Sunday, 29 March 2009

Do you know you MP?

Is it not time we had a facility for impeaching or sacking our MP's? Do we not feel that they are really now taking the mick with their expenses?
As more and more cases come to light, perhaps we should stop our MP's from having these outrageous expense claims, or perhaps we should stop paying them expenses altogether.
Stop paying them expenses? Think about it, MP's are voted in to work for us, that does not seem to happen any more, they treat it as a job rather than a vocation, in my minds eye I see MP's having a flat wage and no expense's or outside income, by that I mean not sitting on the board of some big corporation as 'an advisor', they should have a flat income from the state coffers and no other income.
I do not like the idea of MP's having 'outside' interests, no matter what they say it must influence them, getting rid of these influences would not stop corruption or the odd 'bung' but it would help.
MP's should become MP's because they want to help and support their constituents, not because they want to make loads of money.

A friend of mine has a son at Cambridge studying politics, when I asked him what party he supports or would join, when he finished his degree, he looked at me rather oddly “Whatever pays the best!” would be the summing up of his reply, he really did see it as a job for life and could not even understand my concerns about his attitude. I remember MP's having some gumption as well, although I did not agree with much of his politics Tony Benn was always a forthright and honest politician, he always believed in what he was doing and saying, how many of today's MP's could you say that of?

The party system seems to have changed for all parties, in days gone by the elected members would have dictated the policy, now the way they work comes down from above and anyone who goes against the party line is not tolerated, I believe the main political parties have got far to big and cumbersome, we need to return to a more independent system, one where local people run as candidates for the local area, no more 'safe' seats, if a politician can not be trusted to get voted in where he lives, then why on earth should he be allowed to run elsewhere?
We also need to make it cheaper for people, who really believe that they can do well for the people in their local area, to run for government, local or national, some of us just can not afford to give up our day jobs to run, why not make it fairer by dropping the amount needed for a deposit and make the candidates collect 500 signatures from registered voters. If they can convince 500 people to sign for them, I think they would be worth listening to.

Becoming an MP is very difficult if you do not have a) Money, b) the support of big party, c) the wherewithal to get publicity. This means, IMHO, that is now an a virtually exclusive club!
Very few people, who are not rich or media personalities, can get through to even get in the voting, this is not fair, there are a lot of people out there who have been prevented from even managing to get far enough to say their piece, I'm not just talking about my failed attempt, I have listened to a lot of people in the last 12 months who have a lot to say and plenty of it makes sense, I'm not saying they are all brilliant politicians (I have also met a few loonies...) who have been sidelined, just that sometimes we need to listen to the man on the street, not the isolated politician with only the party viewpoint and an expense account. When was the last time you saw your MP in the local pub? Or in a local restaurant? In fact when was the last time you saw him on the streets of your town?

Politics needs to change, politicians need to listen to the people again, politicians need to be local, accountable people, people we can see and trust.


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