To Ken Maginnis they’re just boys and girls

Ken Maginnis, the Baron Maginnis of Drumglass has never been overburdened by PC. It’s always been part of his charm. Decent certainly, honourable absolutely, courageous, even, but politically correct, never. Ken has even taken to the pages of the Bel Tel to spread the news of his latest sally beyond the Hansard record, a counter-intuitive speech on expenses, the poor quality of the political class and over-government at home. Ken unfashionably argues for MPs to be paid better salaries; but also for a better calibre of MP.

“My Lords is it not time that the other place looked at the initial deceit from which the problems were derived; that is, the deceit that said that Members of Parliament are worth half of what a GP is paid, but that a trough would be created into which people could put their snouts to make up the deficit?
Will any regulatory body understand the complexities of a House like this with experienced people, vis-à-vis the other place where a large proportion are but boys and girls sent to do men’s jobs — people without experience and without having made their own way in life?”

But my biggest gripe is that electorates have been brain-washed to value university |degrees, good looks, voice quality and various politically correct attributes above other more tangible assets like moral fibre, experience, determination and even principle.”
Who can he have in mind for “good looks, voice quality” etc? Hardly the present Prime Minister; his predecessor maybe? The description doesn’t quite fit the DUP. And who can resist brain-washing? Why ex-headmasters and natural members of the officer class of course, who once patrolled the byways of Tyrone at dead of night. And who’s to blame for creating these feeble-minded professionals? Why we the voters, who else? It takes an unelected lord to speak the truth!.

“So why would professional politicians change all this when, sadly, it’s you and I — the electorate — who vote for pretty packaging rather than (dare I say it) decent, genuine people who are able and willing to serve!”

Not that all “experienced” lords have been free of the stain of corruption, as he forgot to remind us. I have it on good authority at Westminster that Ken’s comments have already passed into the legend of the expenses scandal.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London