I’ve heard of the debate on whether MP’s should have second jobs or not and left it a while before I gave my ‘two cents’.
On the whole i’d say yes, but within reason. It all calls to my argument that I aired not long ago about whether or not we should have ‘normal’ people in parliament. IF we were to have normal people that have lead normal lives in real world professions (e.g builders, hairdressers, etc…) then I can’t imagine they would ever have a second job whilst in office. Due to the very real fact that £66,000 plus expenses is enough for anyone to live off. I’m not interested in the argument that MP’s in other governments get paid more, we aren’t in another country so stop with the comparisons. Another point to raise in support of my last piece on the death of politics, the real disconnect between the electorate and the people in power, they are stealing a living. Okay that’s a broad brushstroke as a lot of MP’s do their job with diligence and hold regular surgeries and vote on bills plenty, but there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of the real work being done. For example as a voter I couldn’t even tell you who my MP is. I’m one of the ones who pay attention as well! I couldn’t tell you for example what my MP stands for, what he/she has voted on in the commons (in my constituency’s name).
The fact is, these people that are elected and vote on matters of importance for this country aren’t out in public and the only time you do hear from them is when an election is rolling around and ‘we want to count on your support’ with a flimsy leaflet through the letterbox. Try and fucking engage the public and get involved. Send out a letter before you have to vote on something important and see what the people you are supposed to be representing think and feel about the issue and whether you have their full support on your position. Don’t wait for us to come to you. We employ you to do a job and I think this is where it’s starting to come apart at the seams, as people who lead normal lives, working 50 odd hours a week and don’t have much of a chance to pay attention to what you’re doing, don’t see or hear of the work you’re doing, we slowly become resentful towards you, as we are out there working our bollocks off whilst you get to sit in a cushy little office talking to people for a couple afternoons a week, and then when you can be bothered go up to Westminster you vote on a couple of things and come back, and getting paid rather well for it too I might add.
I genuinely feel sorry for people that get into politics to try and better the country and make a change in the world as they get dragged down by party politics and getting told to vote this way or that way. Also the dreadful world of distraction tactics by the press and by the government themselves. For example, the net migration figures that emerged last week, showing clear failings of the government to cut net migration, instead it’s triple what the intended target was. I haven’t seen anyone come out from the Tory’s saying ‘we were wrong’, no one being held to account, instead it’s half a week on and other small ‘distraction’ stories that are keeping the Tory’s in the papers but changing the topic just enough to make you forget about what happened. As for double lives, as an MP you can pretty much make up what you like as long as you say it right. Much like Grant Shapps on Question Time talking about an EU referendum saying ‘it wasn’t in our manifesto last time but it will be next time for you to vote on’. Grant, gay marriage wasn’t on the manifesto but got rammed through both houses very quickly and hastily without much warning or debate, why can’t they do the same with something that people actually want? Just seems they fold to any minority argument as long as it suits their needs, but when proper issues are at hand they’d rather not bother until the next government by which time there may be new people in power who haven’t agreed to anything and we’re back to square one again.
The only thing in favour of MP’s having second jobs is that I believe they should be able to at least write books, I don’t think that can be classed as work! It’s down to the public to buy the book so I believe it leaves the situation capably in our hands. It also gives some sort of insight into what actually happens in government, although it’s probably not as transparent as we want. I think the notion of MP’s keeping a second job to ‘top up’ their skills is ridiculous. It means that you’re not exactly backing yourself to stay in politics and it’s just something you fancy doing because you can, and then if you mess up or want to step down, you can just go back to whatever it was you were doing before. If you’re going to get into politics do it for the right reasons and don’t complain about how much you’re getting paid to do it as well. It really grates on the people out there working hard for less than half your salary and none of your perks.