Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Meet my reasonable needs to do the job of MP - no more, no less
Spoke at a very interesting meeting organised by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) last night in Whitehall. I'm grateful to the meeting organisers and to all those who attended and asked a wide range of searching questions. I'm already on record as supporting PCS campaigning to protect and promote public services, jobs, equality, those on low pay and unfair conditions of employment, and to fight fascism (see here and here). What I said went down well I think. There was good agreement in many respects between myself and TUSC candidate Rae Lynch (http://www.tusc.org.uk/) - not that this post constitutes a total endorsement of course!!
One of the most striking questions was on MPs pay and expenses. It was very powerfully put and reminded me of the commitment given now and whilst he was a Labour MP by socialist Dave Nellist to take 'only the wage of a skilled factory worker (40% of what he could have earned), less than half that which other MPs took for themselves, the rest he donated back to the Labour movement and to charities'. It also reminded me of the commitment I made on the issue of MPs pay and expenses all the way back in July 2008 (before the MPs expenses scandal) here (relevant extract below*). I am personally committed to making no net financial gain in any way, shape or form from being an MP and have always believed that only my needs to do the job of MP and should be met, no more and no less. I also believe very strongly in the merits of MPs living on income similar to that of people in general.
*Extract from July 2008 post: I recently posted about the work of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who looked at what various categories of people need in order to live at an acceptable standard and participate in UK society. I propose that this sort of method should be applied to all MPs, including members of the Government - get a fair, independent body to examine what is needed for MPs to do their jobs well and also live decent, reasonably rounded lives and pay them and/or provide them with appropriate facilities as required.If I was ever elected as an MP (I wish!!) I would certainly work on this basis, whether or not this kind of system was the official one. Are any local MPs willing to have an independent body go over what their actual needs are?