Monday, 20 February 2012

Value For Money



Remember this post about the Bracknell MP who also works as a GP?  He was more than critical of his political colleagues when he said they lacked leadership and the ability to take risks.

It's thanks to Brian that we now discover Mr Lee's risk-taking is a financial gold mine. He works, as a freelance GP, for an average of 3.75 hours per week and receives payment of around just below £100 per hour.

An MP earns £65,738 a year and not accounting for their excessive holidays and using an approximate 36 hour week, they are paid £37 per hour. Adding the multitude of perks they receive, such as heavily subsidised meals and free travel, would greatly increase that amount.

Over the years I've listened to politicians substantiate their annual pay increases and their arrogant calls to be on a par with GPs and similar professions. Considering a medic requires years of training before they're let loose on the public and a politician - in most cases - requires no qualifications whatsoever other than being loyal to 'the party', there's little doubt who gives the better value for money.

Politicians, like many other professions, work on a flexi-time basis. Most employees however have to record their working time but MPs seem above the law on this.

While I'm sure Dr Lee's expensive medical training is of benefit to his patients, his availability of only 3.75 hours a week doesn't give them much continuity of care. What he has exposed is that the job of MP is certainly not what most would consider full-time and no amount of bleating from politicians will change my mind.

9 comments:

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Ah, great minds, SR. I have tackled this from another angle:

http://www.witteringwitney.blogspot.com/2012/02/vested-interests.html

Forgive the self-promotion, but I believe we are both on the same wavelength? How many masters can one person have and remain 'independent/unsullied/clean/principled/etc'?

Brian said...

Rosie,
Thanks for the hat tip and link, much appreciated.
Perhaps Charles Handy of the portfolio career is to blame.

subrosa said...

Wfw, self-promote here as much as you like. I wrote this a couple of days ago because I knew I'd be out today. As usual, you make the point far more eloquently than me.

subrosa said...

Brian, do you think the majority of MPs would know of Charles Handy? I doubt it.

Edward Spalton said...

Parliamentary sittings were timed so that MPs who were barristers could continue to practice in the courts. Some MPs had and have sidelines as authors (eg Winston Churchill). Others came from careers in their local communities. There was no evidence that the successful businessman or trade unionist was any worse at representing his constituency than the landed gentry of the previous century.

Parliament never was a sort of political monastery with MPs vowed to the sole vocation of politics - and I think that was as much a strength as a weakness.

MPs started to reward themselves as if they were full time, medium-ranking civil servants and it began in 1971 - just as many were visiting Brussels and finding out how much better their continental cousins did themselves. They placed their remuneration in the hands of something then called the Top Salaries Review Body.

Until then they voted themselves a pretty good salary,had first class rail travel to their constituencies, franking for their mail and (I think) 2,000 sheets of paper a year. No pension (unless they bought one out of their salary), no second home allowance, no office, no assistants/researchers and certainly no duck houses or moat cleaning! The system gradually evolved to that from'71 onwards.

One prescient MP stood against this. The present arrangements, he said, were perfectly adequate to enable men of ability without private means to serve their country in parliament. The more a parliamentary seat became a salaried and pensioned career, the more potential candidates there would be and the greater the influence of the party selectors. That would fundamentally change the relationship between MPs and their parties and between Parliament and the government of the day. They would be more subservient to party and government.

I think this is one occasion when we can say that Enoch was right!

Now that Parliament has outsourced most of its responsibilities to the EU and devolved administrations, there should be even less need for full time MPs.

Of course, they and their staff are very busy with "case work" for aggrieved constituents, caught in the works of bureaucracies which are out of parliamentary control - but they are not supernumerary social workers. They are supposed to be keeping an eye on the government. The government - any government - loves the "good constituency MP" who is always looking in the wrong direction.

Brian said...

Rosie,
I don't think the majority of MPs would remember the names of servicemen read out at PMQs the week before. Seeing them all go through the pantomime of sincerity makes me wretch.
Anything that gives them an interest in and knowledge of real people off the greasy political pole is to be encouraged. Professional politicos are the bane of our time.

subrosa said...

I doubt if any of them would Brian, unless the family were their constituents. That goes for MSPs also.

It's not too greasy a pole. Westminster and the SP are environments in which the occupiers protect each other when the chips are down. Yes there has been the odd MP who's been shunned, but that was possibly to the benefit of the majority.

Peter Adams said...

"While I'm sure Dr Lee's expensive medical training is of benefit to his patients, his availability of only 3.75 hours a week doesn't give them much continuity of care. What he has exposed is that the job of MP is certainly not what most would consider full-time and no amount of bleating from politicians will change my mind".

Maybe he's not confident about retaining his seat and is keeping his hand in for after the next GE.

subrosa said...

Maybe Peter, but can you think of any other highly paid 'profession' which would allow someone to take time off to earn money elsewhere?

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