MPs: New terms and conditions
Some MPs seem to be under the impression that they deserve a pay-rise. Here are the conditions...
Dear Members of Parliament,
Some of you seem to be under the impression that you deserve a pay-rise. As a benevolent employer we will take the matter into consideration. However, if we are to agree to a pay rise these are our conditions:
1. 100 of you, chosen at random, are going to spend 3 months of every year working in the private sector and by that I don’t mean some sinecure, hobnobbing with your chums in the City or at the Guardian. No. We’re going to source 100-odd ‘normal’ jobs and divvy them up in a kind of lottery. Labouring on construction sites, working as a care assistant, window cleaning, gully clearing, fruit-picking, stable work, lorry driver’s mate, shop assistant, decorator – you get the idea. You’ll be on the same wages too. We think it will give you some perspective and allow you to dispense with your notion of the magic money tree. Each year we’ll have a televised draw to find out who’s doing what. Don’t worry about missing debates. We’ll cope.
2. You have gold-plated pensions. We do not. We pay for ours. We also pay for yours. Here’s a suggestion. Keep your thieving bloody hands off what paltry amounts we’ve struggled to squirrel away. Contrary to popular belief in Westminster our pensions are not a general kind of piggy bank you can plunder whenever you feel like spraying some more money around.
3. You’re going to host the next G7 summit at Butlins. There’s nothing more dispiriting to the world’s normal people than to see their ‘leaders’ swanning around top hotels for a couple of days, pouring £250 bottles of Chateau Lafitte down their necks and gorging themselves on Michelin-starred food. No. Next time you’ll all be having the fish supper and a bottle of pop. Butlins generates a warm feeling. You never know, it may even break down some geo-political barriers and it’ll certainly give a boost to some seaside towns. Not to mention the rest of us. And don’t worry, we won’t insist on a knobbly knee competition.
4. You’ll have 4 weeks annual holiday like the rest of us. During the other 48 weeks we expect you to be in the House, in Committee, or in minuted meetings. One day a week is to be spent in your constituency. It could even be a Saturday. We pay you to represent us; not your party and not yourselves. Any one of you uttering the phrase ‘Do you know who I am?’ will find themself dismissed with immediate effect and without compensation or benefit.
5. The expenses situation is plainly a farce; however you look at it it’s not working and the cost is still exorbitant. We will therefore buy a couple of large 3 star, central London hotels to house you all for your 48 working weeks a year. The hotels in question can spend the other four weeks on maintenance and fumigation. You will be issued with a free rail-pass and a debit card with a monthly allowance of £350. That should be quite enough for reasonable expenses. Any more than that and you’re spending your own money. Secretarial support will be provided by a pool of assistants, none of whom will share your last name or your bed.
6. Every morning when the House sits (and we expect an 0830 start by the way. Yes, that’s right, just like the rest of us), the following phrase will be read out by all: “There is no such thing as Government money. It is taxpayers’ money, earnt by the sweat of their brow, by their sacrifice, and by their steadfastness. We will spend it as if it were a rare treasure and give those who provide it our fullest attention to its value and provenance”.
7. At no time henceforth will the state spend any more than 35 percent of national GDP. See to it. It’s our money, you are our employees and that is our instruction. The State supports and protects – that is it’s only role and we think that 35 percent is more than enough for support and protection. If it doesn’t come under those headings then don’t do it.
8. You won’t need any second jobs by the way; those of you who yearn to write articles for newspapers, write books or advise companies can do so in your own time – i.e. before 0830 in the morning, after 1730 at night, on Sundays or during your four weeks’ holiday. The rest of the time you belong to us.
9. Policy will be defined by manifesto, in advance – not by knee-jerk reactions to news stories, what the latest focus group mumbled during a tepid finger buffet or what some spotty 22 year-old SPAD dreamt up on the tube last Tuesday morning.
10. SECURE the bloody energy supply. We are positively rolling in energy resources. Seeing as most of us are going to be old in a few years time we want the heating on and the lights to work (and we don’t want to wait 15 minutes for the bloody things to light up either).
And remember this very, very well. You do not rule us. You do not reign over us. We have someone else for that.
Adrian Moss is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator and a screenwriter
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