Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Political representation, is it fit for purpose?

If you are like me and a lot of you are then you will have had some thoughts about how we are governed. I had a question, this I posted via email to our MP (Member of Parliament) that was I think 7,000 years ago and I am still awaiting an answer. I have to say the initial answer I had was that the esteemed MP was busy thanks to Covid and she would be back blah, blah, blah. Obviously that was a lie. That does not surprise me as this sort of thing is quite normal for the UK MPs. However, it started me thinking about what in God’s name political representation is all about. Locally I have one community councillor who looks after the graveyard (!), bus stops, pavements etc, but he’s never seen. Then two borough councillors, they are more active but still have very little push. I say this because nothing much changes around here except the normal slow decay and new housing estates. The ‘old’ town is slowly decaying thanks to the enormous increase in cars and lorries. Next we have an ‘Assembly’ member, that is the Welsh Assembly or Senedd and topped finally by the MP, who travels to London which I know from experience is an arduous task. But first class is mostly empty on the Great Western Railway. So that's OK then, an extra two hours much needed sleep which can be continued in Westminster on the green benches. 

A total of 5 people representing me. That’s good isn’t it? I will have no problems ever and I will be able to grow old gracefully. Ah, unfortunately the reality is quite different. First of all the cost of these 5 people is quite enormous. I calculate their salaries to be about £120,000 per annum plus expenses. The total could well be some £200,000 annually. So, what do I get for that? A weekly rubbish bin collecting exercise with free plastic bags (!) For that I personally have to pay £1,500 per annum. It’s fun isn’t it? I must be fair though because the borough council is in charge of education and services like, well, just look at their website! So, we need people that know what they are doing (!). The point of it all is this, is the system fit for purpose? Personally I’d say, it is not. It’s easy to be despondent but there is room for improvement.

Do we really need to have so many representatives? And more are planned? Is the cost value for money? Good questions and I would love to see some answers to that. I hasten to add not answers prefabricated by the aforementioned representatives but by an independent think-tank based in Brussels. Wow, you heard it here!

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