Sorry about this rant but --- I feel I may have reached the age when I can earn the true epithet of being a "Grumpy Old Man" (My wife, looking over my shoulder, has just informed me that I was born a GOM).
You forgot the following -
If you go into a public building, like a library or a doctors' surgery, you can ask how much the staff get paid and they must legally respond within 28 days with details of their pay and expenses. This has to be supplied under the Freedom of Information Act. MPs, on the other hand, voted that they wouldn't have to tell you and exempted themselves from the Act as it would contravene their rights by supplying this information.
If I claim a petrol allowance for work related travel, I have to provide receipts and fill in a form to explain why I am claiming. MPs voted against the provision of providing receipts for their expenses. My claim is around £350 a year, theirs is around £100,000 a year. Receipts are only necessary for a single expense over £250. As many under that amount as they want are allowed with no questions asked.
Many hospitals in UK have introduced parking fees for staff, patients and visitors. How much do you think MPs pay for parking at Westminster? You guessed it, nothing.
MPs are voting on whether to introduce road pricing in addition to the massive tax we pay on fuel, the extortionate road tax (of which less than 25% goes on improving roads) in order to force us onto public transport and save the polar bears. Meanwhile, they have chauffeur driven Jaguars to ferry them the quarter mile from Downing Street to Westminster. Uniquely, they are the only people in the whole country who can claim against their tax for driving to work.
Each year, the Senior Pay Review Board sits and advises on pay rises for top civil servants, high ranking service officers and MPs to name but a few. This has to be approved by Parliament. The only pay rise that went through without dissent this year was that of the MPs, the others were reduced by 1%.
In the last 10 years, Council Tax has increased on average by 125%. Services provided by the councils (especially bin collection) has been reduced by 46%. Councils have a contract to provide services to the public, rubbish collection is one of the basic rights of consumers. Those of you lucky enough to still have a weekly collection (unlike most of Europe which has daily collection) can count yourselves very fortunate indeed. It should also be noted that local government officers used to be paid expenses only. They now get a salary which, in some cases, equate to the pay given to Westminster MPs, some chief executives are now paid more than the Prime Minister. Guess where those rises in council taxes are going?
MPs whose constituencies are within the London area are not supposed to be able to claim for an extra home. Lots of them have bent the rules by claiming this means Inner London only and happily claim for a second home because they live in the Greater London area. Two houses because they have to travel more than 15 miles to work. Oh, and they can also claim for furniture in that second home as well, now known as the "John Lewis" list. (The allowable expenses include things like plasma TVs).
Why do MPs need to travel to places like the Bahamas to attend seminars on how to beat crime, increase recycling rates, discuss how to cut greenhouse gas emissions etc? Couldn't these seminars be held in Slough or Salford or somesuch place? If an MP attends a 10 day seminar in the Seychelles, he/she can stay on for up to 2 weeks extra providing they pay the extra costs incurred. So, a free flight out, free food and accommodation for 10 days and a free flight back. Just pay the for the fortnight in between. Oh, and spouses can be included in the initial costs to keep up their public exposure whilst abroad. Being away from their family for a whole 3 weeks would be too traumatising. Try telling that to a squaddie on his 3rd 6 month tour of Iraq/Afghanistan.
Let's not even mention the amount of MPs who employ their sons/daughters/spouses to carry our secretarial or research work on their behalf. Just another little perk paid for by you and me (By the way, doctors used to be able to claim an allowance for their spouses doing secretarial work because they answered many of the calls coming in to the house and arranging visits for the GP. This little loophole of maximum claimable at 5 grand a year was stopped by those same MPs some 8 years ago - that's right, the same MPs who can claim up to 30 grand for using their spouses to do the same thing).
The sad thing is, we used to laugh at the 3rd world countries who were bywords for corruption. Even the Italians had scorn heaped upon them for fiddling so much out of the state that they could afford to retire in pretty much luxury. Did you know that an MP is entitled to a pension after 10 years (2 terms) of office which the rest of the population has to work 40 years for? For the average Joe who has an index linked pension working 40 years, this could be as much as 20 grand pension. For an MP it is a minimum of 30 grand a year after 10 years. If you held cabinet rank it is more like 50 grand a year.
And now they are claiming taking an oath to the Queen is against their human rights? Surely the fact that these trough-feeding, money-grabbing, so-called representatives of the British citizen are bleeding us dry is against our human rights!!!!
Anyhoo, enough of my rant. The little man in the white coat is looking patiently at me and hinting that it is time for my medication. Apparently I am not allowed to even look at the Daily Mail for the next week as my blood pressure broke the guage last time they took it.
Another bottle, please nurse. This one's empty.