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Normal politicians

(10 Posts)
joanbyers Tue 06-Nov-12 14:55:57

Are they extinct?

Just watching this from John Major:

We followed this with Tony Blair and David Cameron, both epic monuments to public school smuggery.

People say that it's because the grammar schools were abolished that we now have Nick Clegg (Westminster School) and David Cameron (Eton) running the country as compared to John Major (Rutlish Grammar School), Margaret Thatcher (Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School), Harold Wilson (Royds Hall Grammar School), Ted Heath (Chatham House Grammar School) - all ex-grammar-school students.

Of course some of the grammar schools are still there, but the places are substantially taken up by tutored children, or privately educated children.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 06-Nov-12 17:29:17

I don't think schools determine whether or not someone is normal or smug tbh and it shouldn't be a barrier to anything whether you were educated privately or at Bash Street Comprehensive. I think politics is far more professional these days, and not necessarily in a good way. Everyone's got to be 'on message' which means there is no room for the free thinker. Everyone has to behave perfectly at all times, which deters many more. Finances also play a big part. I know it's fashionable to think MPs are all overpaid beneficiaries of a pocket-lining gravy train but the truth is that we don't pay enough to encourage people without a fair bit of cash behind them to apply for the job.

joanbyers Tue 06-Nov-12 19:00:38

they do seem to line their pockets pretty effectively on the back of it, but as you say you have to be of 'independent means' to get in in the first place.

Solopower1 Sat 10-Nov-12 11:58:42

Interesting point about the grammar schools.

Local politicians, the ones I have met, have been without exception very hard-working and dedicated, and afaik they are not paid.

Maybe the answer is to pay them all the same and possibly less than they get now, while making sure they do have enough to do their job. Then there might be more politicians who are motivated by trying to make the world a better place, rather than by personal gain.

niceguy2 Sat 10-Nov-12 13:07:10

I'd like to think that most politician's are honestly trying to make the world a better place. After all, whilst MP pay is good as far as the UK average salary goes, it's not exactly a lot if you compare it to the equivalent job. The PM earns what, £142.5k. Yes that's a lot of money. Except as the CEO of a FTSE 100 company you'd earn £475k on average.

And I'd argue it's far easier running a FTSE100 company worrying about widgets and your share price than it is to run the country having to worry about well....everything. Having to literally make life/death decisions and not always being able to influence events but having to make it sound like you can.

The blunt truth is that you get what you pay for. If we want the best then we have to pay for the best. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Solopower1 Sat 10-Nov-12 14:32:03

NIceguy, just because the CEOs are overpaid does not mean we should overpay politicians.

And no, there is no equivalent job, so an MP's salary shouldn't be compared to anything else.

We want people to come into politics because they want to save the world, not earn a competitive income (although they would need to be able to earn enough to live). And if that puts some people off, then good - they are not the sort of people we need making decisions for us.

By paying MPs/MSPs so much more than the average wage (is that £25,000/£30,000?) we are automatically lifting them out of the normal, day to day problems that the rest of us face. We can't then turn round and accuse them of not being in touch. Obviously, I don't want to put any obstacles in the way of them doing their job properly - apart from the ones we all face, that is, ie work/life balance, child care, rent/mortgage payments, having to deal with utility companies, private health care providers, etc. They need to know about all this; they need to experience, at first hand, the effects of the policies they vote for in Parliament. It's not enough that they might have experienced some of it before coming into power. Memories fade.

We want people who are altruistic, not out to feather their own nests. And there are plenty of them about.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 10-Nov-12 15:09:07

Altruistic??? I think that's utterly naive. My earnings are rather below what a back-bench MP gets and, whilst it's a responsible job I do, I don't have anything like the responsibility of someone governing the country. My hours are sociable, I have one home to run at my own expense and I don't risk leaving that home in the morning and being hounded by the paparazzi or having my phone tapped & private life exposed by one of their colleagues. Earning £65k doesn't make someone out of touch with normal, everyday problems. hmm Only an idiot - or someone with vast wealth already - would take on an MP's lifestyle for £25k a year.

Why is a CEO on £475k 'overpaid'? If someone's running a large company with several thousand staff relying on their good decision-making for their livelihoods, and if that same company is making many millions profit and contributing corporation tax to the exchequer... why shouldn't they be rewarded?

Solopower1 Sat 10-Nov-12 15:35:35

Yes, I know it's unrealistic, Cogito ...

I think you are saying that MPs should be paid more because of their responsibilities. A bit more, maybe. Being hounded by the media is another problem - that should be illegal. No-one should have to put up with that as part of their job.

But yes, I do think that someone on £65k would be out of touch with the sort of problems faced by someone on £18,000. And how could anyone's time be worth £425,000??

TheCraicDealer Sat 10-Nov-12 16:08:38

So what you're saying is that you want to go back to the days when MP's and other government officials were paid nothing (or a pittance) to run the country? That would make it an unattractive prospect for most people. I don't think it would attract the best people for the job, more like individuals who had another form of income (like all the titled PM's we had in the 18th and 19th Centuries) or a mad desire for power and status. Neither are going to provide the altruistic legislature you seem to be keen on.

Solopower1 Sat 10-Nov-12 16:14:02

No, Craic, I don't want to go back to the bad old days. Nor do I want to pay anyone a pittance.

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