Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The Assembly Gravy Train

Spent £245 on a night in a hotel recently?
Spent two grand on a sofa recently?
Recently purchased a £1000 surround-sound TV system?

. . . then you may be an Assembly Member, only they didn't spend this money - we did!

All these items were paid for by the taxpayer out of an allowance given to AMs. And not only these items, also luxuries like cable TV, a glass bowl costing £2 and a host of other items. It seems the Assembly is a gravy train stopping at every station . . . !!

Many workers forced to commute to work on overcrowded public transport will feel little sympathy with overpaid politicians who live 45 minutes drive from Cardiff getting £12,500 a year living expenses for a house in the capital.

It may be fair that AMs who have to travel from North Wales to require accomodation in Cardiff, but should two AMs like Lynne Neagle & Huw Lewis who share a house in Penarth be given thousands from the public purse for a second home?

While public sector workers are being told to tighten their belt in the face of the credit crunch and facing a wage freeze, the majority of Assembly Members believe they are entitled to a pay rise of more than 8%.

But this sleaze and lawful corruption point to a deeper malaise. If you are wondering why Welsh politicians have been virtually silent over British Gas (who had a 500% rise in profits last year) raising bills dramatically, then consider: How can our politicians empathise with the problems faced by the majority of Welsh people such as rising fuel bills, increases in food prices & council tax, debt, housing costs when they are able to live such an elite lifestyle?

The recent death of former socialist MP, Terry Fields reminds us of another model, Terry was elected to parliament in 1983 on the slogan a "worker's MP on a worker's wage" taking only the average salary of a British worker, and donating the remainder of his salary to trade union and community causes, because he believed that an MP should live the same lifestyle as the people he or she claimed to represent. While a Labour MP he was imprisoned for refusal to pay the poll tax.

The LEFT Alternative is not made up of wannable politicians but rather working class people who want to organise in the community for change. To get involved, email:

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