Thursday, 15 December 2011

Keeping the bastards honest

I have a cunning plan…

Students have had massive debts imposed on them, justified by the claim that only those earning £21,000 p.a. (£5000 below the median wage) will pay back their loans. Thus, they'll work hard and enter high-paying jobs. I've ranted about the evils of this system before, so I won't go into it again. Let's just accept this argument at face value.

MPs' salaries were introduced in the early twentieth-century to make it possible for poor people to represent us. They're paid £65,000 per year, and receive generous housing and expenses allowances. Many of them retain other jobs too, amazingly: in law, directorships and so on. Afterwards, large numbers of them trade on their parliamentary and governmental experience by taking well-paid jobs in the City, in lobbying and so on. This of course leads to corruption and self-enrichment.

So how about abolishing parliamentary salaries entirely? Instead, offer MPs loans, just like the students. If an MP chooses not to join company boards or sell her inside knowledge to lobbyists, they don't pay the loans back. But if they use their public service as a springboard to riches, power and influence, they naturally owe their newfound wealth to us, and have to pay back their loans.

What do you think?

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