Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Three weeks on and MPs still don’t get it

Isn’t it interesting that the MPs are still making the same statements, despite the public’s anger at their behaviour?  “I have done nothing wrong”, “I have followed the rules”, “I followed the advice of the Fees Office”…The list goes on and on.  And, those who have announced that they are stepping down, still insist that they did nothing wrong and that they are leaving Parliament for other reasons.  Needless to say, many of those reasons are because they were asked to step down, either by their leaders or the constituents.  Others have cited their health as the reason.  That’s because the consequence of the scandal has caused significant mental and physical stress.  They still insist, as they’re walking out the door, that they did absolutely nothing wrong.  How I wish I could have such nerves of steel.  Associated with base morals, of course.

One of the few exceptions to this, I have found, is Sir Peter Viggers, who acknowledged that he had “made a ridiculous and grave error of judgment. I am ashamed and humiliated and I apologise.” He, of course, is also stepping down.  Some will argue that he had good reason to admit to his wrongdoing, but I say that his claims, though ridiculous, is not much worse than any of the other ridiculous claims, which have been excused as “mistakes”.

As this row unfolded, we had MPs stating that they cannot live simply on their salaries and that they needed a raise.  And so on and so forth.  The public in turn are angry that they could say such a thing because it sounds significant.  Then there are those who completely agree with the MPs and would like to see their salaries raised to comparable levels to other executives. But I’d really like to know what their pay is in terms of hourly wage.

I know that MPs work hard and sometimes put in long hours.  This is not constant, though, and I’m sure that some of them spend a lot of “working” hours at leisure.  In addition, they have a lot of recesses.  They take holidays when school children do.  School teachers have similar hours, but most other employees work through holidays.  Is it fair to bring home good pay, have plenty of holidays, and still complain that you want more public funding for yourself?

Regardless of the seriousness of an issue, if it’s time for Parliament to recess, they will do so.  I can see why Mr. Clegg wants them to cancel their summer holiday.  It would make him look good to the general public because he is willing to work through the problems, rather than letting it rest and die down.  I’m sure the rest of Parliament is anxious to leave and let the issues resolve themselves later.  They think that if they ignore it long enough, the media will stop harassing them.  MPs sacrificing their breaks for the common good? That’ll be the day.

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