, but I guess what you will end up doing is just preaching to the ‘converted’ rather than making a difference sadly.
how many mps would there be if they did the job for the love of the country getting minimum wage like a person as me ,my husband died early in is life, i now have been told that i will be taxed on my widows benifit my wage is nothing as i am on minimum wage my tax code is 587 how is this fair no they are not any different than me if they want to do that job get paid the same as the rest of us miniimum wage.
I don’t think that the point was to bitch about how much MP’s get paid rather the fact that they are having a £10000 pay rise when the rest of the public sector are not. Teachers, doctors, nurses etc all work VERY hard in their respective professions yet they are not getting a pay rise.
Personally, whilst we are in austerity, I think it is tactless for them to accept the pay rise. If we were in a good economic situation, then I would probably see it differently.
I here what you say about not standing for Parliament but I can’t help feeling that the only way anything is going to change is if a number of ordinary folk stood & hopefully got in. Then they would be able to tell folk what really goes on in Westminster, which might open a few eyes & maybe even change the system from the inside. I don’t see what alternative there is. There are acres of real & virtual print saying how bad the situation is for folk but nothing changes. (By the way love your blog- no dig intended. Without people like you elegantly summing the situation up we would be worse off). The only way is for ordinary folk to try & take control. The rich & elites have had control up to now. Maybe it’s time for a change?
‘I can’t help feeling that the only way anything is going to change is if a number of ordinary folk stood & hopefully got in.’ Where does all the campaign money come from though? And how can a person with no private wealth who has to do a job have the time to spare?
‘The only way is for ordinary folk to try & take control. The rich & elites have had control up to now. Maybe it’s time for a change?’
Agreed; but how?
1. I remember some years ago reading that unless you became a millionaire by being and MEP then you were a fool and/or a failure
2. We are not now good at publicly displaying our anger at the establishment for three reasons -1. Tony Blair went to war in Iraq despite1m marching through London against it. I do not condone the riots but the sentences handed down made many think that might have been me 3. I might lose the roof over my families head or not be able to pay the bills.
Divide and rule and use fear as the best weapon.
Aren’t MPs “Public Sector”? If so, they should get a pay rise in line with their decision of no more than a 1% rise. Or is it a 1% rise for all public sector workers EXCEPT THEM? OK, some of them work long hours,work hard and care. So do thousands of nurses,teachers,doctors,care workers,carers,teaching assistants(I could go on and on) so where is the £10,000 a year rise for them? My son works in the public sector and works very hard at demanding physical work and he hasn’t had a pay rise in four years. He is single and managing to stay afloat but the married men with families where he works are having to sell off their cars and in some cases their houses. They are struggling to pay bills and worried sick about providing for children. So it seems we have a two tier public sector—-the vast majority of public sector workers and—- MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT with all expenses paid,second homes,decent pensions,extra money for committee work and a decent salary already. Nobody pays my son to get to work or for finding a home that is near his work: his salary is not decent and financial inroads are being made into his pension,as well as having to work longer for it. Do I think MPs should have a £10,000 pay rise????!!!
Jack You should stand for Parliament. You have to change things from the inside. Just make sure they don’t suck you in. Good luck.
‘You might not want them to have it, but a lot of other people do.’
I’ve seen several newspaper polls online and there was virtually no public support for MP pay rises.
How do MPs arrive at their salary structure anyway?
‘There is no science to the setting of MPs’ pay. In a marketplace, pay reflects productivity, competition, experience, bargaining power, education and so on. A total of 169 MPs do receive money for additional duties, such as chairing a select committee or being a whip. But the principle of equal basic pay for MPs is firmly established. Ipsa considered and quickly rejected taking into account factors such as other professional experience, tenure or some measure of performance.
Instead it uses rules of thumb. Over the past 20 years, MPs’ pay has been approximately three times that of average earnings. This is seen as about right but for what reason remains a wonderful mystery. Then there are the comparisons with professions that the public says are similar to MPs, such as general practitioners, police commissioners and head teachers. Why these have been chosen rather than, say, other professions from which we would want to attract politicians, is also a mystery.’
( John McDermott, Financial Times yesterday http://www.ft.com/home/us )
What we could be asking is why so many people in the middle and at the top get such vast salaries and yet those at the bottom are on minimum wage. Question the whole thing and we start asking pertinent questions and even some decent answers.
Yet more proof of the total disdain MP’s (the vast majority at least) show to those who need the most help. Thank goodness for people like you Jack!!
Jack, our state politicians (qld, Australia) have just given themselves a 40% pay rise after sacking thousands of public servants, and embarking on a campaign to cut funding to so many public services – or privatise them. I’ve lost all faith in our politicians, our political system and the ability of my peers to choose the best path for our country – people voted these guys in!! The world needs people like you, in or out of the political system, to try and galvanise people to insist on change. You do it any way you can Jack – you have my utter respect and my admiration – I wish there were more of you!
please try to get as many persons of the same view as you before you end up like England
That was funny I laughed out loud about the… There’s plenty of people out there that want them to get a pay rise …now that was funny 🙂
Reblogged this on HUMAN RIGHTS & POLITICAL JOURNAL.
In the words of Mr. Bridger, “Camp Freddy, everybody in the world is bent!”.
MPs, Government, Politicians etc. do not work for the people, their primary role is to facilitate commerce.
Analogy: a bunch of professional judges pick the initial candidates from 1000s of wannabess at the Pop Idiot auditions. This is similar to how the parties choos which MPs will stand for election. Then, the public votes for who they want to win Pop Idiot. The fact the winner was chosen by the public doesn’t mean the winner is working for the public any more than an MP is working for the constituents that voted for them. In both cases they’re working towards their own ends.
Only a fool would think otherwise after examining the way politicians work.
Sure, every now and then a naive idealist who thinks they can change the world stands for election, but these people never get anywhere because politics is a dirty business. They cannot impliment any change without the support of other politicians – and that’s why change never happens and why the idealist either quits or becomes just like the others.
We live in the best time to be alive and opportunity abounds. The best thing people can do in life is try to avoid government – avoid relying on it’s services, avoid working for it and avoid giving the b*%tards your money. Since 1971, our taxes haven’t been used to pay for services – they’re a mechanism for controlling inflation – so don’t fear services will be cut through lack of money. It’s party ideology that determins if services are to be strengthend or cut – not the BS fiscal constraints the government uses as an excuse to drive through their agenda.
It’s now obvious that decent people of all classes, the rich, the poor, black and white, Asian, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, working, unemployed and whatever have to start standing up and taking back democracy, by solely PEACEFUL means, by pointing out hypocrisy, double standards and all the injustices that are being foisted on many of us by people who have power, wealth and privilege. It is also obvious that the most extreme form of capitalism, profit at all any cost, is only working for the rich and the lucky few who get on and forge careers for themselves. It is not about social cohesion, not about justice and it is not about building fair societies, but all about destroying the earth so that a relative few can live securely whilst the rest of us struggle in all kinds of ways. Is this really the way to build peaceful, productive and harmonious societies? I can’t see any sign of that.
We see that societies, much harsher and unfair societies than the UK, where a handful of people, families, ruling class have all the wealth, the political power, the military on their side are usually corrupt, deeply unjust in many ways, backwards, have few real opportunities to advance even for educated and talented and accomplished people, and all it creates is tension and the dangers of revolution and bloodshed. Look at Syria and Egypt, South Africa, many countries in Latin America and others to see what I am talking about. They do not work; they are riddled with often serious violent crime, they have serious gang problems, chronic corruption, really pitiful low wage economies and generally many of the cities in these countries are so dangerous that people take their lives in their hands just going to the shops, and few venture out at night.
The question I am asking is this, to all people who frequent this blog: do we want to end up like Mexico or South Africa or one of those places where injustice and corruption and rampant unfairness and inequality are almost blithely and tacitly accepted, with all the crime and serious violence and social problems many of these places have, or do we want to have a fair society? This is what we need to ask ourselves, our politicians and the people in charge. Because as I see it, we are heading slowly but surely in the same direction.
Why can’t wages be a little higher? Why isn’t education cheaper and more accessible to more people? Why can’t multi millionaires and billionaires and big businesses and wealthy international corporations pay their fair share of tax? Why can’t there be more judges and top cops and politicians and leaders from Working class backgrounds, people who often have far more experience of real life than someone from a wealthy and privileged background? If we want a democracy, we need to be more pro-active in demanding it.
Good luck Jack so wish I was able to watch you on sky, don’t let whoever talk over you or not answer you properly not that you’d put up with that, go get ’em!! Xx
Terrific blog reading Jack and likewise what I read from the comment contributions. I can only echo what many others have said…total disdain for the notion of MPs being given a pay rise.
Their backgrounds may not reflect the people they serve, but certainly their salaries should. MPs income should be tied to public sector employee freezes and rises that come from the taxpaying pot. If an MP feels s/he is worth more than a public sector salary, then go work for Amazon or Google or-or-or in the private commercial or corporate world. As it stands now…MPs work for us, we hired them, they are first&foremost public employees.
Meanwhile, we’ll be tuning it at some point Jack to catch your telly-debate contribution today. GoJackGo!
My wife and I were very moved on reading your article in the Guardian this weekend. You have two more fans. Your insights into the politics of poverty are powerful because you are speaking from experience, but have also analysed the issues surrounding the system which deliberately keeps so many people poor. Thanks.