Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Paul Goodman Is a Sad Loss to Politics

I'm a bit late with this, so forgive me, but I just wanted to write a word or two about Paul Goodman's decision to step down at the next election.

When I learned of the news, as I was about to start presenting the election coverage on Friday, it is no exaggeration to say that it came as a bit of a body blow. My first thought was: "If people like Paul Goodman are giving up," what does that bode for our political system? Paul is one of the most decent, honest MPs I know. We've known each other off and on for 25 years. We worked on the Davis leadership campaign, where he was a much needed voice of sanity, calmness and reason. He's a man of ideas and conviction and a gentle persuader. In short, he's just the sort of person our political system should cherish and embrace. But having read his reasons for standing down, I am even more depressed by his decision. Take this extract...

Not so long ago, MPs were elected representatives, paid little by the taxpayer but free to work outside the Commons. MPs drew on their expertise of business or the shop floor. The chamber was a forum in which the clash of different interests was resolved for the public good.

However, the representation of interests came to be seen as outmoded at best and corrupt at worst. Restrictions on MPs outside earnings were imposed. Relatively swiftly, they became largely dependent on the taxpayer – and therefore, increasingly, professional politicians rather than elected representatives: a “political class” different to and therefore separate from those who elected them. Consequently, MPs got smaller. The media got bigger. Powers leaked away to Europe, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the quangos.

A few weeks ago, this journey reached its logical destination. In an act of class revenge, Gordon Brown pushed through Parliament a measure compelling the remaining MPs who work outside the Commons to declare how often they do so.

The result will be a further injection of state power and patronage – the medicine that’s sickening the patient. The spirit of the age is against citizen MPs, and few working business people, lawyers, doctors or (dare I say) journalists will long be able to fend off local rivals who pledge to be in the Commons for every hour of the working day. Parliamentary elections threaten to become dutch auctions of self-abasement.

In the short term, a few older MPs with knowledge of the outside world will hang on. But some of their younger colleagues will quietly leave, telling friends that the loss of earnings is the last straw that broke the camel’s back – on top of vanished privacy and declining status. And, in the medium term, much future talent will avoid the Commons altogether.

Most of the rest will get in quick, scramble to the top, and get out quicker. The Commons’ institutional memory will weaken. With a number of exceptions, MPs will become cowed and toiling drudges. Fringe eccentrics and exhibitionists will provide the necessary colour, coming and going like celebrity TV contestants – briefly exalted and just as swiftly toppled.

Forceful Ministers and effective Select Committee Chairmen are likely to be scarce in such a shallow pool. And the reputation of the Commons will continue its downward spiral. Such is the Pandora’s Box that the national media elites have helped to open – one which, needless to say, they won’t be able to close. In making this case, I’ve little personal interest, since my earnings outside Parliament are minimal.

Over the long term, I suspect that fashion will change, and that the Commons will renew itself, as it’s often done before. But the long term is perhaps ten years away – which brings me to my conclusion.

I’ve come to love the Wycombe area, and trying to help my constituents as best I can. I’ve been looking forward to helping David Cameron turn Britain round, and to pursuing my passion for better relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. I believe that David will be a great Prime Minister. But this future House of Commons isn’t for me. Sometimes, one has to see a duty through. But I’ve made a contract with the voters for five years, not sworn an oath to serve for life. With regret, I won’t be applying to renew it.

Read that and weep. What does it say about our politics, that a very decent man, who would have been a shoo-in as a Minister of State in a Tory government, wants to walk away from politics? What it tells me is that our political system is increasingly designed to please those who want nothing more than to climb the greasy pole. And you know what? I'll lay a bet that there will be another half dozen or so younger MPs who do the same thing before too long. There are certainly more than a couple on the Tory benches who I know are deeply disillusioned with politics and are seriously thinking of getting out while they can, and are young enough to go an do something else.

I don't mind admitting that Paul's decision has made me think twice about my own future (or lack of it) in elected politics. But in a strange way, it's made me more determined than ever to do what I can to try to change things. The question is - is that best done from within the system or outside it?

Listen to my ten minute interview with Paul Goodman HERE.


Madasafish said...

You have already had more influence outside parliament then you ever could have inside.
And put bluntly, I think you make a better media host than many professional hosts and you will be an awful# MP - as you let personal loyalties cloud your judgement.

# but still probably better than 600 out of the current 650 denizens of the cesspit called the HOC.

Anna Raccoon said...

Sad to say, Iain, that at the moment, outside the system is the only untainted place to be.

Stay an outspoken blogger and you might be able to change something.

And what is Kind Hearts and Coronets,role in all this!

OscottLocal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Have to agree with the other chaps, Iain. Stay as a blogger. If you ever became an MP, you would be tarred with the same cynicism that the others are.

I like your enthusiastic naiveity. Don't sell yourself to the Westminster shilling, Iain. Look what it's done to Gordon Brown.

Blue Eyes said...

Iain this is exactly why I refuse to become more involved in politics. Whenever I make this point, though, I am shouted down. The argument (which you have made) that MPs should be paid more to make them more "independent" is a nonsense. I have long argued for a political system staffed by volunteers but the existing elite just say that it cannot work.

Where do you stand on this, Iain?

Anonymous said...

Paul is a really nice and really smart man, so this is a loss. And the reasons he gives are all good. But perhaps by accident or design Iain and Paul have identified another factor but, perhaps understandably, only obliquely.

Increasingly in parties decisions are taken by a tiny few at the top. Think Blair, Brown, Mandelson, Campbell or Cameron, Osborne, Coulson and Steve Hilton. Increasingly, it is then the role of others in the parliamentary party to follow the orders set out by those who have successfully positioned themselves on top. Paul, bright and able enough to be in the shadow cabinet, is not asked but those who more reliably take the party line are. Those who disagree are leftovers from previous leadership elections, in office (with a title) but without power, which lies elsewhere.

Eurosceptic Reporter said...

He is a decent guy and a loss. Unfortunately his type are not wanted by the Cameron's and Brown's of this world. Those of independent spirit have no part to play in the presidential style of politics that is now played.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't want my MP to be part-time. If they are paid to do a job of work, they must do it, and not treat it as a part-time hobby.

And I wouldn't want Iain as my MP. I think he is an excellent commentator, but his blog shows little or no concern for ordinary people and their problems, and he makes too many serious misjudgements.

Thats News said...

Those are good reason why he should stay and fight for what he believes in. Brown must be ousted. And soon before he destroys everything!

Clinging to the wreckage of the Labour Party. Oh! Is that a shark, circling?

msj said...

I think we are making too much of this. There always will be disagreements within parties and those on the losing end will be hurt. So get in, argue your case hard and then go with the decision, shrugging off the battles you lose.

The nature of parliamentary politics is that it is a team game, and if you can't play in the team you have to either get out or run as an independent.

I'd say that a bigger issue for Cameron is to avoid accusations of an Eton mafia that would be seen as the Tory equivalent of the Scottish Mafia now ruling.

Plato said...

Iain, stay on the outside and make the most of the influence you already have with a much larger audience then you would ever have from the benches.

I thought it was a real shame that the whole outside work got dragged into this.

I personally don't give a toss if an MP has another job - firemen, police officers, check-out staff often have other incomes. My mother was a teacher and also did gardening on the side!

Provided MPs are doing a good job by their constituents that's all that matters - open primaries will stop the lazy bed blockers who have taken advantage in the past.

I recoil at the political class - it has turned MPs into lobby fodder pole climbers.

I think you're worth more than that as a future.

Gareth said...

"A few weeks ago, this journey reached its logical destination. In an act of class revenge, Gordon Brown pushed through Parliament a measure compelling the remaining MPs who work outside the Commons to declare how often they do so."

There is nothing wrong with MPs earning outside Parliament but they should have the backbone to be honest about it.

If he is stepping down after such inroads have been made into his life, where has he and his colleagues been while the Government has spent a decade and a lot of money making great inroads into our lives.

He makes great points. A valid, strong argument against the power of the state, the bribery of the state and welfare trap it represents at every level. He and his colleagues had the authority to stop it and failed. They failed themselves and they failed us. Government has achieved all this because Parliament has become lazy and let it.

Now is the time for him to be fighting this, not running away. Too few of his colleagues represent us any more.

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about the man. So, Iain, list me his achievements while he has been an MP. Then I'll let you know if he will be missed or not.

Raedwald said...

Yes, Mr Goodman's comments wholly sadden me. Yet not the media alone, I think, that have brought us to this dismal state, but the whole political class.

That politics has increasingly been reported as some sort of team sport, like soccer, and that this has become an end in itself is repugnant. Loyalty to team, or party, has overtaken responsibility to nation, and to constituency, and this applies to both sides of the House. And like soccer, as Mr Goodman writes, the team managers are increasingly recruiting professional apparatchiks rather than man and women of independent thought and useful experience. The press of course are complicit in this abomination.

Brown's move to strangle independence in MPs is wholly antidemocratic. Of course MPs should be able to continue to practice their trade or profession whilst in Parliament; transparency is the answer, not prohibition. Mr Goodman asserts that transparency will lead to discrimination against working MPs by party HQ and constituency associations, but I'm not so sure this is the case.

Witness local Labour's recent preference for a working tax specialist of 54 years to a 22 year old blow-in apparatchik in Erith.

Open primaries will counter the centralism of party HQ. And I think ordinary people, rather than the political class, will take a much broader view of MPs maintaining their outside interests - with transparency, and without conflict of interest. A return to afternoon and evening sittings would also help reverse the malign discrimination in favour of 'career' politicians.

Black Flag said...

I find Paul Goodman's position and your apparent support of it puzzling. There are two separate issues here: total transparency of all earnings by our representatives, and whether MPs should work outside of Parliament.

Mr Goodman seems reluctant to reveal his outside income. While this is an understandable view for a non-politician, Members of both Houses have behaved corruptly and tried to use FOI exemptions to keep us in the dark. The public have lost trust in our politicians and to rebuild that relationship MPs are going to have to prove themselves. If we unfortunately lose a decent MP because they are not prepared to lose a little privacy to regain public trust, we will have to do without them.

Anonymous said...

When we were the world's top dog with a vast empire to run, MPs were all unpaid volunteers-- except for a small handful who were ministers.

Great to see how much more successful and respected Britain and its legislature has become since we started paying MPs, and put one in five of them on the government payroll to boot.

Why, at this rate they will all at least be on some quango or other in time. Then we can merge Parliament with the Civil Service and ensure that our legislators have jobs for life, with index-linked pensions once they get too old to turn up.

dearieme said...

"I wouldn't want my MP to be part-time. If they are paid to do a job of work, they must do it, and not treat it as a part-time hobby."

You see, Iain, there's always the gormless, blinkered twits to deal with - they have votes too.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

Honest MP.

An oxymoron de chez oxymoron.

Cjamesk said...

And yet Malik gets his job back, make of it what you will.

Anonymous said...

It breaks my heart. The current fad of guarding the guards with yet more layers of regulation won't work, of course.

It will soon be discovered that those who guard the guards need guarding too, and on it goes, layer after layer of stultifying bureaucracy, each less effective than what went before.

There is no replacement for good character.

ukipwebmaster said...

Post European Election UKIP Press Conference June 9th 2009:


Anonymous said...

If the majority of people inside the tent are comfortable with the status quo the old adage of "better to be inside than outside" fails.
Inside the tent, nobody listens to your views yet you are silenced from telling those outside what is really going on.
if Paul really feels that things are unlikely to improve in the short term, that is very worrying indeed.

Non Runner said...

Forget being elected. Go for the peerage. Lord Dale of Cyberspace anyone...?

Philipa said...

The result will be a further injection of state power and patronage – the medicine that’s sickening the patient.


But I ask again, and I'm sure I'm not the only one in the electorate who thinks this, what is the point of MP's and parliament as we know it today? I've heard that around 80% of our laws are made in Europe and simply rubber stamped in Westminster. So should we have our traditional expensive parliament at all?? We don't govern ourselves after all now do we? We are a province and the furure may be that whatever decisions we can make in this country can be made more cheaply, without current salaries and expenses.


How very sad. Thank you Mr Blair. Your bright new world is a disaster!re

Unsworth said...

This is slightly old ground, but you really do have to make a distinction between working from the inside or from the outside. Actually you have much more influence being outside Parliament - as you well know and as others here have commented.

It is arguable that only Ministers really have any effect or influence - but I doubt even that. With the gross centralisation of policy and power there has been an emasculation of all politicians - even Cabinet members.

The question is, what do you want to do? You either wish to do some good for society as a whole, or you wish to work for a constituency. No newly-elected MP walks straight into a Ministry, so it would be some years before your influence would even match what you have now.

And, perhaps more importantly, ultimately you'd be financially better off outside - despite the huge amounts of cash currently washing around MPs. I'd suggest that you should look at the commercial exploitation of blogs and blogging. My guess is that advertising revenues will start to switch in a big way, and one needs to be a Renaissance Man these days, anyway.

As to 'outside work'. Well this is Brown calculating that he can get one over the Conservatives. However, he's not really thought about that too much. All he has to do is take a look at the external interests of his own people. Will they be happy to publish their details? It's a diversion, anyway. The fact is that all of this arose from simple greed. It's nothing to do with 'rules' and everything to do with naked self-interest.

Fausty said...

If Labour is pretty much wiped out at the GE, Cameron might be able to undo many if not all of the reforms.

How do the LibDems feel about these reforms? I didn't take note of their views on this!

Alan Douglas said...

Iain, many good points made above.

If you become an MP, your unique Weltanschaung will have o be put away in favour of towing a party line.

You have built you reputation as a blogger and commentator and pundit, all of that would be thrown away by becoming an MP.

You are changing the system by doing what you do. I can't see you having more than 10 % of the same effect on the inside.

Alan Douglas

JMT said...

Rather depressing - he is of course 100% correct.

The current lame-duck administration's continued survival is proof.

A political class dependent on patronage for their daily crust, no spine or fight amongst any of them.


Jim Baxter said...

Mr Goodman does indeed seem to be a loss to politics. It's less obvious that we are facing a decline in the standard of our MPs. Can anyone point to a 'golden age' of outstandingly wise governnance made up, say, of polymaths who either enriched the government intellectually or held it to account in ways which would have been beyond mere career politicians? Or have all parliaments been as much of a mixture of the dedicated and the grasping, the occasionally great and the frequently venal, as each other?

I dunno. Just asking. You tell me.

Anonymous said...

You'd be better off inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.

wv flexfat. ????

If we're secular, we're all equal said...

Build better relations between Muslims and non-Muslims? Sounds like you've been got at by the Jihadists. The guidelines are simple. Treat everybody, regardless of confession, equally and fairly. Protect those (such as Muslim women and children) who are under social and clerical pressures which deny their basic human freedoms -- and don't cave in
to demands from "faith group" leaders for special faith group collective facilities or privileges. We all have to live in society. Back Turkish membership of the EU provided that it becomes fully secular and the creeping Islamisation endorsed by Britain the US stops. etc etc. These ideas would be and are backed by huge numbers of Muslims--equality of individuals being the key point--in places where their men of religion have not wiped out free thought. As of course they have also done in their ghettos in Britain. I write this to you from a 'Muslim' country where I know huge numbers of people who, unlike your friends in the Home counties, would agree with every syllable of the above. But can they get their message through? No they can't. And it is useful idiots in the Western world listening to the Ulema and not to ordinary people who are part of the blockage.

Finally -- get Rowan Williams and other "faith community leaders" out of public life in Britain.

Oh, and

Stu said...

I don't know Goodman and therefore accept your judgement of the man.

The system is exactly as he describes it and this is truly, truly awful.

But we need women and men to fight for the right to be able to be rooted in communities and business by working outside the Commons as well as fully participating in elected government along the lines outlined by Cameron in his MK speech.
If the system is so corrupt then CHANGE IT!

If Goodman is not up for the fight I wish him well, lets get a keen replacement from the hundreds of new PPC's now being evaluated at CCHQ.

Now is not the time for gloomy introspection - there's enough in No 10 for the whole Country - we must have candidates with fire in their guts who can lead not follow and who know what they will be doing in the first 100 days of the next Tory administration.

So cheer up and keep doing what you do best Iain - blog on.

Julian said...

The person with the power to change this is David Cameron. He will set the tone and the rules for the next parliament. He can decide to return to cabinet goverment if he wishes. He can refuse to appoint unelected peers to his cabinet. It's a great shame that Paul Goodman hasn't been able to convince him that anything needs changing.

James said...

He should stand and fight for what he believes in. Labour have had 12 years to create the environment he hates, we are now on the verge of a Conservative revolution and he throws in the towel!!!!


Can't he give it a try for 4 years and see if he makes any progress????

Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...

Anonymous If we're secular, we're all equal said...

June 09, 2009 1:52 PM

"Oh, and"


DominicJ said...

But surely your yound griends who are thinking of ding something else, are the ultimate symptom of this problem?

They clearly arent Proffessionals taking 10 years out to be citizen legislators, they're people who view the commons as a career choice, that was worth it with expenses, and isnt without.

It doesn't add up... said...

It should be a point of honour during election campaigning to emphasize the "university of life" credentials of PPCs, and to point to the narrow university of politics credentials of other candidates

DominicJ said...

Wtf happened to my comment!

Anonymous said...

Paul is a fine man and the sort of Tory MP that would make me vote for that party. A sad day: his argument makes a lot of sense.

Newmark said...

Fausty said...
"If Labour is pretty much wiped out at the GE, Cameron might be able to undo many if not all of the reforms."

It would be nice to think so. However, the reality is that when a party gains power it very rarely undoes legislation that it previously opposed.

Major Gayist said...

McMental is so desperate and frenzied he will lose not a moment's thought as to what is decent and right.
He will attempt to wreak as much damage to Parliament as an institution, simply because of the background of the Labour PPC's and it's current batch of lobotomised chimps.

Only these wretched Labourite drones could feel scorn for MP's who have skills which are relevant in the real world.

If people simply give up because they believe they are above the childishly tribal and self serving
antics of the Labour mafia, they are doing the nation a disservice.
Someone has to speak up against the NeoLabour/BBC infantalisation of politics.

I am amazed I am actually relieved Sky exists as a media outlet.

Nigel Allery said...

Iain, go into the House.

Let me ask you, if you did your current "jobs" part time, would you be as successfull in them? I suspect not.

The same is for the Commons. Part time MP's give half baked solutions. MP's need to be full time, on a decent wage. The smokescreen of simultaneously benefitting from outside experience/directorships and bringing it to the Commons is baloney. MP's are representatives who should go and talk to people about the issues, bring them to the Commons and plan and implement change.

Thomas Rossetti said...

Iain, you ask

"What does it say about our politics, that a very decent man, ... wants to walk away from politics?

It says that our politics has been run by politicians who seemed intent on milking the system for all its worth and are justifiably held in contempt by many people. I genuinely don't see why they should be "handsomely" rewarded for what they do.

The argument about politicians only having one job is a party-political one, since few Labour members would ever be employed to do anything... by anyone. You can prove this is so by the fact that John Prescott is such an advocate.

Let's picket Downing Street for a general election!

Anonymous said...

You are invaluable to society; 12 years of Nulabor spin and manipulative 'government' has reduced Parliament to an arena akin to "Big Brother House".

Those whose interest lies in Federalism, not democracy, act as a rule unto themselves, hence the upheavals in all sectors.

Sinbad the sailor said...

Sorry I don't get it.. Is he saying that 64 grand + execs is not enough for the responsibilities and MP has and they need outside interests to top up..A non executive directorship here or there?

What do people go into politics for..to contribute to public life or to make a lot of money or both??

I know nothing of the man like the majority of posters but if you have passion you don't quit IMHO

Matt said...

If what's on offer isn't enough for this man or you then don't do it. Then if/when parliament falls to pieces without you/them maybe the public will accept higher wages/bungs/duck houses.

I think it used to be called democracy.

Stephen B said...

This all reminds me of the lines from Alasdair MacIntyre After Virtue:

"a crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium."

a cynic said...

What do people go into politics for..to contribute to public life or to make a lot of money or both??

I certainly hope both. And if I have to choose between the first two then I'll choose the latter.

I think it was Somerset Maugham (in the guise of 'Colonel R') who said - I paraphrase massively - that if you have to choose between someone who's in it for the money, and someone who's in it for his ideals, always go with the first one. They're more predictable, and less likely to f--- you over unexpectedly.

HarveyR said...

Paul says that an MP should be able to have interests outside Parliament, including sources of remuneration.

In fact he says that not only should this be allowed it should be seen as a an advantage rather than a conflict of interests.

That's fine, and it's a good argument. People with experience of and continuing interest in life outside Parliament can contribute more than the careerists.

Why then, if they are a good thing, should he be complaining about simply declaring what these interests are and how much time he spends in improving his worldly experience?

Means Test ACA said...

Fair play to him, he practices what he preaches; never above 540th on his expenses.

However, I do think that he's protesting a bit about having to declare outside interests and earnings. MPs already have to rightly declare outside earnings and possible conflicts of interest - this just lets the people know how much time they're spending on constituency business, which is effectively what the 60K element of their salary is for. If he wanted to be a pro-bono MP and donate his salary to the people of Wycombe, I'm sure they wouldn't mind.

Simon Gardner said...

It’s absolutely right that MPs should declare their outside earnings and work to the voters.

I’m astonished anyone should argue the point.

canvas said...

Iain, I've read it - but I'm not weeping.

I don't like quitters. Why is he REALLY stepping down? Were his expenses dodgy so he had no choice?

I would rather weep for all those people losing their jobs - jobs they still want!

Paul Goodman might be a nice person but he sounds like a very weak man.

Donut Hinge Party said...

Should the police force be staffed by 'volunteers' who buy their own truncheons? (Actually, in 1920's Boston that wasn't too far from the truth.)

The house of commons should represent the people it - er - represents; not a collection of fat old businessmen thinking about where to short sell next. If people want other interests then fine, but take them away from the allowance that the tax payers of this nation allow them in order to pursue their duties.

Should we go back to the days when a man could buy a comission in the army and pay for the right to lead a frightened cohort of young men to their death for his own enjoyment?

canvas said...

PS> Iain, you couldn't even buy a vote (!) so don't worry about your chosen career as a media man.


Anonymous said...

The reason I don't want my representative in parliament to have a second/third job is for the same reason my employer doesn’t want me to have a second/third job!

Go figure!

Double standards here, same old same old politicians, ok for me not you! Not so long ago Tory MP's were objecting to policemen having second jobs, or moonlighting as they quaintly put it.

Its obvious if you are in it for the cash alone then politics isn’t for you!

If what’s on offer as an MP is not enough then it’s not for you.

Start a business make your own way see how you do while being bled by the state and looted by so called decent MP’s (none yet prosecuted) while everything you have is on the line if you fail!

The world does not owe me a living; I live in the real world were all I am worth is what I can earn today; tomorrow is a whole new ball game.

Gareth Thomas said...

I read Paul Goodman's statement with some sadness. It tells us a lot about what is happening on a deeper level in the body politic at present. In an article for The Tablet in 1993, the late Donald Nicholl wrote about the "Culture of Contempt" in which everything that was once deserving of respect becomes the target of abuse and contempt.

Who sets that agenda? We all do, up to a point. Even your blog is part of the process, entertaining though it is, because once we begin to see 'putting the boot in' as pure entertainment we treat the 'show' as if Gordon Brown was a contestant on Big Brother, The Apprentice or BGT.

He has behaved badly, and there is much evidence of that. But when the press daily speak of the PM's flawed personality and insult him with questions about his mental health or his wider moral integrity, this is to the detriment of the office of PM and the dignity of our political culture. Once we have gone down this road of contempt for our public servants, our elected representatives, our own institutions, there is no going back.

I am not saying it is desirable to suppress a critique, but we need to steer clear of the kind of cynicism that believes only the worst of our public servants. I believe we will never be the same again unless we can recover a sense of perspective here: Westminster is not the Big Brother house, and the nation doesn't vote out the PM by shouting loudly at their television sets.

So, it is all very well to express sadness for the departure of a politician you respect, Iain, but time and again these same nuances of contempt appear on your blog. Yes, sometimes they are very entertaining, but in the end you really cannot have it both ways. If the critique goes beyond policy and hits at the deeper level of personal integrity, or undermines the office and the institution, we have lost the plot. That sounds pretty much why Paul Goodman has thrown in the towel, and who can blame him?

Means Test ACA said...

More Googling (Or 'Binging') Later:

He was a ruddy monk. A Jewish Catholic monk, bizarrely! Hardly one the Captains of Industry that commentors here seem to think should bedeck the halls of Westminster, although he did work for the Telegraph.

In which case, I sincerely doff my hat to him for his financial restraint, but find myself even more intrigued about his 'outside interests' Being an ex-editor of a Catholic newspaper I'm going for something anti-abortion which he thinks might turn his constituents against him. Or it might be that as the child of two Jews, the BNP getting two seats in Europe was just too damn much for him

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1.17 ... still waiting Iain - the silence is deafening.

Anonymous said...

Interesting line:

"pursuing my passion for better relations between Muslims and non-Muslims"

So the wicked racist colonial whites STILL not doing enough for the "Religion of Peace"....

Anonymous said...

Not a fan of the Sodomites, though.

Voted Strongly against Equal Gay Rights according to the Public Whip and Theyworkfor you.

Dave H said...

I'm afraid the trouble is that the representation of outside interests was at worst corrupt.

As for 'paid little by the taxpayer'. Maybe the basic salary wasn't a fortune, but the allowance system was generous enough to make the effective salary much higher. (One day this story may even make the papers.)

It's slightly odd timing to quit now, when he is less than a year from an enhanced opportunity to change things. Is this his way of saying that a Cameron Government won't make much difference?

BTW I was sickened, but not surprised, when I saw Harman et al proposing changes designed to have a greater impact on Conseravtive MPs, then dressing it up as an anti-sleaze proposal.

We don't need to see numbers to know Labour MPs are disproportionately unemployable and unsuccessful.

Little Black Sambo said...

"It’s absolutely right that MPs should declare their outside earnings and work to the voters.

I’m astonished anyone should argue the point."

Bare assertion coupled with an expression of astonishment doesn't amount to much. You clearly aren't trying to convince any one. If an MP is paid for work outside Parliament, it's not my money and therefore none of my business. Being an MP has become a profession, but we might be better off if it weren't.

Gareth Thomas said...

Means Test ACA: I'm intrigued to know why you apply the word 'bizarre' to the idea of a person from a Jewish family background becoming a Catholic monk. The Christian church grew up as a sect in the Jewish community of the first century. Christians with a Jewish family background have been part of the church throughout its history. Some prominent British Catholics and Anglicans in recent times have come from a Jewish background. In France there is a quite large and very lively community - the Communaute des Beatitudes - which includes many Jewish Catholics and the religious feasts of both religions are celebrated. There is a widely diverse world out there, full of fascinating humanity in all its richness. We occasionally remain limited by the stereotypes we imagine and we fail to notice the diversity.

Means Test ACA said...

OT, but what's your view on HEARFROMYOURMP, the latest mysociety project? I thought it'd been going for a while, but apparently it's fairly new.

Top responders are all women:

Dawn Primarolo
Lynne Featherstone
Nadine Dorries
Kitty Usher
And, er, John Redwood.

Maybe not ALL women, then.

Means Test ACA said...

Gareth - it's the whole Jesus as Messiah thing, that I thought would be the sticking block for most Jews. I'm sure it's possible, like a Black Country and Western star, but it's still not the norm.

Jews may have started Christianity, but BOY did they lose that support - IIRC, they were banned from the country until King Edward in the 1400's decided that he wanted to bring them back now that they'd made all their money from usury (which, to be fair, was the only job they were allowed by their Christian masters)

I mean, monotheism's a funny thing. Take Christianity, knock Jesus out of the equation, and Mr, you've got yourself a Muslim.

Opinicus said...

Is there anyone who genuinely thinks DC is going to do anything good or worthwhile or is he just Elastoplast.

Lola said...

Move 1 by Cammo - if he gets in - is to reverse Brown's no outside jobs rule thingy. And explain why. The campaign about this needs to start now.

Anonymous said...

There's another thing here.

If you don't like the direction that your party is taking and don't see the prospects for change in the near or medium term (which currently applies to some Labour MPs as well as many Tories, like Paul, who supported David Davis in the leadership election, your choice in the future is likely to be a lower parliamentary salary that you cannot supplement by outside earnings and your independence, or selling out your principles for a higher salary as a member of the government, or to secure the prospect of being a member of the government.

If only parties could appoint non-members of parliament to government and MPs could be left alone to vote their consciences, subject to the approval of the electorate and their own local party in a fair and open primary.

Being an MP could then be recognized as a part-time job, as it already is for ministers and many of their shadows.

Anonymous said...

He goes and the likes of Alan Duncan stay?

Anonymous said...

Once realisation dawns about: -

(1) the personal sacrifices of being an MP;

(2) the sort of people other MPs are and the interests and ends they pursue;

(3) the fact the British people (whom it is surely assumed ab initio will not extend gratitude) are not really worth the effort;

then giving up on being an MP seems a rational act.

Anonymous said...

You know something. I just watched that clip of you that appeared on HIGNFY and realised you are more PC than Marx and his deluded friends invented PC. My gosh! Half the so-called Tory Party are left wingers.