This week, Exiting the Parliamentary Trough
Parliament has finally risen. And if Mark Twain is correct, that should mean our lives, liberties and personal property should be safe again for a month or two.
Nonetheless, the end of this parliamentary term has seen several MPs disengage themselves themselves from the trough from which they have gorged themselves these past three years. Some have been feeding from it for two-score years or more. Others have stayed just long enough to qualify for the parliamentary pension. I can't remember what the rules around that are now—perhaps the perks are not quite as gold-plated as they used to be, although subsidised air travel appears to remain on the list.
One of the troughers finally extricating himself after years on the State tit is Rodney Hide, the perk-buster come perk-luster who shouted his girlfriend an overseas trip paid for by the sweat of others ("But I was entitled!" he squealed, paying up only once he was found out). Another is Roger Douglas, who by my reckoning has chalked up twenty-seven years warming a seat in the debating chamber; he made himself famous in his first terms as a Labour Finance Minister prepared to challenge and then rescue the country from the totalitarian tendencies of Robert Muldoon; he made himself famous in this one by being prepared to have the taxpayer pay for his books and his trips to his granddaughter's wedding in the UK. ("But I was entitled!" he squealed, refusing to pay up at all.)
Other parasites—cockroaches like Trevor Mallard and Murray McCully spring immediately to mind—hang on like the leeches they inevitably become, addicted to the OPiuM of the masses (Other People's Money) and the power plays of the Parliamentary precinct.
Those of us who have to pick up the tab for the circus that is Parliament, for the time-wasting, filibustering attempts to justify a salary that is several times the minimum wage, and the TV channel that broadcasts the heavily censored antics of these goons into our living room (the cameras are not allowed to capture MPs sleeping, reading newspapers or picking their noses, and newspapers may not—on penalty of being banned—republish photos of any action that might occasionally happen in the chamber) often become somewhat irritated by the overinflated sense of importance that MPs exhibit and their insatiable lust for unearned reward. Unearned, because none of them produce a damned thing. They can only either inhibit or destroy.
The best thing they could do would be to get out of the way. Let people work hard, and desist from stealing the fruit of their labour. Go on indefinite gardening leave, for example, as PC has suggested most 'public servants' do. But no, they insist on making more and more laws to regulate and micromanage our lives, as if that somehow justifies their bloated salaries.
Until they see the light and start pulling their heads in voluntarily (fat chance), I propose a radical reform of the system of remuneration and the trappings associated with being an MP. This would involve pulling ALL current MPs off Nanny's nipple and sending them back from boarding school to their parents with a note from Matron. That note would essentially say that the golden days of living off the taxpayer forever are over, From now on, MPs would have to be funded by their own political parties.
Yes, let the National Party set John Key's salary, and that of his Labour-Lite colleagues. And let the members of the National Party raise the funds to pay that salary. Likewise let the Labour Party pay its own MPs—that should be a relatively cheap exercise for the next 3 years at least.
Radical? Hell, yes. It would probably mean National seeking funding from corporate sources and Labour competing with other left-wing parties for union funds. But it would mean political parties were actually bankrolled by the people that support them instead of holding a gun to heads of productive people and forcing them to cough up their hard-earned pennies to pay delinquent parasites whose principles and policies are often diametrically opposed to their own personal beliefs.
Speaking for myself and my own pocketbook, I personally resent having to pay a Prime Minister who is a liar and his sidekick the Dipton Double-dipper—happy, both of them, to consign our children to a burden of crushing debt, the inevitable consequence of which which will be default and further credit downgrade.
Make all political parties responsible for paying their MPs whatever they want, and arranging their pensions and perks. You can bet there wouldn't be the same golden shower of pay and perks these jobsworths enjoy at the moment at our expense.
Hell, some of them might be forced to find productive work!
And yes, fat chance of that as well.
See you next week!