Sunday, 14 July 2013

How to Fix MPs' Pay

I see from my friends the TaxPayers’ Alliance that the pay of UK Members of Parliament (MPs) is in the news again. They (the MPs and their quango) want to put it up; we the oppressed and unrepresented want to put it down.

I have an idea, that I think may solve this problem. It is based on two simple principles. First, that individuals should only contribute to “their” MP’s pay if the individual concerned actually represents them. And second, that individuals should be able to rate their MP – say, on a scale of 0 to 100 – and to contribute to his (or her) pay in proportion.

With me so far?

OK. This paragraph is numbers (sorry). An entry-level MP currently earns (sic) £66.4K per year. There were, in December 2010, 46.1M nationally registered voters in the UK. And 650 constituencies. Dividing, that’s 71K registered voters per constituency. Mmmm... that means that, on average each individual eligible to vote pays about 93p a year towards the salary of his or her MP.

I am ignoring expenses here, of course. It is right that the MP for, say, Carlisle should be compensated for what it costs him because he is required to be in London from time to time. I am ignoring past expenses scandals, too.

I am also ignoring knock-on benefits MPs get from being well known and – for a time- popular.

No, I am talking about the pay MPs get for the very act of representing us.

The constituency I live in, South-West Surrey, has an “electorate” of 75K. The MP, one Jeremy Hunt, is a minister, so gets considerably more than the entry-level MP. But let’s run the numbers as if he was a rookie.

If every eligible voter in South-West Surrey paid 89p a year, that would more than cover Jeremy Hunt’s salary. An 11% rise, as proposed, would bring it up to £1 a year.

OK, so we’re half way there. The next question is, what benefit does Jeremy Hunt bring to us? Or, more specifically, what benefit does Jeremy Hunt bring to me?

And this is where my idea comes in. MPs’ salaries should be withdrawn, and instead, they should solicit contributions from their “constituents.” Each of us should give what we wish to them – no compulsion, of course - up to a maximum of £2 a year.

Why the maximum of £2? Well, anyone who claims to “represent the people” in his area must, surely, have a majority behind him? So, if the majority are willing to pay £2 rather than £1, because an MP genuinely does represent his “constituents,” that MP will earn more than now? Even a bit extra from the half-hearted, who don’t contribute the full £2?

Heh heh.

But let’s be realistic. MPs are, indeed, underpaid for what they are supposed to do. Which is, to defend us against bad government – the “divine right of kings” and all that. The problem is that, far from defending us, MPs have set themselves up in the place of the kings. And that is why my proposal is important to rein them in.

I, personally, would not give a penny to Jeremy Hunt, for at least two reasons. About ten years ago, before he was an MP, I attended a meeting at which he said that the invasion of Iraq was “the right thing to do.” Uh-huh; so, if Saddam Hussein had sent troops to murder people in London, would that have been equally right? Anyone with such a cavalier attitude to war cannot possibly “represent” me.

And, five years ago, I wrote to him urging him to vote against the UK climate change bill, and pointing him to the facts about so-called “global warming” and the role of carbon dioxide in it. He never replied. On the day before the 2010 election, he even had the effrontery to phone me soliciting my vote. I told him he could still reply to my 2008 letter. He never did. I can only conclude that he failed to even look at the facts. And anyone that fails to look at the facts on an issue is not fit to make decisions on other people’s behalf - on that issue, or on anything else.

Now, let’s get practical. No-one wishing to be an MP, who is not rich already, will accept the deal on the terms I have laid out. So, let’s increase the £2 per person per year limit to £10 per person per year. Still small enough that the leftist mantra of “the poor can’t pay” doesn’t apply, but enough to increase Jeremy Hunt’s earnings to £750,000 per year, if he had the guts and gumption to do the right thing by all his “constituents.”

Heh, heh, heh. Ha ha.