From John Lewis list to MFI list?

Today I learn that the government is intending to stick to its plans to keep public sector wage increases below the current rate of inflation. This is a necessary if unpleasant task, given the massive over recrutiment into the public sector in the administrative, political, media related and management echelons. At least MPs got that one right, voting ourselves a well below inflation increase in pay.

Now Parliament has to sort out the expenses mess. I am glad David Cameron today is proposing no money to furnish a second home – the true end of the John Lewis list. Labour wants to move from John Lewis list to a National Audit Office judgement – will they need an MFI list or the equivalent? How different would that be from the current John Lewis items and prices?

Gordon Brown needs to put much more discipline into public sector costs. We are awash with too many MPs, MSPs, Assembly members, Regional assembly members, Councillors, spin doctors, private office staff, Ministers, senior officials, management consultants working for the public sector, qunago chiefs, CEOs and deputy CEOs in local government and the rest.

While he is about his pay squeeze, why doesn’t he at the same time introduce natural wastage to start getting the numebrs down. And how about just scrapping all that ghastly English regional government? I have just received another couple of picture brochures from the South east regional assembly which reminded me what a complete waste of money it is.


  1. Stuart Fairney
    July 16, 2008

    As the Northerners were apparently entitled to a vote on the North East Regional Assembly, can their be any justification on denying us a vote on the South East assembly?

  2. AlanofEngland
    July 16, 2008

    Scrapping all that ghastly English regional government should be a priority for ANY English politician with the interests of the country at heart. Unfortunately the EU view on this matter prevails, so please let me know, John, how it could be done? As I understand it, I am now a citizen of the EU in a region, Western Atlantic or whatever, under the control of Portugal. Nobody asked me if I wanted this status, I found out in a website reference. This is how the EU conducts itself, and it being financially corrupt for 13 years now just adds to my sense of despair that we have not left it for membership of the EFTA or a similar organisation.

    Reply: It can be done by Parliament as soon as we have a majority of anti English regional MPs.

  3. Simon_C
    July 16, 2008

    Why can't MPs just do expenses like anyone else ?

    I don't have a problem with a housing allowance for any MP that doesn't live close to Westminster, which would cover rent or hotel costs or interest, and pay for *basic* furnature in a rented or bought house. Backed by receipts or course, and capped. Not just a flat rate with nothing to justify it. If the MP wanted to pay for more, he could claim up to the limit and top up the rest himself. I'd base the rent on the cost to rent a 1 bed flat in a reasonable area, + taxes etc.

    By basic I mean what you would expect to find in a hotel room. And I would only allow one claim per item per parlimentry term too.

    Expenses should be seen as just that, expenses. Not a way to top up the salary. And, I think they should be subject to the same rules the Inland Revenue apply to the rest of us for site based workers.

    Maybe an alternative idea would be a halls of residence idea similar to students. Can you imagine 6 MPs living on a sharing a corridor, kitchen and bathroom 🙂
    Seriously though, state provided accommodation may be the best answer to this. A block with however many units made up of a bedroom, and study/dining room should be find for staying away from home when at parliament.

    Just my 2p 🙂

  4. Ken Stevens
    July 16, 2008

    "..We are awash with too many MPs, MSPs, Assembly members,.."

    MPs used to be sufficient to run UK. So, scrap the MSPs and AMs.
    Then MPs sit in their devolved parliaments for part of the time and together as UK parliament at other times.

    That of course would result in an English Parliament 😉

    Aside from that particular bugbear, could someone tell me why the devolved territories are so complex that they require MPs, MSPS/AMs and Secretaries of State to run them (not to mention separate representation on British-Irish Council)?

    England is evidently a lot simpler to manage, despite its comparatively larger size!

    (I won't even venture into EU regional governance aspects; need to keep the blood pressure down)

  5. Ken Stevens
    July 16, 2008

    "I don’t have a problem with a housing allowance for any MP that doesn’t live close to Westminster,.."

    Nor as regards someone living fairly close but can't reasonably "commute" on a particular day because of late business. In that instance an overnight hotel booking would be equitable, as a supplementary or alternative arrangement to Simon C's MP ghetto idea.

  6. adam
    July 16, 2008

    if there is a john lewis list, what other lists are there?
    (words left out)

    more importantly why are labour mps claiming they never heard of a john lewis list? They then imply it must be a conservative thing.
    Now i know our mps are stupid but really how embarrasing is it journalists know more about business in parliament than mps. Maybe we should let the journalists scrutinise legislation.

  7. mikestallard
    July 16, 2008

    Having lived through it, I can say without fear of contradiction that things have NOT got better under Tony Blair/Gordon Brown. Everything has got worse. Sometimes it has got a bit worse (NHS); sometimes is has gone disastrously wrong (our economy).
    There are far too many expensive people in control of far too little: hence the contradictions and inefficiency. "Wasn't me, guv, it was 'im!"
    I cannot see the MSPs disbanding quietly, or the Welsh disbanding quietly either. The rest? Sack the lot!
    We need a smaller parliament in both houses, more power to county and town councils and Whitehall to be made to run as smoothly as it did under John Major.
    I honestly think that the Conservatives believe in all this and that, one day, they will bring it to pass.

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