• MPs and their expenses

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    pigsThere has been a lot of publicity – most of it unfavourable – and talk – most of it critical – about MP’s, their salaries and their expenses.

    The political establishment has commented that this is a very important issue that needs to be addressed to restore public confidence in the system.

    The British Gazette would wholeheartedly agree with this, but would add the rider that the reforms MUST make the system work BETTER NOT WORSE.

    When considering reform we must bear in mind that we are dealing with an occupation that is essentially partisan – in fact, being partisan has been the raison d’être of being an MP. Therefore, the British Gazette opposes proposals – stemming mainly from the centre left – that the secretarial aspects of an MP’s activity should be handled by teams of government funded civil servants. We think that this issue should be addressed along with the issue of “political advisers” in the civil service. The British Gazette is of the opinion that “political advisers” have NO PLACE in the traditionally impartial civil service and therefore should not be there. At the same time, the British Gazette is also of the opinion that “political advisers” and assistants should be employed by MPs to assist them in their political endeavours.

    The British Gazette would therefore suggest the following:

    - that the policy adopted by the civil service in governing this country in the past – where no political advisers were on the public payroll – should be readopted.
    - that the staff of MPs (researchers, secretaries &C.) be employed by the political party of which the MP is a member of thus freeing the taxpayer of this burden.
    - that the salaries and expenses of MPs be paid by the political parties of which the MP is a member, thus freeing the taxpayer of this burden.
    - that persons standing as independent candidates for parliament be allowed to offset any such legitimate expenses against their taxes in the same manner as business expenses for the self-employed.
    - that all donations made to political parties to be made free of tax.
    - that donations to political parties can be made anonymously through the auspices of a commissioner for oaths, the donor having made a sworn statement in front of the said commissioner that they had not disclosed to any party member any details of the donation, this declaration being made subject to the Declaration of Oaths Act, 1835.
    - that donations to political parties can be made anonymously or declared by any person, whether or not they are a British Citizen, resident, non resident or a citizen of any other country.

    These reforms would have the effect of weakening the position of the political parties but of strengthening the position of individual MPs who could afford to perform the role whilst financing themselves from their own private means.

    There may be many experienced in public life who would deprecate such a turn of events. They would state – correctly – that politics would once again become the preserve of the rich and that the poor and those without access to independent means could not afford to get involved.

    They would be quite correct in their fears. However the British Gazette would point out to the disastrous situation that the country has now found itself in. Run by a group of self serving second rate careerist professional politicians who have formed themselves into a political elite who now are quite literally empire building with their colleagues in the other member states of the European Union. The ordinary people are being treated with contempt by these traitors who have arrogantly handed their country over to government by a foreign power.

    Of course under the new regime, there would have to be strict and legally enforceable controls governing all declarations of interest, to guard against corruption.

    The British Gazette would also point out that the UK of 2010 is a vastly different place than the UK of 1910. In 1910 much the wealth of the country was held by a socially select section of British Society, many linked by descent or by marriage to those mentioned in Burkes Peerage and Landed Gentry. Today however the wealth of the nation is spread over a far wide social spectrum. The UK is one of the most socially and culturally diverse nations on earth. Although it would indeed be the case that politics would largely become the preserve of those who could afford it, the ascendency of the traditional aristocracy has gone for good.

    The British Gazette feels that the benefits in terms of the improved quality and enhanced independence of MPs would be worth the cost of a reduction in the present egalitarian nature of politics.

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