Friday, May 08, 2009

MP's Expenses - A view from 2000 Years Ago -

Tories, Labour, Lib Dems are all at it, feeding like a pig from the public Trough. Today it is Labour tomorrow it will be the the Tories and Lib Dems turn over the weekend.

Direct from Fraser Nelson in the Spectator.

Plato had it right on MPs' expenses. This from The Republic:

"We also have to make sure the guardians do not become like sheep dogs that turn into wolves and abuse their power to harm their fellow citizens. Therefore the guardians will have no private property, they will live transparently, they will be provided for out of taxes, and they will live together communally.

First, none of them should possess any private property beyond what is wholly necessary.

Second, none of them should have a house or storeroom that isn’t open for all to enter at will.

Third, whatever sustenance moderate and courageous warrior-athletes require in order to have neither shortfall nor surplus in a given year they’ll receive by taxation on the other citizens as a salary for their guardianship.

Fourth, they’ll have common messes and live together like soldiers in a camp.

We’ll tell them that they always have gold and silver of a divine sort in their souls as a gift from the gods and so have no further need of human gold.

Indeed, we’ll tell them it’s impious for them to defile this divine possession by any admixture of such gold… Hence, for them alone … it is unlawful for them to touch or handle gold or silver… In this way they’d save both themselves and the city. But if they acquire private land, houses, and currency themselves, they’ll be household managers and farmers instead of guardians – hostile masters of the other citizens instead of their allies. They’ll spend their whole lives hating and being hated, plotting and being plotted against, more afraid of internal than external enemies, and they’ll hasten both themselves and the whole city to almost immediate ruin."

Thought for the day Coffee House


James Burdett said...

Yup, Plato was pretty hot on these things. My inner pedant can't help pointing out that it is nearer 2500 years ago ;)

Arun said...

spot on, but - without wanting to go all hippy - materialism is such a given human trait nowadays that it forms a vast part of our society. hence if no renumeration was made beyond basic costs. our parliament would be made up of student dreamers and hippys (which i am defnitely not!)

Matt Wardman said...

That's brilliant.

laura said...

Ah so good to hear we're not crazy in thinking that they should be the most transparent people in society. Unfortunately I don't think many politicians put their citizens first. Surely it has come to the point where we need laws which allow citizens to call a new vote when MPs make such huge errors. Seems like a great time to put some pressure for some big changes to politics: