Too many mouths at the political trough
By Daily Mail Comment
Last updated at 10:20 AM on 14th July 2009
While the economy goes on shrinking, one group is thriving as never before.
Welcome to Britain's greatest growth industry – our swelling army of professional politicians and their advisers, who now cost taxpayers an extraordinary £500million a year.
Disturbing figures obtained by the BBC suggest the political class has swollen tenfold over the past 30 years, taking the number of party hacks who draw salaries from the state to an incredible 30,000.
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Indeed, in some areas an individual voter may have as many as 20 different elected representatives – including a Westminster MP, councillors, MEPs and members of a devolved regional assembly.
No wonder this country's in a mess. Leave aside the sheer confusion, buck-passing and waste produced by this multiplying political herd, each treading on the other's trotters as they cluster round the trough.
How can businessmen, soldiers, teachers or nurses expect any understanding from elected representatives who know nothing of the real world, but are expert only in the machinations and rewards of politics?
How can any of us plan for the future, when policies and the people responsible for them change every few months with every passing breeze of political fashion?
Worse still, as the political class grows, the quality of its membership is being constantly undermined by the parties' obsession with political correctness.
Increasingly, candidates are chosen not for their ability but for their gender, race or sexual proclivities – a policy as insulting to minorities as it is damaging to the national interest.
So it is that the biggest and best-paid political class in our history is also the most third-rate.
What this country desperately needs is a revival of the sense that politics is not a self-serving career but a public duty.
Wouldn't it be a good start to slash the number of paid politicians – and insist that anyone who stands for public office should have at least some experience of life outside the political bubble?
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