Now that the public have had a taste of MPs expenses, will they be bloodthirsty enough to demand immediate information about the public sector? Maybe, like Lord Foulkes, they’ll go after BBC presenters.
Stephen Fry may feel the expense issue is small “fry” in comparison to bigger issues, but the public had already been angry about greedy bankers, so the expense issue was just more fuel for the fire. Was it all created by the media? The media had the fuel and made the decision to throw it in. It had a much worse effect than if they had allowed the furore to wane to dying embers, when the expense reports would have been made public. Not all politicians are guilty of abusing the expense system, but it is very embarrassing to those who did and it may very well affect their chances of re-election. Their only salvation, if any, is their constituency work. If their constituents feel their work justified their thieving, they will vote for them again. However, if they feel that these politicians will do what they can to get money rather than waste their efforts on the public good, then that politician should certainly worry about the next election.
But what about local councils? How are they using public funds? Are they allocating money where it really belongs or are they hiring people unnecessarily, giving 6-figure salaries for paper-pushing?
Of course, the public likes to criticise government. The reason is that the people voted for politicians and they expect those politicians to work for them. It’s like being hired for a job and your employer is constantly looking over your shoulder. That employer has the right to be critical of your performance, so the people have the right to criticise government’s behaviour.
What about the media? Lord Foulkes is very ready to condemn them. The public is critical of them as well. They complain when certain members are out of line and it helps to keep some of them in line. The BBC receives millions every year from TV licenses, and it’s unbelievable that much of it goes to pay the salaries of these TV presenters. What does it take to be a presenter? You have to look good and speak clearly. Does it require much in terms of education and skill? Hardly. So, I can understand politicians’ reactions to the media. They, the politicians, feel they do more work for less pay. But it’s hardly surprising because those in journalism and the media are minor celebrities, and they fall into the category of entertainment.
During this recession, while millions are unemployed, people will be angry, and that anger will be targeted at the rich. In fact, we’ve already had evidence of that. As one rich group attacks another rich group, the public will just turn against all of them. It’s amazing to think that with the number of unemployed, some people are still getting top salaries for doing so little. I’m sure amongst the millions of unemployed, you could find at least 100 women who could fill in for Ms. Gracie. The BBC might be able to hire more people and cut their current staff’s salaries. That’s one way to help this economy.
There are people who deserve high pay, whether it’s because their jobs require a high level of education and skill or involve public safety and welfare or is highly dangerous. Paper pushers, for the most part, are not in those categories. With the Freedom of Information Act, the public are now beginning to see what their tax monies are being used for.