The Socialist 20 May 2009 |
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House of Thieves
We need workers' MPs on a worker's wage
We need workers' MPs on a worker's wage
WORKING CLASS people are furious about MPs' huge 'expenses'.
On Thursday 4 June, elections take place for the European Union, which for many members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is an even bigger gravy train than Westminster.
Onay Kasab, facing a witchhunt in 2008, photo Paul Mattsson
Onay Kasab, branch secretary of Greenwich Unison is a candidate standing on the RMT union-led 'No2EU - Yes to Democracy' list for the London region in the 4 June election.
He explains why voters need a real workers' representative.
THE SHEER arrogance of MPs is astounding. Caught like rabbits in a car's headlights, they still claim they did nothing wrong when they asked us to pay for everything from KitKats to clearing out the family moat! Some of them are now offering to pay back some money but only because of the outrage from ordinary workers.
The only thing more astounding than the arrogance is the excuses. Apparently, MPs have to be able to claim lavish expenses so they can get to work on time.
One MP, whose constituency is in Luton, had her second home in Southampton, so she could maintain her relationship with her partner. No doubt, low-paid women workers who often have to take up several different jobs to secure a decent wage will be sympathetic!
Women who clean offices in the morning, work as teaching assistants or in a school kitchen by day, then have another job in the evening will know all about not seeing their family and ensuring that they get to each job on time. Not for them though, the luxury of a second home and taxi fares at taxpayers' expense.
Even when they clearly acted against the rules, MPs' excuses are that they over-claimed as they were 'too busy' to check. The trade union members who I represent would have been disciplined and sacked if they had used such a lame defence if they had ever been found to have over-claimed.
Yet, while MPs are living it up, we're expected to tighten our belts to pay for the economic crisis. In Greenwich, where I am a trade union representative, the council's latest cuts proposals will mean that care managers, responsible for putting together care packages for the elderly, will lose up to £5,000 a year from their salary.
Mental health social workers are to lose £400 a month and the children's social work team based at the local Queen Elizabeth Hospital is to be disbanded despite all the concerns raised about child protection.
Parents, together with Unison and the Socialist Party, are continuing to fight the closure of Charlotte Turner School [see page 11]. The council insists on this closure despite a huge majority of people telling the council, via its consultation exercise, that the school must stay open.
We need real workers' representatives to stand up for workers. The politicians, the government and the councils are not listening. We need a voice for the working class. That is why I am standing for No2EU - Yes to democracy in the EU elections.
Our candidates will not claim over-inflated salaries and expenses on the European Union gravy train. We have pledged to not benefit financially if elected.
The EU stands for the bosses throughout Europe. We stand for the workers of Britain, Europe and the world.
Vote for a workers' representative on 4 June. Vote for No2EU.
SOCIALIST PARTY public representatives have a proud history of standing for election as workers' representatives on a worker's wage.
Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist
Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist is a No2EU - Yes to Democracy candidate, in the West Midlands. From 1983 to 1992, Dave was an MP and only took the average wage of a skilled worker and the expenses needed to do his job - these expenses were fully vetted by local trade unionists. He gave the rest to workers' movement causes.
Two other MPs from that period, the late Terry Fields and Pat Wall, also stood as workers' MPs on a worker's wage.
- No more candidates who want a free ride on the MPs/ MEPs gravy train!
- Vote for representatives who fight for workers' interests as Dave Nellist, Terry Fields and Pat Wall did when they were MPs.