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“Public Service” vs. “Self-Service” May 8, 2009

Posted by lifejacket in Financial shenanigans.
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It occurs to me that there are thousands of people in this country who work tirelessly for charities, good causes and local community efforts; some receive a modest salary, others basic expenses, and some – probably the great majority – receive no remuneration at all. That, it seems, is true service: to think only of the work, and what it can achieve, and within that work, to forget the self.

Politicians are called “public servants”; but plainly they are not. They pursue the exact definition of “self-service”: that is, helping yourself to whatever’s on offer, “as much as you can eat”, and in this particular instance, getting someone else to pay. In fact, to pay twice: for not only do politicians get their menu choices paid for, but they get paid handsomely simply for being in the cafe in the first place.

I suggest that the only way to get people into politics who truly want to serve, is to pay a salary no more than the current national average, to remove all “allowances”, and to limit or deny expenses altogether except for those specifically on a list pre-agreed by a body independent of Parliament. Perhaps “extraordinary expenses” might be claimed, but only under the utmost scrutiny, by an independent body, and with no guarantee that they would be granted.

By limiting the material benefits in this way you can be sure that only those people truly dedicated to public service, and who truly knew what it meant, would apply.