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Democracy or meritocracy?

I’m not dead against MPs getting a pay rise, but it seems to me to depend on a fundamental question. Are they there to represent us, or are they there to do the best job possible? These things are not the same. If we want people who are “the best” then we need to hike up the pay (apparently, although I really don’t believe you have to pay top dollar to get top people, pay top dollar and get greedy people), we also need to set a minimum level of qualification and have something a bit more rigorous than voting to let people be appointed.

If on the other hand they are there to represent us then they ought to be on a salary that is representative of us, like the average wage in their constituency. Then they might have more of a feel for the people they represent.

I’ve heard the argument that the House of Commons is the democracy bit and the Lords the meritocracy bit. That doesn’t seem to be true. The Commons doesn’t appear that democratic and certainly some members of the Lords are not there on merit.

I think it’s this lack of clarity concerning who does what and why that makes politics so unappealing. We don’t seem to get what we voted for and on top of that what we do get doesn’t even seem to be the best option.

But at least we’re all in it together….


1 Comment

  1. gdw100 says:

    This is interesting: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2013/apr/23/who-works-most-teachers-or-mps
    I for one don’t think that an MP is worth twice as much as a primary school teacher per hour.


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July 2013
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