Letters: MPs should just take the money

These letters were published in the Tuesday 10 December edition of the Independent

Share

There has been a predictable outcry against the independent review body’s recommendation of an 11 per cent pay raise for MPs. People rage that it is unacceptable during these times of austerity, and politicians queue up to agree with them. 

But there is never a good time for us to correct the anomalously low pay of our elected representatives. Compared with politicians in other countries, or compared with senior civil servants, the pay of our MPs and ministers is woefully uncompetitive.  

The MPs who represent us form the gene pool from which the leaders in our executive are selected. Do we want the best people as our leaders?  Of course we do. We won’t get them if we pay poorly. They should take the rise. 

If we keep denigrating politicians and underpaying them our choice will be restricted to the wealthy or the fanatical.

Paul Sloane, Camberley, Surrey

 

It is remarkably arrogant of any MP to suggest that they will refuse to accept the proposed pay rise. As it will not come into effect until after the next general election, no sitting MP will benefit unless they are again voted for by a majority of their constituents.

The rise does not apply to any individual but to the job. Current MPs are of course all welcome to apply for one of these jobs if they so choose. I imagine that the rate of pay will be only one factor in their decision.

Dr Dominic Horne, Ledbury, Herefordshire

 

With regard to MPs’ pay , many insist that higher pay is needed to attract suitable people into Parliament.  Would not suitable people, though, be those who recognise the value of being an MP? Would they not be more suitable, if content to live on incomes more typical of the general population? 

Indeed, would we not respect good footballers were they to value their play without needing millions in salaries? Could not successful entrepreneurs be pleased with their businesses instead of scarpering to lands abroad if the size of their profits is endangered by taxation? 

It is surely depressing that the current ethos is that the main motivator to get people to do valuable jobs must be more and more money. Must a society have such an ethos?

Peter Cave, London W1

 

I’m confused by all the comments on the subject of the recent announcement of an apparently obligatory and legally-binding 11 per cent pay increase awarded to MPs by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Party leaders appear to “protest too much” that the increase is excessive, but they cannot refuse it. Would that the other “independent” pay review bodies’ recommendations (which cover more than 40 per cent of public-sector workers), such as those for doctors, dentists and nurses, had such legal protection. The first response by government to their announcements is usually to alter the proposal out of all recognition or reject it altogether.

Dr John Hamilton, York

 

Politicians are the only people who are appointed to their job by us, the public. So if we think our MP is not worth £74,000, it is up to us to appoint someone who is. In view of the fact that the increase will not come into force until after the 2015 election, I cannot see what all the fuss is about.

Alan Pavelin, Chislehurst, Kent

 

Mandela’s example to Scotland

Many acres of newsprint have quite rightly been devoted to the life of Nelson Mandela. And as we look to next year’s Scottish independence referendum we should take some lessons from that great life.

Here was a man noted for his dignity in adversity, who demonstrated a massive capacity for forgiveness towards those who had imprisoned him for almost three decades, all in order to create a united nation.

Next year’s referendum campaign is set to be a bitter affair, but what we must not lose sight off is that in the aftermath, whatever the result, those of both sides still need to live, work and get on together.

The hope must be that we can put aside triumphalism and revenge, as Mandela did, and move on as one  nation, not as a deeply divided country comprising two tribes in continued conflict.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

 

While rightfully honouring Nelson Mandela’s immense political and moral courage and inclusivity, after his release from years of imprisonment by the white apartheid government in the early 1990s, let us not forget the precedent set by Jomo Kenyatta, Kenyan president and father of Uhuru, the current President, whilst acknowledging his post-independence flaws. 

Following his release in the early 1960s from years of imprisonment in the arid and remote Northern Frontier District by the British authorities for his alleged links with the banned Mau Mau resistance movement, he repeatedly implored and reassured the white European residents not to leave Kenya but to stay in the spirit of the country’s slogan “Harambee” (“Let’s pull together”) and make an essential contribution to Kenya’s uhuru (“freedom”) and future economic and political prosperity.

Marcus Loxton , Chelmsford,  Essex

 

What do you want schools to do?

As a headteacher I have recently carried out a simple piece of internet research, drawing up a list of the expectations made of schools (this year alone) by politicians and interested groups, as reported in newspaper articles or the BBC news website.

The Royal Society has called for a greater emphasis on science and technology education. The NSPCC wants to see more done to tackle bullying. St John Ambulance believes first aid should be compulsory in the curriculum. The Amateur Swimming Association has requested that swimming be compulsory

Others have voiced opinions that schools should be teaching children to recite poetry, how to organise personal finance, to know where food comes from, and that all children should learn to speak a foreign language. 

There have been broad calls for a greater emphasis on the arts, set against those of the opinion that there should be more apprenticeships, more enterprise education and more vocational learning.

Famous athletes have spoken of the need for schools to tackle childhood obesity and falling fitness levels. A top TV chef has called for a greater emphasis on cookery in schools.

Other interested groups have demanded that schools address a lack of religious affairs knowledge,  build character and teach about road safety. 

In addition, there have been strongly expressed views that children should be learning more British history dates, should have much better geographical knowledge and should be brushing up their Latin. 

If, as a headteacher, I actually responded to each week’s call for something extra to be added to the school curriculum, the result would be a mish-mash of initiatives with little time left to spent on basic literacy and numeracy.

What is clear is that there is no national agreement on the fundamental purpose of education. Headteachers are caught in the middle of argument and counter-argument about which of the problems of society we should concentrate on in our school curriculum.

Thank goodness England have qualified for the World cup finals in Brazil next year: it has saved me having to read the inevitable opinion of a TV pundit who believes that schools should put a greater emphasis on football.

Ben Warren, Headteacher, Summerhill Comprehensive School, West Midlands

 

Male pill will be kind to rivers

Grace Dent’s scepticism of the efficacy of the male pill is understandable (4 December).

But she is perhaps unaware of the damage caused by oestrogen polluting rivers. The consequences were reported in The Independent as long ago as 1994; that is the feminisation of fish and other organisms. It is thought that this is one of the reasons too for the reducing sperm count in humans. 

The male pill does not have this effect. A means of killing the sperm as they pass through the vasa deferentia is also being experimented with, which is reversible. It would certainly be better for all of us if the males in long-term relationships took one of these initiatives in birth control.

Terence Hollingworth, Blagnac,  France

 

Scans for the dead and the living

Dr Mark Howard’s letter (7 December) raised, in my ignorant layman’s mind, an important question. If digital imaging (MRI and CAT scans) has such a high rate of error when used on dead bodies, instead of a conventional autopsy, is the error rate similar when used for diagnosis on the living?

I certainly hope there is a significant difference. No one wants to see a return to earlier times and exploratory operations!

Iain Smith, Rugby, Warwickshire

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Personal Finance Editor: Cutting out the middle man could spell disaster for employees and consumers alike

Simon Read
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch  

Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes tell you what to think. Don't let them

Memphis Barker
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week