The baby and the bathwater


by Mark Irvine

While Gordon Brown rails against the past activities of certain newspapers in relation to his private life, the Sunday Times last weekend provided the perfect reason to avoid throwing out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to investigative journalism.

The Sunday Times, part of the News International stable of course, reported that five MPs have earned more that £200,000 since last year’s general election, from outside interests and on top of their Westminster salaries.

Which means of course that they are all effectively part-time Members of Parliament whose outside interests are being subsidised by the public purse.

And since senior civil servants are not allowed to hold second or third jobs, why should the same rules not apply to MPs?  It simply would not be tolerated in the Scottish Parliament?

Gordon Brown actually tops the list having been paid £588,560 for giving speeeches, writing a book and serving as a ‘global leader in residence’ at New York University.  Good luck to him I say, but why doesn’t he just resign his seat as a Fife MP and pursue these other business interests on a full-time basis?

Now Gordon Brown says that he doesn’t benefit personally from these earnings, that they all go towards the ‘Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown’.

But that’s missing the point, deliberately perhaps, because no MP, not even Gordon Brown or anyone else, can possibly be in two places at one time.

Other high earners include Stephen Phillips – the Tory MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham who became a QC two years ago – and earned £331,190 for his legal work over the past year.

Several other notable Tories include Malcolm Rifkind (£212,939), Nicholas Soames (£208,769), Tony Baldry (£203,664) and John Redwood (£181,627).

Not far behind from the Labour party were former ministers David Blunkett (£180,480) and David Miliband (£158,980).

So well done the Sunday Times for showing that not all journalists are hackers, liars and criminals.

Many of them do a great job in exposing hypocrisy and bad behaviour – amongst the so called ‘great and the good’.