Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Honesty in parliament

I sympathise with the idea of independents standing in opposition to mainstream politicos whose faces have been buried in the public expenses troff. But a word of caution regarding Esther Rantzen´s mooted candidacy ... First off, if the point is that our democracy has been perverted and corrupted by the political class in this country, then surely it would be more to the point to be sending normal people with our values there, rather than politicians on an ego trip. Especially as Martin Bell´s impact on that sewer bit didn´t really go very far.

Secondly, given that the thing being debated is the abuse of public institutions, then perhaps the best choice is not someone who founded a charity that went bust four years ago (and had to be folded into Oxfam) largely as a result of paying exorbitant salaries to a companies that had 13 executive directors on large salaries (up to 90,000 GBP p.a.), despite just having 268 full-time employees (in 2004 wages took up more than half their income from donations). If I remember correctly (though I stand to be corrected) Ms. Rantzen was also on the pay roll in a consultant capacity, despite being a rich celebrity apparently doing work for charity.

Perhaps she can tell us from experience how you stop institutions set up for public benefit from being bled dry by well-meaning people who nevertheless feel the need of handsome renumeration for doing good.

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