Great piece of populist political letter-writing in the (Glasgow) Herald today from Alan McCoombes, of the Scottish Socialist Party.

Obviously it is part of the tit-for-tat political jousting that goes on during strikes like this but there is a serious point here as well. MP’s like Peter Mandelson are being paid £55,000 a year by taxpayers to be public servants and seem to spend half their time seeking private gain.

Anyway here is the letter:

ISN’T it high time Westminster MPs modernised their working practices? Take, for example, the other PM, Peter Mandelson. On Question Time last Thursday, the New Labour guru taunted the firefighters with allegations that they don’t work hard enough, they don’t work flexibly enough, they haven’t modernised enough. Some of the firefighters even have time for second jobs, for goodness sake.

Really? So how many firefighters have second jobs writing a monthly column for GQ magazine? How many have third jobs delivering lectures for £500 an hour? How many have fourth jobs working as company directors of advertising agencies? How many firefighters found the time to make 14 overseas trips to far-flung destinations, paid for by
big business?

In between gallivanting around the world, running a company, writing for a men’s magazine, and lecturing investment bankers on how to make money, Mr Mandelson is MP for Hartlepool, for which he is paid £55,000.

According to the most recent register, half of all MPs have jobs on the side from which they personally pocket the fees. Indeed, Westminster is stuffed full of company directors, consultants, lawyers, journalists, broadcasters, and lecturers who, in between making money, have a little sideline running the country.

Are the taxpayers getting value for money from our MPs? Isn’t there an overwhelming case for a thorough review of their working practices? Shouldn’t their numbers be reduced? Isn’t it high time they modernised?

Alan McCombes, Scottish Socialist Party