Up at 7.30. Breakfast in Horizons. 18 holes of golf and lunch in Reefs. Then out for a run - past the golf course, the tennis centre, the marina where the rich boys play, and then on past the dozen or so roadside stalls, where flying fish are gutted and sold. Offshore are a dozen or so little Barbadian fishing boats and circling above with indescribable grace are 7 frigate birds (I think). A dead monkey on the roadside - a surprise, because I have not seen a live one during the 10 dys I've been here. Its beautiful, but I'm starting to think about home. Bought the Telegraph today for the first time since arriving. It was Thursday's and it cost 18 Barbadian dollars. Checking out tomorrow. Should be home in Montgomeryshire in time to read the Sundays around teatime.
There seems to have been much discussion about what an MP is worth while I've been away. Its all rather distasteful. Its a 'free vote' at Westminster, so I don't think I will cause any bother by giving the Davies opinion on this one. I would vote for the salary increase as proposed by the SSRB. Its not sensible to have MPs deciding on their own pay, so it should be left to the Senior Salaries Review Board. What is the point of setting up an 'independent' assessment system - and then ignoring it. But I do think that those who express disquiet about MP's remuneration packages do so with good reason - except that its not the basic salary that they should be looking at.
This blog has consistently condemned the 'Communications Allowance' which I have previously described as a 'Sitting MP's Re-election Slush Fund'. Its a cool ten thousand per annum, and I've seen it used in the most disgraceful way - printing and posting glossy leaflets lauding the MP's acheivements just when a General Election is about to be called. And the biggest disgrace is that its entirely legal. I hope that the next Conservative Government will scrap this outrageous waste of taxpayer's money. I also reckon that the pension arrangements are too generous - especially since this is one area where most other people's pension plans have taken a big hit. And thirdly, I do not think there is any case for an increase in staffing allowance, which is already nigh on one hundred thousand per annum. MPs already have a tendency to become too involved in matters which should rightly be issues for local councils and devolved institutions. The sun is still shining here in Barbados, and I read that Peter Hain is still Secretary of State for Wales, although I understand that he has received the uusually fatal support of Lembit Opik. Won't be long now Peter. I recommend Barbados when you have a bit more time for holidays.