Monday, December 24, 2007

Fisking Tim Worstall

Tim Worstall writes :

The value of any job in a market economy is set by supply and demand. We have a (relatively) fixed demand for MPs. Some 630 or so (roughly, isn’t it?).

According to Wikipedia, it's actually 646. For someone who spends a lot of time complaining (correctly) about the sloppy figures of Polly Toynbee, it's a pity Tim didn't spend thirty seconds looking the number up on Google.
At the last general election some 3,000 people stood for one of those seats. Some will say that some were markedly unqualified (from Monster Raving Loonies to Trots of various types) but this isn’t, in a democracy, a valid position to hold. Any and every one of us is qualified to be an MP: that’s what rule by the people means.
This is incorrect - yes anyone is eligible to apply to be an MP - that doesn't mean you're qualified to be an MP. To qualify, you have to convince the largest number of people on the "interview" panel to vote for you. Simply being qualified enough to apply for the job does not mean you're suitable.

So as we have 3,000 qualified applicants for some 600 jobs, clearly, we are overpaying those who do it. MPs pay should therefore be cut, radically.

Again, this is faulty logic - just because you get lots of applicants, doesn't mean you're over paying them. Looking at my own field, that of Information Technology, the higher paid positions are naturally going to have more applicants. What this means for the employers that pay above the market rate salaries is they get more chance to cherry pick the best people in the field, not that they are somehow overpaying them. I like the thought that we get a higher class of applicant to be an MP by paying more. I'm still not sure how that explains John Prescott though.

In fact, back in the day when being an MP attracted no salary at all (only Ministers were paid) we had no shortage of MPs. Thus we would have no shortage now if MPs were unpaid now (that is arguable, but do you think there would be a shortage if this were the case?).

Possibly not - but as has been pointed out on numerous occassions, the other side of that is that only the rich could then afford to become MPs. By running this policy, you'd effectively ensure that "every one of us is" no longer "qualified to be an MP". So you'd end up moving away from the main starting point of this discussion. Either that or MPs would have to take "consultancy fees" from vested interests, which I'm not convinced would be an improvement on the current situation.

Cut MPs pay and cut it now!

If the problem is that MPs are incompetent, then that is a decision for their constituents to deal with. The fact that you may not like someone's choice of MP is not a reason to reduce that MPs wages (again, a certain former deputy Prime Minister comes to mind). It's called democracy.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Well he is Scottish.....

Football 365 have this report on their Mediawatch page (Sir being a reference to Sir Alex Ferguson):
"To manage a national team you need to be a certain age with plenty of experience and with a presence and a CV that is indisputable" - Sir on Don Fabio.

Could you not have said that 18 months ago, Sir?
Well he is Scottish. He's probably spent the last 18 months having a very good laugh. Mind you, he's in good company.