Thursday, November 05, 2009

MPs should be paid less

In an article about Professor Nutt (about which I shall write in due course), Dan Hannan says the following... [Emphasis mine.]
He’s plainly right, this Nutt, when he says that the government’s attitude to cannabis is counter-productive, ill-informed and vote-grabbing. But that is what governments do: they grab votes.

So, Dan is saying that politicians go for the most populist policy—hence the government's stance on drugs.

How fortunate, then, that Chris Dillow makes a logical argument for why this means that politicians should be paid much, much less.
On the one hand, there‘s the Burkean view, that MPs should exercise independent judgement:
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

On the other hand, there’s the notion that MPs must follow public opinion.
Now, the Burkean view suggests we should pay MPs the sort of salary good professionals command, as Philip Stephens proposes, because we want them to have similarly good, independent judgment.

However, if MPs merely follow public opinion, there’s no need for such high wages. Any pub bore can echo the prejudices of the mob.

Which brings us to Johnson. In rejecting scientific evidence, and pursuing a drugs policy that merely panders to the most base and ignorant public opinion, he is rejecting the Burkean view in favour of the populist one.

As does Dan Hannan, apparently.
But if our representatives are to do this, why should we pay them as if they are taking complicated decisions? I can see a case for paying people good money for sifting scientific evidence, weighing arguments and making tricky judgments under uncertainty. But if they are just reading Daily Mail editorials, we should pay them as much as this skill demands - which is peanuts.

Good. Pay these fuckers peanuts and they will be so busy scrabbling around for the money to live that they won't have time to pass any laws.

Pay these betraying MPs less: it's the right thing to do.


Roue le Jour said...

And get rid of the runners-up as well, while you're at it. Your party loses, you lose. Go and get a job. Do not go to Westminster, do not collect 200k.

Go on, Dave. Name one Labour policy so heinous that you would reverse it immediately on gaining office. Just name one. And don't say fox hunting, that doesn't count.

If you're not going to oppose, why do we need you?

Anonymous said...

The situation we have now is even worse than that. Our MPs go into the lobbies like sheep, to cast their vote as dictated by the whips. Quite often they have never even read or understood the papers on which they are voting.


subrosa said...

At last someone's got some common sense.

What other job requires no formal qualifications and when 'annointed' the MP immediately gets £64,000 regardless of age.

I've pushed hard for MPs to be put on a similar salary scale to Army Officers with similar increments.

It takes more than 20 years service for an army officer to reach a salary of £64,000 and that's as long as he's not had to wait to fill dead men's shoes (something which happens too frequently these days).

Pay then £35,000 and then let them earn their money as soldiers do. Sod the rent for apartments etc., soldiers have to live in rooms similar to b & bs if they're away from home. Why do MPs need 2/3 bedroomed flats and to bring their families with them?

Time they lived in the real world.

Sue said...

They want a 40K rise now for betraying us.

It's the MP's that are not needed any longer, they've managed to make themselves redundant.

Vicola said...

That's odd, because I assumed those in professions such as medicine and law were paid such a lot because they had many years of complex training, had to be regularly re-examined to check their knowledge and judgement was up to scratch and were doing a job that couldn't be done by any old pleb in the street who held a handful of GCSEs. Anyway, since the big decisions are now going to be taken by Europe, shouldn't we be reducing their pay not raising it, on the grounds that the major responsibilities have been removed from them? Not that your average MP every did much, ordered their assitant to run a couple of surgeries a week, sat through a few debates in the house each year while looking bored and occiasionally voting according how what the party whips had instructed them? Hardly rocket science is it? And certainly not worthy of a GP or head teacher's salary.

James Higham said...

It's gone much further than any of this now. There is a power shift on and the centre right libertarian goals have never had a better chance to be realized.

Anonymous said...

We live in an age of "QUACK", science do we not ?
Problem was that prof Nutt refused to bend the scientific evidence to suit the political agenda of the Stazi party.

Epidomology QUACK QUACK !
Environmental science QUACK QUACK !
A study shows... QUACK QUACK !
Nutt was a real scientist and told the truth.
Science being distorted for political gain ,doctrine ,or to save face.
Now where have I heard that one before.
Joint anyone ?

Anonymous said...

Why pay the fuckers anything when all decisions are now made in EU.

Send them all home to brush up CV's and get a proper job. The Civil Service can implement policy from Brussels

TheBigYin said...

Johnson is a prize prick! He took no notice of the masses of scientific evidence that Second Hand Smoke (SHS) was indeed harmless and instead listened to the junk science that it was deadly to the non-smoker. He was just pandering to the perceived view by the populace, spat out by fake charities like ASH (spit) that it was deadly and that non-smokers were in the majority, (smoking had been declining for many years before the ban.)

I have to wonder therefor why taxpayers money is paid to 'advisors' when they take no bloody notice.

Paying MPs peanuts is way over generous.


This is where the voter has always been wrong,for rather than stand on your doorstep listening to what wonders these criminals intend to do for you ,it is We who should be demanding what we want from them.

Lewis Collard said...

So, Dan is saying that politicians go for the most populist policy—hence the government's stance on drugs.

Wow. I never thought that I'd see DK entertain the idea that our government is democratically accountable at all, let alone that it's too democratically accountable. As if the British populace are clamouring for more bullshit restrictions on smoking and drinking and everything else we do, as if the British populace wants the European superstate towards which we're heading, as if they're afraid of losing votes if they don't create more stupid fucking quangos, as if the average Dave actually gives a shit about global warming, etc etc.

Sorry, that argument doesn't work. Not that I disagree that they should be paid less; but then, if we're going into "what I would do if I was in power" mental territory, I'd fire every one of those mother fuckers and turn every government decision over to a popular referendum (which would mean that nothing would ever get done, which is the whole point).

Gareth said...

Why does the State pay our politicians? Why do they not name their price at election time and get it from local taxation?

If MPs were poorly paid there wouldn't be so many shits wanting to be them. The leaders can safely say 'take it on the chin' knowing full well the MPs will vote themselves something suitable.

Richard said...

In Michael Z Williamson's novel Freehold, holding office in his libertarian minimal state society is a privilege that office holders pay for. Instead of being paid, MPs would pay. This is also one of that state's few sources of revenue, taxation not existing.

hugoberon said...

Shouldn't MPs' pay compensate them for the jobs they've had to give up?

Base each MP's pay on his or her recent tax returns.

That way we won't only end up with the rich who don't need to earn plus the economically unvalued for whom it looks like a nice earner.

Puts the brakes on pure career politicians too.

What's not to like?

Anonymous said...

Pay out their wages according to their current popularity rating, which is established every month.

Ie. 5% popularity rating means 5% of potential wages.

The Hobbs End Martian said...

All these fuckers should immediately sacked and replaced with a shaved down chimp brandishing a loaded pistol.

Click Click Bang!

Next Chimp please..

At least it would be funny.

Billll said...

Pay them less, and you just drive up the cost of buying them.