So, the world economy is collapsing; idiots in the media are giving vague credence to madmen like Jim Rogers (who's failed to notice than on absolutely every metric, the US is more screwed than the UK); unemployment has risen; and generally there is an awful lot of serious stuff worth bothering with.
In the meantime, the main issue for the day for our elected representatives is some nonsensical hair-shirted attempt to ensure that we can all peruse the scanned receipt for every coffee they buy and every taxi they take home.
This is ridiculous petty nonsense of the first order. These people/idiots/crooks [*] are in charge of trillions of pounds worth of our money, and get paid very little: as someone who's been mildly successful at 30ish in the not-financial-services private sector, there's no way in hell I'd take the pay cut, tedium, job insecurity, and utter public crucifixion if you ever do anything human and trivial but irrelevant (cheat on partner, get beaten by hookers, take big lines of coke, etc) of being an MP. Most people I know in a similar situation would never do the job either, for the same reason.
While I accept that abolishing allowances and raising MP salaries to the point where a grown-up with a bit of life experience and who'd been vaguely successful beforehand might consider applying for it would be better, that's not going to happen while idiots who're grumpy about earning fuck all because they deserve fuck all get to choose what happens (this is called 'democracy'). So instead, MP salaries are kept low, and the only people who enter are either pathetically grateful to make anything higher than you'd get for cleaning windows with your tongue, or ropey cheats on the make who realise there's scope to go beyond the official pay through crookery.
Now, MPs actually have a lot of say in what happens in the country. Not as much as they once did, sure, but still a lot. Given that the only people in parliament who aren't stupid are on the make, which situation would you prefer: the one where they shaft their allowances until their salary approaches something liveable; or the one where they actually rely on directorships, companies, think-tanks, European institutes, and other people who'll happily reward them in exchange for making public policy that serves the paymasters' interests?
It's clear that the negative consequences of the MPs who take the second option, given the assorted way that vested interests screw all of us all the time, exceed those of the ones who take maximum allowance. Back of envelope: gbp250k x 650 MPs = gbp163m per year. That's the cost of *one* stupid initiative in one fairly minor department...
So yeah, I don't give a fuck about MP salaries or expenses; if you do you're a moron; and they're a distraction from the real issues that surround government. Like business people, or indeed anyone, they should be held to account for the benefits and costs of their actions. Their wages and expenses are completely irrelevant.
[*] I accept that George Galloway, frinstance, counts under 2 here; Neil Hamilton under 2 and 3...