UK politicians and their 'expenses'.

I just want to make a couple of small points here. Let's face it, the whole subject has pretty much been done to death already, but the media - and, I hope, the people - aren't going to let this one go for a long time yet.

So, why are we surprised by any of this? We've all known for years and years that politicians are often perceived as being crooked, self-serving, immoral, selfish bastards. When the proof comes along that many of them are exactly that, why do we make a fuss? WE KNEW IT ALL ALONG!!! Why didn't we send in the investigators twenty, thirty or more years ago? We're too bloody placid and far, far too trusting, that's why.

Anyway, in this context, I'd also like to mention teachers. I know quite a few. I think that most people now realise that many teachers, if not most, work stupid hours during term time and then work normal hours through most of their so called 'holiday' periods. Sure, much of this is dependent upon the subject they teach and at what level, individual dedication and ability etc etc but, as a rule of thumb, they work very long hours and don't get paid a whole lot either.

They are also subject to huge interference by groups of people who happen to know diddly squat about teaching. On this occasion, I'm not referring to parents (although it seems to me that parents shouldn't be allowed onto the premises of any educational establishment without at first passing an exam to establish their suitability for admission). No, at the moment I'm talking about politicians. But even this is a subject for another post. The only reason I brought up the subject of teachers is that I wanted to establish (and I hope that most people would agree) that they are a group of relatively underpaid, highly qualified individuals who do an extremely important job for society, and who also seem to be accountable to anyone with an opinion, no matter how bizarre. Most politicians would probably (and wrongly) describe themselves in similar terms.

Now, if a teacher who lives in, say, Brighton, sees a job that happens to be in Oxford, s/he has little choice but to go for it. (The other thing about teaching is that the jobs you're qualified for never seem to be where you live). If s/he is successful at interview, then - potentially - s/he has to sell the house in Brighton, buy a place in Oxford (let's ignore the big, big problem of comparative property prices for the moment) and relocate the entire family. It's expensive and traumatic, but hey, that's what people do! Unless you're a politician. If you're a politician, the taxpayer simply buys you another house near your new job, which becomes something else you can make a handsome profit from during the course of your career with your nose in the public trough.

Okay, I've over-simplified and over-stated the case. But worryingly, not by much. We really need to do something about these people. Off the top of my head, perhaps a limited term of service - say, two years max - on a flat salary, set too low to be really incentivising - say £30k p.a. All staffing and other expenses organised and managed by a dedicated department. Slightly different arrangements for cabinet, PM and Lords, involving public votes after two years service as an MP. I'm sure that measures such as this would attract the best and most talented candidates. We'd see a return to public service and an end to careerism - we all know, after all, that in reality most politicians spend most of their time and much of our resources trying to achieve and then hang onto power.

One thing I'm sure of: whatever the eventual solution, it will be much, much easier to implement than we might at first think.