Standard political twattery

MPs could be banned from taking second jobs as political consultants in the wake of the Owen Paterson case under proposals being considered by Parliament’s standards watchdog.

The Telegraph understands that the committee on standards, which rules on whether MPs have broken the code of conduct, is discussing the measure as part of a new report on the rules that apply to members.

It is understood several figures on the committee, made up of MPs and lay members, believe restrictions on outside interests must be tightened after Mr Paterson was found to have committed an “egregious” breach of the rules on paid advocacy.

We’ve just found someone guilty of a breach of the rules. Therefore the rules must be tightened?

Whut?

“We’ve just jailed someone for rape using the current law. Therefore the law on rape must be tightened so we can jail blokes like this”?

No, obviously not. That we’ve just been able to jug the bloke shows that the law’s perfectly fine in our ability to jug blokes who do this.

27 thoughts on “Standard political twattery”

  1. Must admit I’m not sure here. MP’s may not be re-elected, so they need to have some sort of fallback position. But one doesn’t want them screwing the public.

    So presumably a moderate enforcement of the law would offer a balance between the interests of the MPs and the rest of us.

  2. Standard political opportunism. The Tories (having just weakened themselves playing rule of man instead of rule of law) are vulnerable on this. Exploit.

  3. He was suspended for 30 days. Tightening the rules would mean anything more than that.

    Logic used to be your forte, Tim.

  4. We have found nothing. A bunch of civil servants say they have.
    That MPs should be vulnerable to the opinions of civil servants with no public involvement rather undermines the point of democracy.

  5. Paterson always came across as one of those MP’s with a bit of common sense – he didn’t fall for all the global warming crap and was a brexiteer. That’s just two reasons why the establishment were out to get him. The fact Chris Bryant was so vocal against him screams to me that’s it’s all just political back stabbing as usual.

  6. So another self-appointed kangaroo court screams ‘Guilty!” without gathering evidence, hearing witnesses, or allowing defence from the accused.
    Oh, and conflating prosecution and judge, too.
    Did this lot also announce the accused was guilty BEFORE they started, like the Standards Commissioner?

    Owen Paterson was a Leaver, and therefore they were out to get him, and all the other Brexiteers take note.
    And Owen Paterson also blew the lid off the deliberate flooding of the Somerset Levels by EU order, so that will have earned him additional hit points.

    Long overdue that MP’s become unpaid volunteers, and earn their living outside Westminster, in the real world. These self-obsessed committee-roaches and assorted troughers are beyond parody.

  7. That “second jobs” angers the hell out of me. Being an elected representative of the people isn’t supposed to be a full-time job. That it has become one, and I recognise that it has, is one of the chief reasons the country’s in the state it is.

    Also, what others have said. Paterson had a target on his back. As Mark Steyn pointed out the other day, Sinn Fein are running the biggest criminal enterprise in Northern Ireland and they’re in the bloody government over there. But this guy gets his collar felt?

  8. What BiW said. We don’t actually need a ridiculously expensive building in central London full of full time legislators.

    Pay them reasonable expenses and let them work as MP’s part time via Zoom. Obviously this will result in a lot less time for political fuckery, but that’s a feature.

    Also what Adollfff and Tim the Coder said.

    Nobody’s been able to give an elevator pitch on exactly what it is that Patterson did that’s so outrageously reprehensible. That’s because his alleged misdeeds are extremely technical and boring and open to interpretation. Like the Blessed Jeremy Corbyn, he is anathema not because of his corruption, but because of his relative honesty.

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Must admit I’m not sure here. MP’s may not be re-elected, so they need to have some sort of fallback position.”

    Its not just that, relatively poor pay means it doesn’t attract the sort of people we would like to have governing us, not that much of mediocre, at best, half-wots and dim wits that are elected.

    Would we get someone like Geoffrey Cox if he couldn’t supplement his income?

    I’d go for fewer, better paid, MPs.

  10. Its not just that, relatively poor pay means it doesn’t attract the sort of people we would like to have governing us, not that much of mediocre, at best, half-wots and dim wits that are elected.

    I’d go for fewer, better paid, MPs.

    The argument that, if we pay peanuts we get monkeys, has some merit.

    Unfortunately, all of the empirical evidence shows that even if we pay a king’s ransom, all we get are very expensive monkeys.

  11. The problem’s the greasy pole factor. MP’s are at an apex of a power structure. To get to the top, to become an MP, requires competing against others who wish to become MPs. Thus the contender who gets to be an MP is the one who’s motivated by what he/she regards as their own best interests*. The next pyramid up is, of course, government. Exactly the same applies. Consists of the MP’s most motivated by their own self interest with the PM on top.
    Doesn’t mean that MP’s or governments can’t act of the interests of the people they represent. But that’s going to be by coincidence more than intent.

    *Caution here. That is if they recognise what is in their own best interests. Most people don’t

  12. “Unfortunately, all of the empirical evidence shows that even if we pay a king’s ransom, all we get are very expensive monkeys.”

    Precisely. Representing the people is supposed to be a public service. You want people who do it out of a sense of duty, not because it makes a lucrative career. And okay, I understand the cynical argument that you’ll have a hard time finding any these days, but bunging MPs four times the average salary plus expenses sure as hellfire isn’t the way to go about it.

  13. There is another way of paying MP’s of course. Esteem. People would hold great esteem for someone could do valuable work as an MP. Or a good government. And esteem is, or was, what all those gongs & knighthoods are about. These days they pay good money for those, despite their largely devalued status.
    But MPs would have to up their game considerably before anyone paid much respect to them, wouldn’t they?

  14. Sam Duncan,

    “Precisely. Representing the people is supposed to be a public service. You want people who do it out of a sense of duty, not because it makes a lucrative career. And okay, I understand the cynical argument that you’ll have a hard time finding any these days, but bunging MPs four times the average salary plus expenses sure as hellfire isn’t the way to go about it.”

    I disagree. The result of that is that you only get posh dim boys like Osborne and Corbyn, or various untalented women for whom £80K is the best they’re ever going to do. You miss out on a whole lot of talent who want to do a job that means they get to live in a big house, drive a Porsche and snort coke off a hookers tits.

    And it’s much cheaper to pay people with a lot of cash that they can spend on snorting coke off hookers tits than the alternative. What amateurs do is not to serve their customers, but to serve themselves. Which might mean taking a big fat bribe, but worse than that, they will pursue their own pet projects, like high speed choo-choos or nation building in the middle east.

  15. Bloke in Wales said:
    “Unfortunately, all of the empirical evidence shows that even if we pay a king’s ransom, all we get are very expensive monkeys.“

    What if, instead of paying them a salary, we compensate them for lost earnings? So if you were making £200,000 p.a. before being elected, you get paid £200,000 p.a. as an MP. If you were being paid £18,000 before being elected, you get paid £18,000.

    That way, no-one becomes an MP for the money, but also no-one is discouraged by the low pay.

  16. @Richard T given the EU rule that Euro MEPs can only be paid the same salary as the MPs in their home country has led to overblown expenses and allowances system that exists just to get around the rule that might be a problem. That sort of virtue signalling with no real world meaning is why people despise politicians and looking at the last expense scandal it’s inevitable that salary would become a sham headline figure

  17. Given that a lot of the fuss over expenses is because an MP with a constituency office has to claim the valid costs of the office as expenses, which is open to abuse. Why shouldn’t MPs abide by the standards they inflict on us? Form a company, with turnover as the expense claims and costs as the money they expend, backed up by receipts. Deben just used to shovel out money to his tenants and labourers and claim it back on expenses: how delightful it would be to see him justify them in front of an HMRC tribunal

  18. Given that a lot of the fuss over expenses is because an MP with a constituency office has to claim the valid costs of the office as expenses, which is open to abuse.

    Given that a constituency MP office needs to be there whoever the MP, and whichever the party they represent, if any, then that office and its staff should be supplied and paid for by the state with the MP the temporary public face. The business of standard letter answering and local surgery appointments booking and following up can be taken care of by the permanent local staff. There is no justification for it to be a party political facility, other than “that’s how it’s always been.” There is also no justification for the running costs to be paid out of an expenses system that is rife with the potential for corruption.

    I would go further and have the state own a flat in the middle of the largest town in each constituency and let it to the elected MP. There is no reason why we should be paying politicians’ mortgages. Give the non-London MPs a weekly rail card (2nd class, of course) for travel and the keys to a state owned 1 bedroom flat in London. No need for living costs or travel costs to go on expenses.

    “Research” and political assistants can be paid for by the parties. No need for expenses here either.

    If we’re going to pay MPs at all I think their salaries should be performance-linked, with that performance being our prosperity. I would set the rate to be the median adult salary. If we remove the need for housing and travel costs, and staffing a constituency office, then there is no need to pay MPs the exorbitant amounts they get today.

  19. BiW

    The issue with having permanent employees for an MP is that they will inevitably end up being leftists, actively working against any MP who is of the centre, right, or less-derangedly-left than they are. MPs being able to pick their own assistants is essential.

    Office in the largest town in the constituency is tricky, too. The largest town in my constituency is right off in one corner of it, and would be guaranteed to get vandalised if it wasn’t Labour. Given most MPs surgeries are held in rotation in church halls and similar venues, the constituency office’s location doesn’t really matter, and putting it where the MP and his/her staff are in danger of being assaulted by the diversity is unnecessary.

  20. It’s a fair point about the permanent office staff being captured by the long march.

    I didn’t however suggest the office should be in the largest town, rather the MP accommodation. On the grounds that that’s where public transport would likely be most usable so we could insist they use it.

  21. Whatever the ins and outs of the Paterson case, why the Tories couldn’t see how this would be portrayed is ridiculous.

    Labour’s weak point is ‘running the economy’
    The Tories is ‘sleaze’

    Labour can’t avoid having to run the economy and will be turfed out when, as is inevitable, the economy goes tits up with them in charge. All you have to do to stay in power for a long time as a Tory government is avoid accusations of sleaze.

  22. Boris Johnson once described the British working class as criminal, drunk, and hopeless.
    Perhaps he was just describing himself. Except he is a spoiled rich kid, who has never done days work in his life.

    I back Keir.
    Keir Starmer is more intelligent, more competent, and less corrupt than the PM.
    Back Keir for the UK.

  23. Keir Starmer is more intelligent, more competent, and less corrupt than the PM.

    A couple of those points may, arguably, be true – but unfortunately, nobody wants to vote for Sir Keith. End democracy, now!

  24. Keir is a bastion of democracy. He has fought for the law his entire adult life. He fights for freedom, democracy, human rights and social justice.

  25. And Sir keith made over £100,000 from his lawyerly activities while he’s been Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition. But that’s OK when Labour do it, because with socialists it’s never ‘what’ always ‘who/whom’.

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