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MPs’ salaries

Shortly, MPs are to vote on how big a pay increase they should give themselves. Even asking such a question of MPs – essentially, how much money do you want – seems crazy enough, but this is British politics, and so craziness is par for the course.

So, happily, that’s not where the craziness ends.

See, Gordon Brown wants MPs to limit their pay increases to 1.9%, since that’s what other public sector workers are getting.

This totally ignores the fact that MPs are currently earning £60,675 – or more than double that for cabinet ministers – compared to £22,000 for a nurse, £20,000 for a police officer, or £15,000 for a soldier. Limiting the increase to the same relative value as these people has no real meaning. Perhaps limiting their salary to the public sector average would have some meaning, and may focus minds a little more – although still, with the number of perks received by MPs, the figures would not be truly comparable.

Where is the justification in paying MPs so much more than other public sector workers? Their job is to represent the views of their constituents – something few of them actually seem to do these days – and such a position should be seen as a privilege, not an arduous task for which financial recompense needs to be comparatively extreme.

Looking at things this way makes Daniel Kawczynski comments seem loopy:

I can’t look into the eyes of my constituents who are police officers and say ‘you will stick at 1.9% but I, as an MP, should have more than that’.

…but apparently he can look them in the eyes and say ‘Hey, I sit in a cosy office all day, you risk your life on the streets, I deserve thrice your pay!’

Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster: RNLJ&C, modified under licence

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Mort Karman

    19.44, 18/01/2008

Chess great Bobby Fisher is dead.
Back about 50 or so years ago three outcasts would spend their lunch breaks from Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, New York either having malts at Ellmens’ Soda Shoppe on Flatbush Avenue or at DuBrow’s Restaurant trying to eat the awful food in this early automat type place.
In those days if you were different you just were different.
You did not get explosives or automatic weapons and try to take out the school.
So the three of us, mself, who was interested only in cameras and being a newspaper photographer, Bobby Fisher, who cared only about chess, and a girl who wanted to get into show biz, but was ridiculed by many because she had a “Jewish” nose and did not look like a movie star, would get together for lunch.
We never became close, never went to each others home or participated in any activities together. Just went to lunch.
I tried to explain f/stops and focal lengths to Bobby, but it was over his head. All he was interested in was chess moves.
He tried to explain the game to me, but my response to all the knights and pawns was, “how is this going to help me take better pictures?”
The girl complained often she had trouble getting a date and many suggested because we both had “funny Jewish noses” we would be a good couple.
At the time I was interested only in holding Leicas so I never dated her.
After one year at Erasmus I was so out of place my grandfather sent me to a nice Ivy League private school where he thought I would “outgrow the crazy idea about being a press photographer.”
We all went our seperate ways and never saw each other again.
As I sit here in retirement I look back.
All three of us outcasts got what we wanted.
I did become a press photographer and did quite well, though I have to say Bobby Fisher did even better as World Chess Champion.
I now regret I never took up the chance to learn chess from the Grand Master.
I also regret I never dated the “funny girl.”
She went on to become world famous as “funny girl.”
Yes, Barbara Strisand was the third member of our lunch group.

Comment from Mort Karman

    03.09, 21/01/2008

I have had some people ask me why I did not mention the anti-American and anti-Jewish ramblings of Bobby Fisher.
My blog concerned a time when we were three Jewish kids ages 14-16.
We were the Jews and the “others” were the “goyum”, or non Jews.
None of us ever mentioned any hatred of Jews, or Christians, for that matter.
As far as being anti-American, at that period of his life he was very anti-communist and pro U.S.
I loaned him my copy of the then current best seller “What We Must Know About Communism” by J.Edger Hoover.
When he returned it, Bobby and I both deceided we would become the self appointed persons responsible for reporting communists in the Erasmus student population and vowed to report any we found to the FBI.
The only communiist we found in the entire New York City school system was a kid whose father was a Soviet diplomat who attended a school in,I forget if it was the Bronx,or Manhatten.
Incidently, that outcast did very well also. He is Valdamir Posner.
So I don’t know anything about why or when Bobby changed his skin.
Both his parents were Jewish. (His mother was married to a non -Jew who stayed in Germany when she came to the U.S.,but his actual father was a Jewish man-it apppears to have been a revenge pregnancy-someone had it in for her husband)
I do know he did not like his mother-neither did I like mine.
But even though I have converted to my wife’s Christian religion I bear no ill will to Jews, or anyone else.
We were both happy when Fidel Castro got rid of the dictator Battista in Cuba.
But this was early in his regime when no one knew he was really a communist. (“Yo soy no ess communista”Castro told U.S. news media)
Somewhere along the line Bobby Fisher must have snapped.
I don’t know if he used bad drugs (at the time we all were together none of us did) or had a breakdown or if something else happened, so I just can’t comment about it.
It could be because he did not like his mother.
I covered a story in Newburgh, New York about a local Nazi leader.
He killed himself when the local newspaper ran a photographof him in his Bar Mitzvah Tallis and Yarmaulka.
Turned out he hated his father and wanted to “fix” him.
I suppose weired people do weird things.
Since he is dead we will never know.
But he sure could play a good game of chess.

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