Glad to see a member of the MSM doing something right for once, but do not think this is entirely down to their efforts; Guido offered some money to the chap who had the uncut expenses data which has no doubt led to the telegraph's "poop or get off the pot" actions, neither would it have been possible were it not for a few independent journalists hounding them, expecting answers as to how they spent other peoples money; our money.
I cant help but wonder what it is that most bothers me about this; for what we are paying MP's, ministers and their associated hangers on it must be tiring work - no decent employer would expect slave hours for slave wages, nor would they expect them to be transported hundreds of miles for long periods of time without sufficient compensation and provisions. No - what I think annoys me most is the lack of honesty in their dealings with their employers; and Young Mr. Brown appears to agree with me on this. Few employers would agree to such terms - "hand over this money for "expenses", no questions asked" - we are not given this ultimatum on such "civil" terms - "you will hand over this money for "expenses" and you will not ask questions or we will put you in chokey"...Now we've found out what they are spending our money on and you can be sure many of them will lose their job over this, come the election; there is only so many times that people will vote for the rosette when they are (finally) paying attention to the turd that it is attached to.
Many of these same MP's will use the other defence of "not being paid enough for the job" - I, as would most people say when they catch an employee with their hand in the till "supplementing" their wages, would tell them to seek alternative employment where there wage requirements can be realised.
They do have a point here though and this is what happens when you fix the price of something so that it doesn't follow the natural cost of that item; Wat Tyler covered this some time ago in relation to national pay scales and its consequences*. Which is why I offer the following idea up for scrutiny: in an ideal world wages would be set by the market in which they operate - teachers in education, nurses/doctors in healthcare, fruits scones in baking etc - MPs operate likewise in another type of market - the general election market - as such they should name their price (wages would henceforth be paid out of council tax) and terms of contract alongside their policy interests and CV; this would have the double blessing of focusing the MP's mind on local issues throughout the year and focusing the minds of the electorate on the true cost of their representative an thus worth. Better MP's who are shown to be consistently good at their jobs would be able to negotiate higher wages whilst moderate ones would be open to haggling and improving their behaviour in parliament and their contact with their constituents. Ministers would be paid a stipend on top of this to ensure compensation for additional work which would be fixed and paid out of central funds. Combined with a robust and open expenses scheme identical to private industry you would ensure competition thrived.
A worker deserves his wages, but let them examine their own self-worth.