Will MPs give away their pay rises?

MPs should not take the proposed 11 per cent pay rise, says Tom Bingham
MPs should not take the proposed 11 per cent pay rise, says Tom Bingham

Since the Coalition Government has come to power Britain has never had it so bad!

The 11 per cent pay increase bringing an MP’s salary to £74,000 – an increase of £6,000 at a time when restraint has been forced upon us all – is a shameful insult to the British people, once again showing that these posh boys once gaining power care nothing for the electorate.

Although MPs are claiming they do not want this hike in their salary just who will be the first MP to donate their £6,000 to a charity or good cause, the food bank or maybe helping the elderly in the town?

Perks are being cut, but why do MPs have perks on their salaries? Do teachers or nurses have perks?

This pay rise is simply another not so clever way around not getting caught fiddling expenses.

It’s like getting the money without providing the receipts.

The most worrying thing is they seem not to give a fig about rubbing our noses in it. This is democracy gone haywire.

Common sense tells us if the rest of the country is under restraint, surely those who speak up on our behalf should lead the way forward by example.

How on earth can professional politicians with no idea of what goes on in the real world justify this increase?



Nelson’s death has united world

The death of Nelson Mandela has united people all around the world who are both saddened by his death and grateful South Africa was blessed to have a leader with such an incredible capacity to forgive.

In 2013, it is easy to forget how brutal was the apartheid regime in South Africa, maintaining privilege for South Africa’s white community with the expropriation of land from South Africa’s native population and treating them as a lesser form of life.

In 1918 Nelson Mandela was born into that world, and grew up to become a resistance leader.

For that he was jailed for life, spending 26 years incarcerated, most of them in hard labour under a prison regime designed to break men’s spirits.

It would have been easy for him to emerge from prison with deep hatred for those who had treated him and his fellow black and coloured South Africans inhumanely.

Instead, when he was released from prison he preached reconciliation.

Indeed he did not just preach reconciliation, he practised it.

He negotiated a new future for South Africa with President FW de Klerk, leader of the Afrikaner regime that had jailed him.

Instead of starting a witch hunt for those who had been responsible for the brutalisation and murder of African National Congress supporters, he set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that has become a model for dealing with the aftermath of oppression.

Without Nelson Mandela’s vision and generosity of spirit, there is every likelihood that South Africa would have descended into a bloodbath as the apartheid regime collapsed.

When he died, Nelson Mandela was probably more admired around the world than any other living human being.

The respect in which he is held is demonstrated by the fact that royals, presidents, prime ministers and people from all walks of life attended his memorial ceremony.

We join them in mourning the passing of someone who taught all of us what it means to be afree human being.



Abolish crime comissioners

It was interesting to hear from the Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Simmonds (Your View) but, as he put it, here are some inconvenient truths he might consider.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary has published the Value for Money Profile 2013 which compares Northamptonshire Police with similar forces.

The sanction detection rate was about 15 per cent less, the charge rate was just over 15 per cent less and caution rate six per cent less and Mr Simmonds’ office cost about £900,000 more than the average.

The people of Northamptonshire pay more but get less detection than comparable force areas.

It is crass for Mr Simmonds or the police to claim credit for a fall in crime when this is a national trend.

According to official statistics published by the Home Office in August the fall in Northamptonshire trailed the national average.

Mr Simmonds and the police are responsible for the sanction rate, which he doesn’t mention.

A sanction is only obtained for 26 per cent of reported crime, excluding fraud.

Criminals therefore have a 74 per cent chance of escaping justice.

In East Northants only eight per cent of burglaries are solved. You must be so proud Mr Simmonds.

The latest inspection into the failure of child protection was due in October so I am sure Mr Simmonds is well aware of its content.

If sufficient progress has been made it still took a HMIC report to point out the problems and a further three inspections to change the culture.

A professional public service such as the police should be ashamed.

Has anybody been held to account?

Perhaps Mr Simmonds could let us know on his website.

I agree with the former head of the Metropolitan Police, Lord Stevens, that the Police and Crime Commissioner model is “systemically flawed”.

The sooner Mr Simmonds and his office are abolished, the better.


Barton Seagrave

Our jobs do not depend on EU

Once again I read the comments about our EU membership, this time from the defeatist Bill Newton-Dunn, MEP.

He claims thousands of jobs would be lost in the East Midlands if we left the EU, and millions more across the country. Sheer scare-mongering.

The jobs in question depend on trade with the EU which would continue if we left.

Before joining the Common Market in 1973 our European trade was an even balance. Since then it has declined so that we are now in deficit to a total of over £400bn – and that’s supposed to be good!

While many daft laws are passed in the European Parliament, the business people in those countries are not mad.

They will want to go on trading with us because they sell more to us than we sell to them, which makes us their best customer.

How many business people turn their best customers away? Would Mercedes Benz stop selling us their cars at £30,000 each?

Then there’s French wine, Italian leather goods, Danish bacon.

Trade is a two-way street so we would also continue to sell to them, although it would be helpful to get more of an even balance.

Bill says foreign companies who have invested here will leave us if we quit the EU.

Twenty years ago the Japanese car makers said that if we did not join the euro currency they would leave us.

But they are still here, making more cars than ever before and exporting a great number of them to Europe.

Bill also quotes leading big business comments to support his case.

But recently Gerard Lyons, chief economic adviser to London Mayor, Boris Johnson, said that the City of London was not dependent on the UK remaining in the EU.

While Jim O’Neill, former chairman of Goldman Sachs, weighs in with: “The City should not be constrained by dumb reform in Europe.

“We should not be scared of leaving the EU and exploring a world without it.”


UKIP MEP for the East Midlands

Multi-storey car park is needed

I have read many pieces of criticism of Kettering General Hospital in your paper but I have to say that on my recent visit it was all OK.

I can have nothing but praise and thanks for the first-class staff caring for me in accident and emergency and Barnwell B and C wards, from consultants through doctors, nurses to care assistants and clinical house keepers.

My one complaint would be about the small car park.

It took longer to find a space than it did to come 14 miles from Rushden.

May I suggest the hospital, council and MP get together to seek funding for a multi-storey car park as soon as possible?



Help for those with cancer

I would like to express our thanks to Meadows Accountants who raised more than £3,000 for cancer charities, namely the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Prostate Cancer UK and the local Prostate Cancer Support Group.

They took on the Three Peaks challenge and were sponsored to raise this money for these cancer charities.

The local Prostate Cancer Support Group is a small but significant group which meets once a month to understand, support and offer friendship to men with prostate cancer, their carers and their family wherever they are in their cancer journey.

There is also time to listen and be listened to and for speakers.


Kettering and District Prostate Cancer Support Group

Spend the money on street lighting

Re: possible cuts to Bonfire Night in Corby.

I feel it would be better to spend the £10,000 it costs to light up the skies for one night, and spend the money on lighting the streets during the winter nights as Corby is more like the black hole of Calcutta.

The council could make bonfire display a standalone event and charge people just as most other firework displays do.


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