NEWS: A new McCarthyism threatens Parliamentary debate

Let’s be clear: I am in no position to complain about the disclosure of public employees’ earnings. As a civil servant mine were an open book for 23 years. Everyone understands why I’m now so busy in retirement. I do believe that anyone paid, if only partly, by the taxpayer is in a different position from those who earn their living from private sources. If industrialists recognised this, they would understand why we live in the age of accountability. They might also be less inclined to grab every penny of public money going in grants and ‘incentives’ while demanding lower taxation.

Let’s be clear: I am in no position to complain about the disclosure of

public employees’ earnings. As a civil servant mine were an open book

for 23 years. Everyone understands why I’m now so busy in retirement. I

do believe that anyone paid, if only partly, by the taxpayer is in a

different position from those who earn their living from private

sources. If industrialists recognised this, they would understand why we

live in the age of accountability. They might also be less inclined to

grab every penny of public money going in grants and ‘incentives’ while

demanding lower taxation.



And since the age of accountability is driven by an obnoxious witch hunt

led by a conspiracy-raddled media, we all know why MPs had their weird

debate this week on the disclosure of payments received for work done in

their Parliamentary capacity for outside interests.



This assumes that there will be any earnings to declare now that the new

McCarthyism - this time against capitalism, rather than communism - has

banned MPs from advocating causes for which they are paid by tabling

Parliamentary Questions, Early Day Motion, presenting Bills or

amendments to legislation. Banned, even though they declare - nay,

advertise - their interest.



But it is not just the current narrow-minded era which revolts me. After

all, the death of honour occurred 20 years ago when MPs agreed to

register their interests, as distinct from declare them. They tacitly

accepted they could not be trusted to come clean about their employers.

The logic is now catching up with them.



It is the implications not just for the PR/lobbying industry, but for

the citizen and taxpayer which should be a matter for serious concern.

In essence, MPs can now advise us for money how to make our point but

are gagged when it comes to arguing it, however important that point may

be to the body politic or nation’s economic health.



They can presumably ask a fellow MP, untainted by advisory money, to do

the necessary. But what does that suggest to the dimmest

Parliamentarian? Why, get yourself an advisory consultancy or two and

cultivate MPs whose advisory interest is in another area. All we need

then is a register of members’ passionate concerns to go with that for

advisory consultancies and life goes on unhindered.



Or does it? The truth is that we do not yet know the price to be paid in

our democracy from impeding lobbying. But we do know that we are moving

inexorably towards highly paid, at taxpayers’ expense, professional MPs

with little or no personal experience of how Britain works - and with no

guarantee that they will take the slightest notice of any cause which

does not bring its return in votes to preserve their nice little earner

of a seat. Ugh!



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.