Following on from the Alan Duncan 'Rations' story, the broadsheets are of course falling over themselves to defend the political classes from what some might call, reverse snobbery
Now I really have no beef with Duncan himself - he, like Vince Cable, has a background in oil and is pretty valuable compared to a lot of MPs
My frustration is aimed at the broadsheet journos who defend the culture - what's wrong with being a barrister, city trader or lord of the manor
Well nothing really, as Matthew Parris points out - you wouldn't begrudge a doctor, teacher, nurse, fireman etc still doing a bit of their own work to keep in touch with constituents - but direct a company...
The difference is of course perception, a company director is an overpaid lump, a trader has no other purpose but to make money, you don't need to be working to understand the City
But it is a fair point - to earn thousands of pounds for a few hours talking to a major company board, probably to further some political aim, is cynical and of little help to the constituents, working as a GP involves treating real people in the community, even if the pay is large
Something that I'll never understand is the defence of those who want more money - so what if they have to take a pay-cut? They can't afford the lifestyle they've become accustomed to...
So? Going down to a mere £64k a year may be a pittance to some people, but why can't they understand that it's a hell of a lot more than most people and if they don't like it, don't bother
Instead they felt that effectively stealing money (or perhaps 'cooking the books') was the correct course to take so that they earned what they felt they deserved?
Do they really think they are worth so much to us? Why do we want so many privileged elites from wealthy backgrounds ruling over us? They have already proved they're not exactly good at their jobs
Parris is right - let them work in real industries and charities, but he overlooks the crucial problem - there are too many career politicians in there, too many people who come from wealth and are from the select group allowed into politics (bar the trade-union route, and even that's becoming hereditary)
The problem is not that they have second jobs, it is that they are the political class - if we actually had more teachers and nurses as MPs we could go down this route, but we don't - we have our MPs drawn from the top per cent of society - money and power circles keep the ordinary folk out of politics, and when they are seen to cheat and steal, then whinge about their conditions how do you expect people to react?
And the journalists are just as bad - they are an extension of the political class (Parris is a close friend of Duncan) - cosseted in the same world, where people like Dominic Lawson, son of the Lawson, feel they have some enlightened opinion, when they are part of the same problem
I'd love more real people in politics - but it's not going to happen by controlling the MPs with rules, which they brought on themselves by being gutless cheats, but nor is it going to happen by giving them their second jobs - that's just the status quo
What we need is politics reopened to the people (something which the conservative types seriously detest) - it is manipulated by the party machine, who choose the candidates they like, trusting that the electorate will only ever vote on the colour of rosette
The political class do not get it, nor do they want to - they have the power, their friends have the power, there is no need to change the people in Parliament
But they do not appreciate that the pendulum has swung too far, there have always been career politicians - in fact there's nothing wrong with it, both Gladstone and Disraeli, our first democratically elected PMs (of sorts) were lifelong politicians - different times, but they were excellent politicians, they were popular with the public, they were wanted. What we have now are not really career politicians, we have cronies - the Millibands, Balls and Osbournes of this world, not there through any particular skill at public speaking or politics, but through their background and contacts - and Parliament is chock-full of them, useless lumps who represent no-one, real career politicians are people like Hague - who made his name making political speeches, and there's nothing wrong with having them as Parliamentarians.
Too many politicians are there through the backrooms of their parties - Cameron, Osbourne, Brown and almost all of the Labour front bench - these are not people who have been engaging with the public for years, but just random people there thanks to their connections, deciding who should go into the chamber, but they have no authority or respect from the people - there is a space in Parliament for those who speak to the people, the dare I say it: Blairs of this world, who talk to a national audience, these are the actual politicians - and then there are those who work for their constituents, but the rest are just bumpf, there for the power and to prop up the machine
People have become fed up with it - but they do not realise they are at fault, yes the system is rigged against change, but people only fuel it by allowing the parties a free ride - they need to wake up and vote with their heads - we need a revolution, and I'd rather it were peaceful