The Wondrous World of the Murphmeister

My point has been a consistent one: we are under paying MPs. The result is – as is far too obvious – that we are getting a class of politicians who all too often come from privileged backgrounds, go to Oxford, move to a think tank, are supported by their parents, go into parliament, and have never once been exposed to real life beyond the Westminster bubble. No wonder we have such lousy politicians doing such a poor job for us – including imposing austerity and pay freezes when both are the absolute opposite of what we need.

I have said I want MP’s paid £80,000 – about the average salary of a public sector chief executive – because I want people who have that sort of experience to go to parliament to help make the decisions this country needs. And I want them to do that job and nothing else – so that outside work and fees would simply be banned.

He wants MPs to be more experienced, to have some inkling of the real world of work. Therefore he\’s going to ban MPs having experience of the real world of work.

Hmm.

30 thoughts on “The Wondrous World of the Murphmeister”

  1. If you want MPs with ‘real world’ experience then set a minimum age of 40.

    Even the most wonkish Spad isn’t going to put up with 20 years of low-wage bag-carrying for an MP when they could be doing a proper job.

    Problem solved.

  2. Well, I presume he’s wanting the MPs to get the work experience before they stand for election. Which would pretty well rule out the Parliamentary Labour Party in its entirety. But, given that MPs do wish to accumulate wealth, it’s actually a reason for reducing MP remuneration, not raising it. Encouraging them to accumulate the wealth before they become MPs, not after.

  3. Even better, since we are all living longer, no one should be able to stand for election to Parliament until they reach 50.

  4. > about the average salary of a public sector chief executive
    If anything, that’s an argument for reducing those salaries, rather than picking our pockets for more of the troughers.

    And if we’re wanting to ensure our representatives are, well, representative, having a close relative (by blood, marriage or cohabitation) already in politics ought to disqualify one — we got rid of the explicit hereditary principle already, and still have the Stansgate dynasty.

    @bloke in spain
    I’d consider ruling out the PLP a feature, and not a bug.

  5. Ian B back on IE9

    Surely the sensible thing would be to just abandon the idea of having a standing legislature.

  6. Trouble is, MPs are underpaid for what we want but overpaid for what we get..

    My solution is to scrap the salary but compensate them for loss of earnings, based on their income before they entered Parliament.

    (5-year average, HMRC figures, to stop them fiddling it)

    No inflation either, which will discourage them from seeing it as a lifetime job.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    He wants to make a career that attracts too many professional politicians even more attractive? Pay people who see it as a full time profession even more so they will see it as an even better career?

    What is wrong with this fool?

    Better to make it unpaid. If they want to do outside work, sure, fine, let them. But no salary. Let them go out and work, accumulate some money and a pension *then* turn to politics. Gentlemen amateurs made this country great. Short of un-doing the various Reform Acts and bringing back Rotten Boroughs, I can’t think of a better reform.

  8. Ian B back on IE9

    Like most of his ilk, Ritchie is attracted to expertism, or technocracy, or whatever. Hence he prefers the idea of the professional politician. It’s worth noting that in this paradigm, the politician is an expert at “politics”, that is the skill of implementing legislation- the actual form of which is decided by other experts.

    Experts like Ritchie.

    So basically he wants a reliable and predictable cohort of professional legislators, with whom other classes of experts can easily interact, rather than the dangerously unpredictable types that “the people” might elect if too much democracy is allowed.

  9. The Meissen Bison

    Murphy probably just forgot to mention that employers would be obliged to take back MPs who lost their seats at an election.

  10. “So Much For Subtlety
    July 2, 2013 at 10:03 am

    He wants to make a career that attracts too many professional politicians even more attractive? Pay people who see it as a full time profession even more so they will see it as an even better career?

    What is wrong with this fool?

    Better to make it unpaid. If they want to do outside work, sure, fine, let them. But no salary. Let them go out and work, accumulate some money and a pension *then* turn to politics. Gentlemen amateurs made this country great. Short of un-doing the various Reform Acts and bringing back Rotten Boroughs, I can’t think of a better reform.

    Surely we want people to get paid well for doing a good job?
    After all what did Adam Smith say about food?
    The problem is that people get money for being reelected which is not the same as doing a good job. I don’t know how to fix this.

  11. Actually I do have a solution – devolve power as the Swiss do.
    That way we can really compare different parties at the same time.

  12. In addition to the point about banning MP’s having other work, I am presuming he actually means this:

    “I have said I want MP’s paid £80,000 – about the average salary of a public sector chief executive – because I want people who have that sort of experience to go to parliament to help make the decisions this country needs.”

    In other words, it appears that he wants MP’s to have had gained their so called “real world experience” in the public sector!

  13. Becoming more irrlevant who the politicians are by the year, as more and more power gets devolved to Brussels and other arms of the One World Government. However this leaves lots of time to interfere in the minutiae of life where they can still do lots of damage.

  14. How about letting constituencies set the pay for their respective MPs? They’re the “customers” who should decide if they’re getting value for money from their representative.

  15. Murphy seems to have missed the second hand smoke problem. (Maybe he’s dealt with it in other posts.

    The problem with MPs recruited from the civil service is that some of them might have been exposed in childhood to the grubby world of the free market where Mum or Dad might have had a real job.

    That would be a mistake, and the only solution is to have a hereditary bureaucracy.

  16. @ Ian
    I don’t think he is saying he wants professional politicians. He wants them “exposed to real life beyond the Westminster bubble” But as he seems to have the horrors about anyone from the private sector. (see tax evaders, neo-liberals etc etc) he thinks the only “real world” worthy of note is the public sector. Sounds a bit like the Chinese Emperor’s administrative system. Do hope so ’cause come the Courageous State the castrations’ll be a hoot to watch.

  17. How about, politicians currently have two jobs, and it would be good to separate them out and pay for them accordingly?

    In theory, at least, politicians are supposed to a) run the country – in a top-managerial sense – and b) to represent the views of their constituents in Parliamentary votes.

    Function b could well be done much better by a far larger number of part-timers, who could be paid some reasonable rate for a few hours a week keeping up with things to make an informed decision.

    Function a might well be done better by a smaller number of better paid and (through b) more accountable MPs.

  18. I think I’m about to become about as popular as Arnald.
    The only thing more risible than Murphy’s analysis was his comments section. Unfortunately I really can’t tell the difference here between his blog and this one. “They’re all useless crooks, no real world experience, wouldn’t pay them a penny, blah blah crap”.
    Look , if you think that making the laws by which our country lives is important (personally I do), then you need to decide what type of person you want in there doing it, how many of them you want and (the grown up bit) how you’re going to persuade those people to stand.
    My idea would be to pay them enough to encourage all the top professionals to think about it. And let them carry on earning outside if they want to.
    By all means disagree with me – and feel free not to like me very much. But get real please.

  19. Ironman – simple. I would like a hereditary House of Lords and a House of Commons elected largely under a property qualification, plus extra seats for members of the two universities, Freemen of the City of London and suchlike.

    Such a legislature would have no democratic legitimacy so would be constantly scared of the people.

  20. It never ceases to amaze me how people come to this conclusion that what democracy needs is restriction to some particular group, and that would fix everything. “Property owners” is always popular, as is “people who have served in the military”.

    And why the fuck do we want commies from the Universities in this legislature? Which two? Why only two? And then we add in some coke-addled City wonkas?

    So this legislature now consists of a gaggle of Buy-To-Letters from Stoke Newington, Dave and Davina Spart (PPE, Oxford) and Goldman Sachs.

    No, I’m not convinced this is our ideal ruling class. Sorry.

  21. Ironman, making laws that we all live by is not important. In fact it must be the last thing to do. All laws do is restrict. One day you are doing something legal, the next it’s illegal with punishment in the years, all because some group managed to persuade a politician that it was a good idea. And with most (99%) of politicians being thick and easily led down the garden path for anything likely to mean votes from their particular electorate they are easy pickings for campaigning groups.

    Handling the vagaries of normal life is easily covered by 20% of the laws created a hundred years ago. Everything else is just icing on the cake. And crap icing to boot. All the extra laws do is impose regulations and procedures and illogical restrictions on groups of people for no reason except to make a different group of people happy.

    We should have fewer politicians paid less and with less power. That way we don’t have thousands of new laws being created every year. In this reduction I would include MEPs as well as MPs by leaving the EU.

  22. Being an MP should be a part time job, leaving time for backbenchers to continue to work or run their business. Only ministers should be busy enough to be working full time.

  23. SadButMadLad

    “And with most (99%) of politicians being thick” Well double their pay and they won;t be thick.

    “making laws that we all live by is not important. In fact it must be the last thing to do. All laws do is restrict” I’m sure that feels right as you write it. But no, we need laws. As few as possible agreed, but we still need them. The brighter the people making them, the fewer we are likely to need or have. The fact that 20% of our laws were created 100 years ago and are still effective proves the point that Good Law is possible, indeed more likely with talented legislators.

    The fact is we do continuously need new law, because man-made law is not by its very nature a God-given absolute. take tax. The fact is the inmternational architecture is built upon 1930s paradigms. It has reached its sell-by date. However, it is the devil’s own job to re-work it; it is complicated. We need clever, talented people in Parliament to look at this. Instead what have we got? Margaret Oppenheimer and Richard Murphy and their wank-stained bollocks.

    Oh, and we do need tax. As little as possible, to go with small government. Nevertheless, we do need it.

  24. Ok, so we can agree on a few laws and as little tax and as small a government as possible.

    However I think we can also disagree on the following points.

    1) There is no correlation with high pay and high skills. Just look at the highly paid bankers. Look at the CEOs of councils.

    2) The fact that 20% (well not a fact but a made up number) of old laws are still valid shows that though society changes and new laws are required to cope with such changes, we don’t need tons of them. Good laws stand the test of time, bad laws don’t but aren’t removed for the book and get ignored or become irritating. Yes business changes, medical advances mean ethics change, society changes. But nearly all the new laws of recent decades have not been created to cover these changes. They have been created to regulate. And they have been created by the EU and rubber-stamped by our politicians.

    3) Yes, we do need talented legislators. But that starts well before they become legislators. The current intake of civil servants is more geared to political correctness and greasy pole climbing than skill or ability.

    4) Yes, we do need more laws. But only a very small number because many are not required, they are only thought to be required, or insisted on by groups with vested interests.

  25. Ian B, you missed the point. I didn’t sugget a property qualification to vote because I think that will get us better MPs. It was to deny them any claim to democratic legitimacy.

    It could be a different group of voters, but we’ve had that one before and it sort of worked.

  26. SadButMadLad

    There is indeed a correlation between high pay and talent. The best example I can think of is football, but we can take performing arts and…well, and anything where the market is genuinely open. MPs are different and it has taken some time before the reality of paying monkey rates has sunk in – even to Richard Murphy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *