Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


Ipswich Labour parliamentary candidate is ignorant

The Mother of all Parliaments

The Mother of all Parliaments

An article over at the Ipswich Spy parish demonstrates once again how some people in this country are playing a dangerous game, which could see this country spiral into anarchy.

One such protagonist is Cllr David Ellesmere, Labour’s challenger to Ipswich MP Ben Gummer in the 2015 General Election. He has spoken out against MPs getting a pay increase from their current salary of £60,000.

The prevailing attitude that MPs should have tuppence thrown at them and they should be jolly well grateful is ignorant. Does Cllr Ellesmere even know what an MP does and stands for?

He/she is a legislator in one of the greatest and oldest democracies in the world – in the “Mother of all Parliaments”, to coin a phrase.

Put aside the work they do to develop legislation and represent their constituencies in the massive machine that is Whitehall, they are the body of democracy in this country! Trivialise MPs and you trivialize our democracy and that is a very dangerous game to play indeed.

At the current rate, if politicians continue to be debased in terms of their role and contribution to our democracy it is then a very small step for the population to stop, en masse, respecting our democratic institutions and the rule of law. And then anarchy will prevail – it is closer than you think.

MPs have more responsibility than any FTSE 100 CEO and are currently paid less than a middle manager in one of those FTSE 100 companies. I’d pay them £100,000 a year immediately.

Let’s take a constituency issue as an example of their work: the railway service for the MP’s commuter constituents is appalling (ring a bell). It’s not just a case of the MP speaking to the Transport Secretary over a quick coffee and hey presto the railway improvement programme is signed off next Tuesday. Instead they must speak with tens of ministers, bag handlers (parliamentary private secretaries to ministers), mandarins (especially to show them where Ipswich is on a map) and build a business case which takes months, if not years – do you have any idea how much someone gets paid to do this in the private sector? This and the slight matter of legislating for the entire country, I think £100,000 a year is a bargain.

The same article talks about the pay our councillors in Ipswich receive. As the Independent Remuneration Committee found, compared to most other councils in the country, our councillors are paid an absolute pittance for the work they do. £3000 a year for 15 hours a week. Do you think they live off that? No, most have full-time jobs to pay for food and a roof over their head and then they do another 15 hours plus a week ensuring IBC is democratically represented. This demands respect not insults.

If we value democracy, we must value our politicians unless they break the law. If we continue to treat MP-bating as a national sport , all we will do is push power further away from you and I and towards the unelected bureaucrats in Whitehall and Brussels. And with that, you might as well have a dictatorship.

Be careful what you wish for.