I go back to those expenses, so dominating the news agenda. Here's Rachel Sylvester:
As someone who speaks to MPs a lot, I do not think that politicians are all corrupt or greedy. Most are decent, hard-working people who retain at least some of their idealism. They do not go into politics to make money, they are underpaid compared with other professionals and even the now notorious second home allowance was set up for a reason. It is expensive to live in two places. We cannot, on the one hand, demand that Parliament be more representative and then make it impossible for anyone without a private income to become an MP.
I also don't think that politicians are all corrupt or greedy, but to say they don't go into politics to make money is the same red herring as contained in the Times leader I posted about yesterday; not being motivated by the desire for riches doesn't excuse petty corruption where it occurs. Beyond the red herring, however, Sylvester here also admits to a remarkable assumption: this is by way of a notion of parliamentary representativity according to which to do the job properly you'd need to be paid to the level of people who enjoy a private income. (a) Why should Parliament be representative in that sense? What proportion of the electorate has a private income? (b) Call me sceptical that this is indeed the level of remuneration required to do the job conscientiously and effectively. (c) MPs need to stay in touch with how most of the rest of the country lives, and this issue should now be resolved with that consideration in mind.