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.