The Difference Between Reality & Ideology

London Life

Last week there was an announcement by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) that MPs were to be given a 10% payrise. This is on top of the 9% in 2014, 13% in 2013, 12% in 2012. I would like to know what special quality MPs have, other than to be able to lie convincingly, that justify such rises?

For the past 5 years public sector workers such as hospital staff, fire fighters, council workers, care workers, teachers, police have been subjected to a pay “rise” of 1% each year while MPs have awarded themselves such generous pay rises. I say “rise” as in fact these are PAYCUTS to public sector workers when you take tax deductions into account.

Tory ideology is that the private sector is the panacea to all the ills of society when it is nothing of the sort.   In 2010 David Cameron said that he wanted to diminish the public sector by making “efficiency cuts”, when asked who would employ people Dave said the private sector would take up the employment slack as jobs were created. The reality is that private sector jobs were the first to go, never to return.   The truth really is that once a business folds it’s gone for good. Public sector jobs are always evolving, there are always more and new demands made of them that reflect what is going on in society.

I have worked in the private sector and now work in the public sector and I can tell you the difference between them both is that public sector workers are expected to be more effective, efficient, be able to respond better to “customer needs” and have higher skills than those demanded in the private sector.

Public sector workers are more accountable by definition of the nature of their work. These are usually the kinds of jobs that put them face-to-face with those they have to deal with on a daily basis. The ability to be able to deal with people in a variety of situations means public sector workers have to be very aware of their own boundaries and those of others in various situations (i.e. people with learning difficulties, health and mental difficulties).   Yet these jobs are being downgraded through wage restraint because of Tory bigoted ideology that it is easier to rein in public sector pay than it is to restrain the overly confident gambling den that is the City of London.

Frequently public sector workers have to either be qualified or be trained into their jobs, apart from working in their local councils MPs seem to have no such qualifications or training, yet these ego maniacs are allowed to come into office, vote bloated salaries for themselves and preen their egos before all while making an almighty cock-up of whatever office they happen to be working in.

In 2010 David Cameron said the deficit would be halved by 2015. It has in fact trebled prior to the May election.   However, he was voted back in (not by me thankfully) because given the choice between him and Ed Miliband it was a case of better the devil you know, certainly not because of any special qualities the Tories have.   To read the election result as somehow being a mandate for anything is taking things a bit far as he only has a majority of 34 seats which can easily be whittled away in a backbench revolt. Regardless of the fact there has been a concerted effort in recent years to narrow the social sphere from which politicians are drawn, there is nothing in their job specification that sets MPs apart from the rest of society that justifies just overblown salaries any more than overinflated salaries of CEOs are. In fact, they are probably more inept than the average worker and should be paid no more than £40,000 per annum (£60,000 for the PM).

The whole parliamentary organisation needs to be overhauled to bring it into the 21st century and ordinary people should be encouraged to stand as MPs for their local constituencies which would enable policies to be better suited to local needs.


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