Saturday, October 8, 2011

They just can't seem to help themselves

Nobody I know has a problem with genuine expenses, if you're out of pocket doing something for your employer or simply being paid travel expenses as part of your job, it's fine. MP's however continue to take the piss...
MPs are being handed thousands of pounds of licence fee money simply to appear on the BBC.
The cash is being doled out to politicians for guest slots on shows where they do little more than promote themselves or their party.
Exposed for the first time in a week when the Corporation announced swingeing cuts that will leave BBC2 a channel of repeats, the practice allows MPs to receive ‘disturbance payments’ on top of expenses when they take part in programmes such as Any Questions? or Have I Got News For You.
Senior politicians including Diane Abbott, Hilary Benn, Sir Menzies Campbell and Caroline Flint have enjoyed being paid to turn up on panel shows, according to research conducted on the parliamentary register of members’ financial interests.
It proves the BBC has become a money-spinner for the political classes.
One of the most lucrative shows is Have I Got News For You, which can attract a fee of £1,500, but BBC2’s Cash in the Attic – currently under threat of being axed – once paid Miss Abbott £1,000 for an appearance.
Some MPs give the money to charity, one at least donates it to her local party and others simply pocket the cash.
Although the BBC’s stated policy is not to pay frontbench ministers or their Opposition counterparts, the Daily Mail’s research has revealed this has happened.
Many of the payments come from Radio 4’s political panel programme Any Questions?, which usually pays about £150 for an MP to appear. But this can rise to £200 a show, plus expenses.
The last bit is the one which caught my eye, they are being paid "appearance money" PLUS expenses!As if they weren't raking in enough of our cash for the privilege of driving the country into the ground, they have to grab some of our money via the BBC too.
Thing is, all they do when on many of these shows is trot out the party line, they rarely say what they really think (I'm assuming here as the alternative is too horrible to contemplate) They never answer a straight question with a straight answer and at times appear so out of touch with public opinion that you have to wonder which planet they are from, though the BBC often pander to this delusion with tame audiences and presenters.
If politicians are invited to appear on a political program then all they should get is their travelling expenses, no appearance fee and no special treatment.
The BBC as ever seem to forget just whose money they are playing (and paying) with.

5 annotations:

English Pensioner said...

There'll be even more expenses once the BBC has moved everything to Salford. An overnight stay at a top hotel if they are on a late night show, and we'll probably only get the rubbish MPs because the ones worth listening to will be too busy to waste the time travelling.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. It's part of their job to communicate with the public. Appearing on serious programmes like Any Questions, and Question Time should be done free. After all as all of them always tow the party line, they use them as Party Political Broadcasts.

As far as programmes like Have I got News for You, I don't think they should be used at all. Most of them are too dim to work within the spirit of the thing; it is after all comedy, and they are not comedians.

Matthew Parris was on the News Quiz not long ago, and tried to make all sorts of excuses for David Cameron, when the audience wanted to roast him. One of the other contestants had to remind him he was on a satirical comedy show.

For every penny they take from the BBC their salary should be reduced.

I'd stop for 3 months all the expenses of any MSP/MP who was found to have cheated, because they would be in prison, which ever party including my own.

Tattyfalarr said...

They should be paying *me* Disturbance Money...any time I spot Diane Abbott on tv I feel mentally disturbed (and quite violent) for aaaages afterwards...

wiggiatlarge said...

Tris,not comedians ? the problem is they are !

Anonymous said...

I see that Prescott's popping up all over the TV recently. Hasn't the greedy bugger had enough of our money?