Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Tories and MPs` outside interests

Surprising to see the adverb, "astonishingly" used, in the article on the latest "cash-for access scandal", to describe Cameron rejecting Miliband`s "call to limit MPs` outside income".(Morning Star,24/02/15) His leadership of the Tory party is under such extreme pressure from the right-wing back-benchers, any agreement from him to "rein in their extra-parliamentary activities" was never on the cards. No doubt, he will be spouting forth about the necessity for MPs to have experience of the real world, so that they can empathise with the needs of their constituents, and serve them more effectively? Cameron and the Tories frequently say things like this, because they take us for mugs.
    They expect us to believe their support for an increase in wages, when their so-called "long-term plan" is for a low-wage economy; they expect us to accept that they really are determined to end the "morally repugnant" tax avoidance, even though they have cut the workforce at HMRC by 20%, and their much-vaunted "Google tax" is only intended to raise £355m a year, and then, not until 2019; Tories even consider it likely that people living north of  the Midlands will vote for them because of their support for creating "northern powerhouses", despite the billions spent on London and the south-east in the last five years. Voters must, presumably, forget the fact that the Tories ignored their manifesto promises after the last election, and still proceeded with top-down reform of the NHS and increases in VAT, and that Gove and Duncan Smith are just two of the front-bench who have been frequently reprimanded for their "economy with the truth". Tories are still attacking Labour as the "borrowing party" because it borrowed £142.7bn in its thirteen years in office. Voters are too dumb, in their eyes, to remember that they have borrowed £157.5bn in their five years of coalition government.
         Now they suddenly care about good governance? Probably as much as Rifkind does for the well-being of the poor, or the inflated rents charged by the profiteering private landlords, in his constituency!
        This isn`t the first time Miliband has called for MPs to be "banned from directorships and consultancies". Presumably, he realises, like the rest of us, that being on a British company`s board of directors in the 21st century, with agendas which include pay renumerations worthy of only one adjective - "obscene", dealings with accountants to discover new tax avoidance scams, discussions of "efficiency" which can only mean cutting jobs, and methods to maintain the "profit-at-all-costs-forget-ethics" ethos, is so far removed from the real world experiences of the average constituent, it is more of a hindrance to good governance than benefit. 

         What a shame Miliband didn`t see the need to insist that all Labour MPs and candidates reveal their tax details prior to the May election! This would have been embarrassing for some, no doubt, but it would have put the onus on the Prime Minister, Farage, and the other party leaders to follow suit. The fact that Labour`s response to Cameron`s failure to fulfil his promise on tax transparency, made back in early 2012, was a deafening silence, speaks volumes! 
     Nevertheless, Miliband has shown a degree of determination on the latest scandal, and it is to be hoped that his colleagues on Labour`s top table will show him more support than they have over his attempts to reduce student fees!

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