Yes, I'll get my massively overpaid and underworked team of researchers and caseworkers to spend the rest of the week checking obscure bits of tax legislation, with instructions not to stop until they find out exactly which categories Hula Hoops, Wotsits and Quavers fall into. And let's not forget Twiglets.
For all those who constantly raise the expenditure on staff and office costs - would you rather I didn't employ anyone, didn't follow up on casework, didn't have anyone answer the phones or open the door to the hundreds of people who contact me asking me for help or advice each year?
Hmmm: let's look at some facts...
Whilst Kerry McCarthy—Labour MP for Bristol East—spent £90,611 (joint 60th) on staff and £559 (209th) on staff travel costs last year, Philip Hollobone—Conservative MP for Kettering—spent £400 (645th) on staff and £0 on staff travel.
This is because Philip Hollobone employs no staff.
He is, however, computer literate and, as such, you might think that Hollobone's computer costs might be higher. Nope. Kerry spent £1,240 (joint 72nd) on centrally provided computer equipment, whereas Philip spent £1,014 (joint 385th).
So, Bishop Hill decided to find out how it is that Philip Hollobone can apparently do the same job for over £90,000 per year less than Kerry spends on staff salaries alone.
How does he do it?, I wondered.
So I thought I'd write and ask him. A couple of minutes ago, I fired off a short email. Outlook recorded the time as 8:56 am. I've now had a response and Outlook has recorded a time of delivery as 8:55 am! This seems, erm, very efficient!
That was a preliminary "Are you a consituent?" kind of thing, and I've now replied, and had a further response (timed at 9:06am) from Mr Hollobone. He doesn't want to go into the details unfortunately, but it's remarkable that he was able to deal with my, admittedly rather trivial, correspondence in a total of ten minutes.
What he did say was this:I would certainly say that MPs which employ a large number of staff should be able to offer a near faultless service, with quick and comprehensive responses to enquiries.
And given that his own staff-free service seems remarkably good anyway, it's a hard statement to argue with.
So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Kerry, you frivolous cow. And believe me, if I find that any of your staff are friends or family, I am going to be severely displeased (although not surprised).
His Ecclesiastical Eminence has even left a comment on sweet, little Kerry's blog which is pithy, to say the least.
...would you rather I didn't employ anyone, didn't follow up on casework, didn't have anyone answer the phones or open the door to the hundreds of people who contact me asking me for help or advice each year?
Philip Hollobone manages it.
Oh, and for anyone who is interested, here is darling Kerry's biography on Wikipedia (and does the use of her first name in the entry not make you think that it has been written by her (or a friend)?).
Kerry McCarthy (born 26 March 1965, Luton) is a British Labour Party politician who was elected Member of Parliament for Bristol East in the 2005 general election. Kerry has lived in Bristol East since February 2005 when she was selected as a candidate for Bristol East. She is single.
I wonder why...
She was formerly a councillor in Luton and for a short period of time volunteered in the Legal Department of the Labour Party. She was also a member of the Labour's National Policy Forum. She was educated at Goldsmiths College, University of London and the University of Liverpool, and is a qualified solicitor.
McCarthy is a vegan, and has given talks on the subject and was a presenter at the Vegan Society's 2005 annual awards (see).
So, Kerry is a vegan lawyer who has done almost nothing other than work for the Labour Party and who supports ID Cards, NuLabour's Terrorism Laws and the smoking ban but who voted against an investigation into the Iraq War.
Is it just me, or does she sound like a first-class shit and useless fucking tit?