Thursday, 4 February 2010

Careers Handbook

No.86 Member of Parliament

Why become an MP? The common answer is, "I want to give something back to the community." And for most MPs this means generously lavishing policies generated by think-tanks and focus groups on communities that want solutions to simple problems such as crime and anti-social behaviour. In certain instances policies might be the product of long cherished beliefs, although this is becoming less common nowadays.

An important reason for becoming an MP is of course the desire for power, though this is not always possible for those MPs who languish for most of their lives on the back benches. It is generally accepted that high office is best achieved through frequent displays of sycophancy. An ability to jettison one's conscience, or better still, to have it removed before entering the House, is prerequisite as only those who vote consistently with the government are in with a chance of reaching Cabinet.

Finally, what of the financial rewards? These can vary from the large to the staggering, depending on the individual MP's greed and selfishness. Anything from pornographic movies through to duck-houses and non-existent mortgages can be claimed on expenses as are any similar items that are essential to the MP in the day to day performance of his duties. A great perk is the freedom to undertake non-parliamentary employment. Many MPs are owned by multinationals, lobbyists and other organisations that simply seek a better understanding of parliamentary business. It is generally accepted that the vast sums they pay to the MPs have no effect whatsoever on their voting behaviour. This is because these companies are totally opposed to bribery, and probably have no idea what bribery is anyway. Therefore no significance should be attached to the commonly heard cry of lobbyists, as they approach Westminster, "I'm gonna buy me a Member."

After Parliament they can continue working in industry and commerce, but, as before, not in a way that is prejudicial to the parliamentary process. Parliamentarians, both serving and former, cherish the privileges that come with the job, and will do all that they can to protect them. And it is generally accepted that they are on the whole an honest bunch of men and women, except, of course, for those who are not.

Members of Parliament are well aware of the old and venerable institution that they serve and they will always strive to ensure that its standing remains above that of prostitution, drug smuggling and other ancient practices that have similarly stood the test of time.