13/06/2010 - Spare a thought for these poor unfortunate souls!

HAVE you ever lost your job? 


If so, do you remember how useless and despondent you felt?  Do you remember feeling that your whole world had just come crashing down?  Then do you recall wondering how on earth – at your age - you would ever get another job? 


The only ‘good’ news on the horizon was that you’d be picking up your redundancy money.  But sometimes that turns out to be much less than you’d thought.


If you’ve ever been in this position, spare a thought for the poor unfortunate MPs who were forced to stand down in the wake of the expenses scandal and those who were given boot at the last election.


For the 218 MPs who were shown the door will have to get by on a total of £10.4 million.  That averages out to nearly £48,000 each – with the first £30,000 tax-free. 


MPs forced to step down at last month’s election and those dumped by the electorate can claim this loot.


They include household names like ex-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who claimed money back for scores of items for use in her “second home” in Redditch, Worcestershire.  These included a television, washing machine, video recorder, a towel and a toothbrush holder.


Others include lesser known politicians like Douglas Hogg – who had his moat cleaned, piano tuned and stable lights fixed at his country manor house – and Sir Peter Viggers - who famously claimed for the £1,645 cost of a floating duck house in the garden pond at his Hampshire home.


The total of £10.4 million takes the form of a grant, which is being paid out to help these MPs “adjust to non-parliamentary life”.  Incredibly, they will also get ‘gold plated’ pensions, some worth around £1 million. 


Many ordinary British workers have to survive on a mere fraction of an MPs £64,766 salary.  And a pension of £1 million is something that we can only dream about!


Is it any wonder that some trade unionists claim that there seems to be one law for them – and one law for us?