Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Nine Out of Ten Career Politicians


Chairman: "You treat that damned cat like it's your child."

Hay: "No I don't - I treat her far better than that!"

Hay and I were having a discussion about career politicians yesterday.

The oft repeated mantra is that career politicians have no experience of anything other than politics. Well, is that necessarily a bad thing? You don't, for example, expect your brain surgeon to have had experience of running a corner shop for a couple of years, or your lawyer to have spent his formative years as a butcher. Specialisation is seen as a good thing in professions, and most of those reaching the top in politics do at least have a degree in PPE (although some might not see that as a proper qualification).

What galls me, however, is the fact that once they leave parliament, MPs get a golden goodbye of between 50% and 100% of their annual salary - a severance package. Hay is on an NHS contract and when that contract finishes she gets nothing, having to trundle off competing for another contract. A politician's term in parliament is, after all, nothing more than a 5 year contract (although the average MP spends 8.5 years in parliament). His or her employers - the electorate - may renew the contract, or they may not. I see no valid reason to recompense him or her with up to a year's salary on the contract finishing - well, not unless all public contracts attract the same severance terms. Politicians should not be a special case.

A politician's job is walking a fine line between what his or her electorate wants, and what is possible or indeed ethically and morally right. If the electorate had its unbridled way, we'd probably still be hanging, drawing and quartering felons at local gibbets (I suspect that will make its way into the UKIP manifesto anyway). A portion of the electorate is just plain stupid and sees reading the news as the height of intellectual achievement (and then it's the sport pages), having no attentiveness toward anything in the outside world beyond its own narrow interests and sod the rest.

Neither of us can understand Russell Brand and his call for revolution. What's so particularly bad about our form of government that it needs overturning? It seems to work, bar the odd hiccup, and is infinitely superior to other forms of government which are far more corrupt. 

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