Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Whip's Worth or Pork Barrel Politics.

I see that the plan to give extra megabucks (£59,000 actually) to four Assembly Members which has been lurking in the undergrowth for a couple of weeks, has finally broken cover. I have never been against paying AMs the rate for the job - but this is plain ridiculous. As well as being completely unjustified by workload or extra responsibility, it also adds to the Government payroll vote, which is too big already. As it is, there are far too many individual AMs who are in financial hock to their party leaders. I can just see it now. "So you disagree with your leader do you? Interesting! Perhaps I ought to reconsider your position as the Party Whip - which, lest you have forgotten, is in my gift, and for which you enjoy a handsome bonus payment. Ah that's better. I thought you might come to see things my way."

I hope this plan is killed stone dead by the Assembly Commission tomorrow - even if my favorite Labour AM would be the biggest loser. My favourite Labour AM used to be Sue Essex, but is now Carl Sergeant. Carl's a top man, tribally Labour, but with a sense of fun. But he doesn't deserve an extra £26,000 a year - unless he is promoted to the Cabinet (and there are too many of them already). And Chris Franks doesn't deserve his extra £15,000, or William Graham his extra £12,000 (good man though he is), or the Lib Dem whip the extra £6,000. Sorry William.

I see that Ireland is setting something of a precedent here. Well, I've never thought we should be modelling ourselves on Irish politics. This is money for old rope. This is pork barrel politics at its worst. If this goes ahead, it will do great damage to the credibility of the National Assembly. The Assembly Commission must do its duty.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

unmitigated greed

Anonymous said...

snouts and troughs come to mind. i cant believe that they thought they would get away with this. im shocked that plaid cymru have joined with labour in this. plaid has soon got used to helping themselves to the trappings of power. pleased to see that tories and liberals are against this

Glyn Davies said...

In general I agree with anons but there does seem to be some confusion about who has agreed what. It seems that the First Minsiter has been assuming he had cross party support when this was not the case. I hope that the Assembly Commission will see sense and not approve this wrongheaded proposal.

Part Timer said...

As far as the Lib Dems are concerned who would be in who's pocket. As the Chief Whip would end up on a bigger salary than the Party leader - who's job you could say is in the hands of the whip. If the Whip can't get the troops to back the leader he/she is out. Perhaps the Whip's should get more because the Leader is there because the Whip gets the troops behind him/her. It is one of those chicken and egg situations?

Peter Black said...

The payments in Ireland are actually the equivalent of the Group Leader's allowance here. As such there is no precedent to set. Payments to whips would be unprecedented in a UK context.

Anonymous said...

Why do you even need whips in an Assembly where there are no rebels or even characters for that matter. The standard of debate is poor to say the least and is one of the reasons why it is still failing to make any sort of impact with the Welsh public.How can you compare Assembly questions to the First Minister to PMQs in the Commons. The last time they adopted something from Ireland was the councillors golden goodbye scheme and we all know what the general public thought of that. It might have given some individuals a nice payoff but it certainly hasn't achieved its stated aim of opening up the council chambers of Wales to new younger talent.

Glyn Davies said...

part timer - fair point.

Peter - Thanks. Reinforces the point.

anon - I agree that the golden goodbyes scheme was a disgrace - and said so at the time.