by Martin Odoni

The double-standards of MPs – especially but by no means exclusively Tory MPs – like Romford’s Andrew Rosindell over the matter of Parliamentary sleaze has received much comment this week. Rosindell has quite explicitly warned against the potential ban on second jobs for MPs on the grounds that it can be difficult to live on eighty-two thousand pounds per year. His reasoning was that MPs are “human beings with families to support.”

Is that a good point? Well, I am rather struggling to reconcile this argument with when Universal Credit was cut by twenty pounds earlier this year. Rosindell was eagerly in favour. Are people on Universal Credit are not human beings with families to support? I would like to know what they are then. No, Daily Mail readers, not ‘scroungers.’ Most UC claimants are already in full time work. But Rosindell is reluctant to let them keep receiving those twenty pounds because, “They might not need them.”

Well sure, some might not. Some definitely do, but they have been shafted too.

Perhaps Rosindell should pause to ask what is a greater drain on the public purse? An extra twenty pounds for an ordinary person who will spend it immediately and thus help stimulate the economy? Or a politician who took out an expenses claim of one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds to purchase a London flat, when his main address was less than twenty miles from there, and then claimed four hundred pounds every month for two years to cover his food costs?

But aren’t UC claimants human beings too, Rosindell? Don’t they have families? And don’t MPs live in varying circumstances as well? Why must we assume that some UC claimants don’t need the extra £20, therefore none of them may receive it, and yet we must assume at least some MPs need second jobs, therefore all of them must be allowed to have them? And don’t you think with your expenses covered to such a preposterous extent, the need for second jobs is doubtful anyway?

We are once again seeing the strange mindset that dominates so many in the Western world. A sort of Escher painting of the brain showing us something absurd to the point of impossible; that we pay the poor too much and the rich too little.

However, perhaps MPs can alleviate the apparent difficulty they have with only being in the top five per cent of earners in the country. Perhaps they should start by learning how to budget properly?

Another thing they could do is stop being “disfunctional[sic] or indolent parents.” They would then know how to feed their children well. Learn how to cook, politicians! Put your families on a diet of porridge! That only costs about four pence per bowl, according to the aristocracy at least, and I am sure they would know!

And of course if the worst comes to the worst, the MPs could try their local foodbank. They really are very uplifting places, foodbanks, even if the only reason anyone would use them is because they know they are there.

Or perhaps best of all, Tory MPs could reassess their own superiority complex. They could learn how gruesomely patronising it is for the poorest in society to receive lectures on how to live by people of obscene privilege who have never known a serious challenge since the day they were born. Most of all, they could stop assuming the rest of us are all too stupid to notice when they are very obviously being greedy hypocrites.