Monday, 5 December 2016

A Workers' MP On A Worker's Wage, Indeed

I am not a member of Momentum.

But it has more members than UKIP does, including far more MPs.

Remember that when contrasting both the extent and the tone of the coverage of Momentum with that of UKIP.

If Paul Nuttall's pitch is that he differs from Nigel Farage in that he is able to win a parliamentary seat, then he had be pretty damn sure that he can indeed capture Leigh, which has been Labour since 1922.

Even one defeat would be fatal.

Speaking of MPs, I did attend the Momentum Northern Regional Conference on Saturday in Newcastle.

The Labour Chief Whip, in whose constituency it was being held, was a speaker. How times change.

The old argument within the Left about "a workers' MP on a worker's wage" came up at one point.

But it is contrary to the founding principles of the Labour Movement to suggest that being a worker, or a workers' representative, must entail being at least relatively poor.

The payment of MPs at all was one of the Movement's earliest victories, the cause having been inherited from the Chartists.

There are plenty of talented, capable people on far less than £74,000 per year, and plenty of talentless, incapable people on far, far more. It is not that. 

But here in the North East, does Ian Mearns (who was there), or Ian Lavery, or Pat Glass, or Grahame Morris, or Emma Lewell-Buck (who was also there), or Sharon Hodgson, or, perhaps above all, the very left-wing and very working-class Ronnie Campbell, fail to provide either a left-wing or a working-class voice on account of drawing the full MPs' salary, the rate for the job?

Further afield, does Angela Rayner? Does Dennis Skinner, who has been taking the rate for the job for 46 years?

A workers' MP on a worker's wage, indeed.

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