Barking red necks, MP’s pay and unemployment

Daniel Hannan, the Conservative MEP who overflows with contempt for the NHS – amongst other things, is off to the USA, I understand. No doubt he will preach to the red necks over there and try to further delay the health care reforms that Obama is shaping. A blog of his that I encountered is revealing – for unreflective idolatry, no Islamic fundamentalist’s committment to their faith can hold a candle to Hannan’s  regard for Thatcher, the bulk of the comments appended to the blog indicate that there are others like him. Time, perhaps, to invent a term for UK based red necks. Any suggestions?
News that Palin is using phrases like ‘Obama’s death panels’ to advance her case suggests very strongly to me that she is every bit as dangerously deluded as many had feared. That she has resigned her governorship and may run for President in 2012 makes that campaign one to watch.
Other Conservative nomenklatura in the news this week include Alan Duncan. He can’t manage on his MP’s pay and feels he is ‘living on rations’. A jocular aside perhaps but it does bring the thorny issue of MP’s pay into the public arena – again. My current view is that MP’s pay should be a fixed multiple of the mid-point between the national minimum wage and the national average wage. This will keep parliamentarian’s alert to the welfare of people at all points on the national pay scale.

Performance related pay remains in vogue for bankers (compensation and bonuses) and hospitals (payment by results – PBR) despite widespread reservations about its desirability. What about using it in Westminster? Taking Anthony Barnett (open democracy) and Andreas Whittam-Smith’s (Independent) notion of reasserting popular control of politicians, we can establish performance related pay for MPs. Not only would the terms be imposed by popular mandate but, there being an identity of interest, the destructively partisan short-term nature of current politics would be stopped in its tracks.

Make, say, 50% of all MP’s remuneration dependent on a range of measurable outcomes. For example: annual incremental improvements in poverty, illiteracy, crime, inequality, national debt, national energy consumption, national CO2 production, illegitimacy, incidence of specified diseases, smoking, alcohol related deaths, road accidents, public transport use, employment, deaths in the armed forces – I am sure that there are many possibilities.

Sauce for the goose…

Today it has been announced that unemployment is at its highest for fifteen years and one fifth of young people are out of work. Economic cycles persist and cause harm to each generation. We urgently need consistent long term economic planning to lessen the policy swings and the wasteful chaos and dislocation that they bring. Two party politics makes such swings inevitable and needs to be eliminated – which is where Independent candidates come in and is one of the reasons why I am standing.
Popular participation in our participatative democracy is the solution. A clean non-aligned local candidate is not a novelty – Dr. Richard Taylor and Martin Bell have breached the walls of Westminster in spectacular fashion and if we are serious about improving our country and its governance we must pour through the gap in overwhelming numbers.


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