Saturday, February 02, 2008

Jobs for the boys

Daniel Finkelstein has a piece about how MPs should be banned from employing family members. This seems daft to me - the fact that a Tory MP has been fiddling public money and giving it to his kids for no work has no wider lesson except to remind us that Tories behave much as they always have.

When I worked in an MP's office, the hardest-working member was the MP's wife. The MP has a huge personal vote (as does his wife, who is a long-serving local councillor), and part of that is the fact that the office helped thousands and thousands of people every year. Far from paying people who don't do anything, the opposite was the case here - if there were still letters and e-mails to be answered come the end of the day, she took them home and made sure they were responded to, whether it meant working through the evening or over the weekend.

In fact, if we're going to be doing a witch hunt about professions where people often get jobs not based on their talents but because of who they are related to, I'd have thought that the place to start would be in the media. But it would be a brave journalist who'd make that point.


At 11:06 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

I've been thinking since this story broke that the response from most pundits (especially Lib Dems) has been an attack on the rights of people who work for MPs.

First it was publishing their salaries, now it seems to be preventing some potential workers from standing for a job. No-one seems to have considered the impact of this precedent on employment law (and vice-versa).

If it does happen, though, I think we ought to extend the principle to the private sector too. Surely owners or senior management of large firms shouldn't be wasting their shareholders' money on employing members of their families? I think their names, salaries and details of their private estates should be published for all to see.


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