Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cabinet Ministers are not taking a pay cut

Ministers, we are delightedly assured, are taking a five per cent pay cut.

That is not true. All that’s happening is backbench MPs who have been jolted into the Cabinet are getting a massive pay rise – just not as massive as it would have been if they were in a Labour Government.

A pay cut is when your salary goes down. What we are seeing is a reduction in the rate of pay for the job. That’s a very different thing.

Employers in the private sector do it all the time when a long-standing employee leaves and they recruit a replacement.

Let’s not be fooled by talk of pay cuts any more than we should be taken in by the idea that when a majority of the Commons opposes the Government the Government doesn’t have to resign.

If our MPs accept the 55 per cent-against proposal, they will have proved themselves even more supine than previous Parliaments and dealt yet another blow to the fiction of Parliamentary sovereignty.

Compromises are all very well but we’re supposed to be in a new era of democratic accountability – yet the first thing our new masters do is stitch up a special deal to guard their backs and protect themselves against the day they fall out of love again.

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