Means test the MPs!
The reaction of some MPs to the expenses scandal seems quite bizarre to me. Wages are set by markets. If lots of well qualified people are prepared to do a job for free then the wage for that job should be zero. Obviously, if the wage for an MP was zero, as it was until the early years of the twentieth century, then people on lower incomes would be prevented from entering Parliament. As a taxpayer I'm prepared to accept that we should pay a wage to MPs, but it should be means-tested and it should be modest.
The MPs that are being asked to pay back expenses should do so cheerfully with a sense of contrition. They should be ashamed that they are paid as much as they are. The defence that they were only following the rules that existed at the time doesn't wash at all. The rules were set by the MPs themselves!
To my mind this has been a creeping abuse of power that the electorate should be given an opportunity to put a stop to. At least one of the big three parties should propose to put MPs' (and Councillors' and MSPs' etc.) salaries on a principled basis.
Labels: expenses, means-testing, theft