Sunday, March 29, 2009

MPs Expenses: Just Sort Them Out

The continual drip-drip of allegations and snout-in-trough exposures of the recent weeks doesn't damage a single political party - they damage the reputation of politics and with it, democracy as a whole. Voters I have spoken to on the doorsteps in the recent weeks want us to tackle anti-social behaviour, improve school standards, strengthen our society and repair our economy - so the more time we spend on the issue of MPs expenses the less time we are working on the "big issues" and the "tough choices". So come on Gordon, sort it out and do it fast. And to help, beause Gordon is currently keen on advice from the Conservatives, are my plans.

1. Abolish all MPs expenses - don't give MPs a penny more than that which they earn.

2. Cut MPs salaries by 5%, and then link them to the pay rises offered not to a high ranking civil servant but to our nurses and teachers. Might make our MPs think rather more about the impact of their decisions on hard working families rather more.

3. Abolish money for second homes. Parliament - or rather, the taxpayer - ought to buy a big block of flates near to Westminster, do them up and provide them for free to MPs (not unlike Halls for students). There could be larger flats for MPs whose families come and see them during the week. They would all be furnished to a minimum standard (think Travelodge); any extras come from the MP themselves. The flat is owned by the tax-payers and would switch to the new MP should a member lose their seat.

4. Judge the qualification for these flats by the avergae time taken to get to Westminster by public transport (the real journey time, not those claims made by rail companies). Anything up to an hour door-to-door is a reaosnable communte. Anything more qualifies the member for a flat.

5. Put a complete ban - and I mean, complete - on family members working for the MP.

As a Tory, the free market is very much in my thinking; there are no shortage of MPs and there are many, many very good candidates without seats who would do the job. If people don't like the pay and conditions they shouldn't out themselves up for the job. A big bit of being an MP is public service, and that may include taking a pay cut to do the job.

I am a staunch defender of MPs - the overwhelming majority are decent, very hard working and honourable men and women. They deserve our respect as a population and I personally am grateful for the work they do. MPs expenses get in the way of recieveing that respect and should be sorted out as soon as possible.


Anonymous said...

My Little, I presume you're the individual from whom I recieved a questionaire last week? I would like to draw something to your attention, and hold onto your middle clas value because you're going to be shocked.

Not every woman in Norwich is married.

I know, it's hard to believe. It's true though. There are, in fact, many unmarried women in Nowich. I know this will come as a surprise to you, but it gets wilder. There are some women who are married who don't think it's any of your god damn buisness what their marital status is.

I know your head must be spinning, take a seat.

Now, it can be hard to cope with situations like this. I mean, I know you must think that every woman in Norwich is married as when your letters came through our door, you adressed me and all of my single female housemates as Mrs. However, this isn't always appropriate.

To be serious for a moment, Mr. Little, the fact that you have adressed every woman you have sent this survey to as Mrs. underscores the fact to us that as young single women, the conservative party is not interested in our views and opinions. The fact that you think the important people, those worth bothering with, are the ones who choose to be adressed as Mrs is demeaning and alienating to those of us who are either single or belive our marital status should not define us as woman.

Please, next time, I would ask that if you must include a title you consider including the title Ms. rather then Mrs. It is there for circumstances like this, either when adressing women who's marital status you know or when adressing women who prefer not to be defined by who or if they married.

Though, of course, as we've established, I don't matter to you as I'm a single young woman.

Guess I'm wasting both of our time, though I would be interested to hear your justification for using the word Mrs. rather then Ms. on your mass postings.

Antony said...

Miss Anonymous;
You may be shocked to hear this - please, keep reading, but this wasn't a conspiracy to offend you. The data which we as Conservatives recieve comes from the City Hall Electoral Roll and is then "cleaned" by our HQ in London. It doesn't touch Norwich soil. As you may be aware you don't declare your marital status on the form and thus, I think, the computer "guesses" your title. I don't know why they assigned the Mrs title to all women; maybe married women are more offended to be called Miss than unmarried are to be called Mrs? Certainly the backlash when we used "Ms" suggests neither group liked that.

This is why we included a section for you - and I assume you did me the courtesy of reading the survey - to correct the data, and many women have.

This tells us nothing about the way the Conservatives treat young women, it tells us about the way the data is handled.

Apologies if this seriously offended you; and I trust it won't affect the way you vote.


Cllr. Little

Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant Anthony; this lady has a problem with the title given to her on a survey and the cheek to suggest that there is some great political plot in being called Mrs instead of Miss and THEN goes on to get your title wrong!!

You are, of course, COUNCILLOR Little rather than MR Little. I wonder if the young lady in question will apologise in the decent manner you have?

Well done for not rising to this ridiculous bait.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that with the world economy collapsing, civil war around the globe and society the way it is in this country, somebody decides that their communication with the man who may well be our next MP should be over the issue of the difference between Miss-Mrs-Ms.

Absolutely pathetic.

Comrade said...

Clearly not a feminist then.....

Anonymous said...

The original complaining anon is clearly never going to be a Tory voter but rather a whinger looking for a reason to have a pop. Best to ignore.

Anonymous said...

Was the original post from Antony's wife lol.......

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your MPs expenses proposals; but I feel you would have 700 squeeling MP's on each of your points; especially linking to nurses real term pay freezes. Thus I fear in tota its an honourable non runner, we'll see.

On annon. answer address Mrs, Ms or Miss, bound to hit with one

Anonymous said...

Mr. Little,

In a post where I defent the term Ms. adressing me as Miss might not be the most respectful thing.

I don't care where your data comes from or how it is handled, the fact remains that I recieved a letter with your name on which dedided I was married. It was a ltter from your office with your name so YOU are responsible for it. You should have checked it. You can't blame the incompetence of others for your own mistakes. You should know that as a politician your actions will be taken to represent your party, and will reflect upon how we view your politics.

If you really don't want to use Ms. just don't use a title. It's not so hard. You clearly knew my name when you sent the letter so why not just cut out the title altogether?

Still not married,

Ms. Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised you allow this person to comment; she is putting back womens lib with every word. She sees what others are saying and yet she ploughs on ...

Let's not talk about child poverty, climate change or the credit crunch ...