You may know the Shakespeare lines, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”
I am using this line in the context of public service.
Public service is not for everyone, but for some it is a dream, a goal.
As a public servant you are just that, a servant to the public, in the example of a Minister of Parliament, to your constituents, not just those who voted for you, but those who live and reside in your district, or council.
You work for them, think of them as your boss. And that is a lot of bosses to try and please.
There is a saying, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
That makes being in politics and being an MP a real juggling act, a fine line to walk.
You have the needs and concerns of those who voted you into office, but you also must deal with the politics and bureaucracy that is Parliament and Westminster.
Those who have idealistic expectations of changing the world, one brick at a time at Westminster, may find their eyes opened.
So why become an MP?
As we will see, there is a status to being an MP, and in politics in general. People recognise you, you are sought out for various help here and there, write your MP is common cry among the down trodden masses.
So what is there that is attractive to becoming a servant of the people?
The fame, fortune, authority or all three.
Earnings as An MP
Sorry I digress, so you want to be an MP, and some do, they feel the calling to be a servant of the people.
Believe it or not as a servant of the public/people, it is a job, a real job, a real job that pays a salary, money.
But how much money does it pay???
According to Parliament UK, “The basic annual salary for an MP from 1 April 2019 is £79,468.”
That is not a bad piece of change depending on which part of the country you are from.
But wait, there’s more…
There also is expenses, money is there for things like the cost of running an office, employing staff, a place to live in London, and other incidentals.
A place to live in London is not cheap, so that has to add a few quid to the pile there.
But seriously, if you are an MP, you need to be in London at various times for votes and meetings, and if you are to do your job well, you need to not just be here, but nearby.
The fact is as an MP, your life and your salary is in the spotlight.
Everyone can know what you earn, as an MP, however, many have other means of support, investments, side work, businesses they own.
And any pay rises, and expenses, can be public knowledge.
What The Prime Minister Earns: So if MP’s are earning near £80K a year, what about the Prime Minister?
The Prime Minster’s salary currently is £150,402, which is make up of a MPs salary, plus the difference being PM. However, as we know, there are many “perks” involved; the expenses, living in Number 10, the use of Chequers, etc.
So being an MP and/or a PM with their salaries depending on what you currently earn, looks pretty good.
But what is the cost to reach this pinnacle of public service?
The Cost to Be An MP
Becoming an MP is basically easy, meet the requirements to do so, and get elected.
Easy on the surface.
What are the requirements to run, to be in the running to be an MP in your area?
“Who Can Stand as MP?”: “must be over 18 years of age, be a British citizen or citizen of a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland”
“Candidates must be nominated by ten parliamentary electors of the constituency they wish to stand in.”
“Authorisation is required to stand for a specific party, otherwise candidates will be described as independent or have no description.”
“In order to encourage only serious candidates to stand, a £500 deposit is required when submitting the nomination papers – returned if the candidate receives over five per cent of the total votes cast.”
That seems and sounds fairly easy, and not too costly, especially if you receive over 5% of the totl votes cast.
But is this really what is costs to run to become an MP? No, not really. You need to get your name, and face out there in front of the public, the voters.
This can be done in many ways, and one is to choose a party you believe in, and want to stand for. Many voters vote the party lines, Labour voters may always vote Labour.
But you still need to be known.
So what is the “real cost” to become an MP?
That depends on whom you ask, and also how much someone wants the job as they can spend quite a lot.
On average some may spend over £11,000, but some candidates have been known to spend £100,000!
Other averages show anywhere from £19,000 to over £30,000, it really can vary.
One candidate, Wilfred Emmanuel Jones, who is the Founder of Black Farm Foods, and a millionaire, spent £150,000, and did not win.
So £150,000 gone.
As they say, that was the “price to enter politics”.
So if anyone over the age of 18 and a citizen can run for office, that sounds easy and fair, the reality is far different. Just think of the costs in money and time to campaign, have signs made, posters, handbills, holding events to get your name and face out there.
And then you could still spend the money, and lose.