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.