DCSIMG

MPs won’t need to tighten their belts after huge pay rise offer

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It is beyond belief that Members of Parliament have been offered an 11 per cent pay rise, taking their basic income to £74,000 from the 2015 general election.

So much for the “tighten your belts” and “we are all in this together” maxims that politicians encourage us to observe almost every day of the week.

This is not a recommendation of the MPs themselves, but the view of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which should know better.

I’d like to believe that Members would not have the brass neck to accept such a scandalous award, but I would not put my life savings on this happening.

The three main party leaders are against such an increase, and Downing Street itself has issued a statement saying that the cost of politics should be going down and not up. But they all seem impotent, or perhaps unwilling, to actually do anything about it.

The truth is that the salaries of Members of Parliament should be decreased, and substantially too, and they should be encouraged, not discouraged as happens now, to taking outside work completely divorced from the world of politics.

At the moment, scores of MPs have attended school and university, got themselves a job in a party research department, been hired by an MP as a PA or researcher, then have found a seat to fight to become a Member themselves.

This means that a growing number of them have little or no knowledge of what goes on in the great wide world outside politics. There is even talk that an incoming Labour Government would ban outside work altogether - which would be a disaster.

Apart from any other considerations, many MPs leave Parliament, either perforce or voluntarily, virtually unemployable because they have no skills, even rudimentary ones, outside politics.

If their pay was reduced drastically and they dropped a lot of the work they now undertake (which should be done by parish councillors and other local authority people) and treated being an MP as a vocation and not as a job (as it used to be), then everybody would benefit.

But the prospects of that happening, I am afraid, are pretty negligible.

l Some judges seem to be going mad, or totally losing their sense of justice and fair play, to the extent that vicious criminals are mollycoddled while, only too often, the victims of crime are dumped on the scrap heap.

The latest act of, what seems very much like, insanity concerns a Somali who was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for raping a woman at knifepoint. He threatened to kill his victim and repeatedly assaulted her, and he was recommended for deportation after completion of his sentence. But, incomprehensibly, immigration judges have ruled that although he does not have a family of his own in this country, he cannot be deported because his mother and other family members live here.

I find it hard to believe that nothing can be done about this blatant miscarriage of justice - and yet, indeed, nothing seems to be happening.

Ministers feebly say that Britain has got to abide by such rulings and not break the law, but they should wake up and do their public duty. With the power they possess, they should ensure that whatever these judges say, justice should be done and such brutes should be booted out of the country. Is it really that difficult to do?

l After his calamitous last Budget, George Osborne, the Chancellor, scored a big hit with his Autumn Statement last week. And his shadow Ed Balls, made a complete hash of responding to it.

Some Labour MPs were cringing with embarrassment at Balls’s pathetic performance. The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, looked none too pleased, either.

But will he have the guts to sack Balls?

I think not. As Margaret Thatcher would have said, he is too “frit”, and Balls is a tough nut. We haven’t heard the last of him by a long chalk.

 

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