While we were in Malta we only watched TV very occasionally, and the only newspaper we read was “The Times of Malta”, which was quite a slim paper and was (quite naturally) concerned mainly with local news. We did not get the full impact of the MPs expenses scandal until we returned home. It started me wondering again about why there is so much greed about now. Was it always there or is it just so much easier now for those so inclined to succumb to it?

First we had the bankers awarding themselves monumental bonuses on top of their obscene salaries. What do they do with all this money? I think that when it reaches a certain level they become blind to the number of noughts and it becomes a power game to get more than their peers. They remind me of the islanders we met in the 60s (when I was working on a cruise ship in the South Pacific). When we asked the price of the goods they were trying to sell us they held up 5 fingers. They didn’t care whether we offered 5$, 5 cents, or 5 bars of soap. It just had to be 5. A 5$ note was no good, as far as they were concerned that was just 1.

Just how the MPs became so out of touch with reality I cannot understand.  The usual excuses trotted out were that they were operating “according to the rules”. Were they so incompetent that they could not work out for themselves  that the rules must be wrong if they allowed such abuse of the system? Some of them obviously had some doubts about how much they could get away with, when they said that they had had it passed by the expenses committee. If they had to ask then they must have realised that it was wrong.

They obviously didn’t need the money as so many of them were able to repay it immediately ( after the publicity).  

We are frequently told that being an MP is a very time consuming and difficult job, and I am sure that it is, if they are doing the job properly. If this is so, how can they have time to earn a handsome supplementary income? The excuse is that their second, third or fourth jobs, “keep them in touch with the electorate” I wonder how many of the general electorate they meet in the boardrooms. If they want to keep in touch with the general population I would suggest that they take a job in a factory, hospital or with a charitable organisation etc. on the minimum wage.

We know how much out of touch they are when they say they are speaking for “ordinary hard working families”. Incidentally where did this idea come from that if you work hard you will automatically make a lot of money?

On behalf of these  “ordinary hard working families” they suggest raising the tax free inheritance allowance to 1 million pounds and raising the tax free allowance on income tax to 11 thousand pounds! This is to help the “poorest in the land”. Don’t they know that the “poorest in the land” don’t pay any  income tax or inheritance tax?

Perhaps this is on a par with Boris Johnson’s answer when asked to explain his £250,000 salary for his writing, ” That’s peanuts!”  Most of us would be happy with 1/10 of those peanuts. 🙂

I know that some of these people with the multi million pound pay deals  support their pet causes and gain satisfaction from that, but what of those  who don’t ? Money in itself is of  no use to anyone. The only use it has is its purchasing power, so what do you do when you have bought everyhing?  Do they ever realise the poverty they have in ordinary pleasures, like saving up for something and finally achieving it. My youngest grandson had pure joy on his face when he informed me that he had at last saved enough money to buy the Luke Skywalker costume he had been hankering after for months!

For every gain there has to be a sacrifice, whether it is the mother who puts her career on hold (with the resulting loss of income) in order to be home with her children, or the banker or business person who sacrifices normal family relationships and social life in the pursuit of money and/or power. Usually we are all free to make the choice, but in the recent financial crisis many have had to take what fate has handed them. I hope they can adjust and find new opportunities ready for when the good times come again, because they surely will.