Standard class travellers! We deserve better than third class ministers

Posted on: 23 March 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

"They are a totally different type of people. There are lots of children, there's noise, there's activity." - SIR NICHOLAS WINTERTON, a conservative member of Britain's Parliament, on the passengers in standard-class train cars, which he avoids!

This quotation appeared in the New York Times this morning – I think this says it all – this is the MP for Macclesfield who stands down at the end of this parliament and was criticised for claiming £20,000 on expense for a second home which, was ‘popped ‘into a family trust as soon as the mortgage was paid off!

I picked this up as I was scouring the newspapers for all the background around the three ex-ministers (and I now think ex-lobbyists ) who had the Labour whip withdrawn last night after the screening  of the Channel 4 ‘sting’ which caught the three of them preening like peacocks as to how they could ‘influence’ government policy. 

Like most things Brown has responded after the event by suspending them in the vain hope that it will minimize election damage. Dream on, baby! This government has been in power for nearly 14 years – what is allowed to happen is down to them.

To come out and play the role of ‘Mr Hurt'n-Indignant’ just insults my intelligence. This sort of thing and really pisses me off! There is nothing new to MPs and ex Ministers shacking up with companies and lobbying firms and being well paid for it – it’s been going on for years! The same thing happens with the Lords except there I think there is a bit more honour – principally because they don’t need the money so much!

It seems to me that most MPs regard getting elected as being only the first step to ‘making a bob or two’ – they seem to forget why they were put there in the first place – to serve the electorate! This part of the job seems secondary to lining their pockets.

Most people would think that annual salary, expenses and support costs of £150,000 would be enough (followed by very generous pensions and gratuities on leaving the House) but it seems not!

So how do we change this sad state of affairs? The very people we put in the power are the ones hoodwinking us. Maybe it’s time for us to restore the power of the Queen so she can dissolve parliament and appoint one of National Unity!

What a mess this all is? Luckily over half the MPs are standing down at the election so we will see the back of the Winterton, Hoon, Hewitt and ‘I’m like a cab for hire’ Byers and many more like them. What is needed now is wide ranging legislation and swingeing penalties for parliamentary abuse of power. A few years in jail would sort them out and dissuade others from even thinking of going there!

Self regulation doesn’t work – MPs and Lords should be publicly accountable to the electorate!

Who wants to help me get the tumbrils out and sharpen the blade?

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