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18 June 2008
Why I am standing against David Davis in the coming by-election
This is a guest posting by David Craig, who yesterday announced his candidacy in the forthcoming Haltemprice and Howden by-election, caused by the resignation of David Davis.

Having written Squandered: How Gordon Brown is wasting over one trillion pounds of our money, I have become so incensed at how our leaders have lost touch with the lives of ordinary voters, that I have decided to stand as a candidate against David Davis.

Instead of seeing an MP’s job as public service, our MPs appear to think it is self-service; instead of helping their voters, they just seem help themselves; instead of spending our money wisely, they waste it on worthless schemes promoting their own dubious 'legacy' – the Olympics £14bn+, the NHS IT system £12bn+, Identity Cards £5bn+, MPs’ new offices and so on.

As I have to live on the average salary, I believe that what is important to taxpayers is that we are governed by a new elite of MPs and their subservient bureaucrats who are overpaid, out of touch and waste billions of pounds of our money when the cost of living is spiralling out of control. As taxes shoot ever higher, the Government has squandered over one trillion pounds on failed schemes to improve public services. As fuel prices rocket, MPs think only about increasing their own petrol allowances and not about reducing fuel duty for the rest of us. As the average family must live on about £24,000 a year, MPs want a pay increase of about £40,000 taking them to £100,000 for just 30 weeks work. As private pensions schemes wither away, MPs get the equivalent of £50,000 a year paid into their pension funds.

Because I believe our leaders are overpaid, I commit to giving half my MP's salary to charity. The 12 people who propose, second and sign supporting my candidature can choose the 12 charities for my money.

There are three main areas on which I will campaign:

Firstly our Government needs to respond to the concerns of the general public by such actions as holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, refusing to pass any more power to Brussels , bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and setting clear annual limits on immigration.

Secondly, as we move into difficult economic times, our leaders need to demonstrate that they are using our money wisely. They should deal with a few expensive white elephants. For example, they could scrap Identity Cards saving about £5bn, cancel the failing NHS computer system - another £10bn and halve the 2012 Olympics budget saving over £6bn. They should reduce waste in the public sector. Cutting the number of managers in the NHS could save over £2bn, halving the amount the public sector spends on management consultants would save about £3bn and cutting spending on pointless administrative quangos should save over £5bn. Action also needs to be taken to curb the runaway costs of senior civil servants’ salaries and pensions The Government should impose a three-year salary freeze on all public sector staff earning over £70,000 a year, tax the hitherto tax-free lump sum paid to retiring top civil servants and impose a special pensions tax on all public sector employees earning over £50,000 to make their pensions self-financing rather than paid for out of our future taxes.

Thirdly, I would campaign to stop politicians shamelessly filling their pockets at taxpayers’ expense. When this Government swept to power in May 1997, less than half our legislation was initiated and authored in the EU. By 2001 this had reached 55 per cent and, according to an answer given in 2007 in the German parliament (the UK Government has refused to provide the same information), 84 per cent of their legislation now comes directly from the EU.

If you owned a corner shop and you lost more than half of your customers, you might consider reducing your staff and even paying yourself slightly less. Yet, our leaders have never considered cutting their numbers or their remuneration to match their greatly reduced workload. In the last five years alone, the amount of money our MPs have taken in salaries and expenses has gone up by a satisfying (for them) 64 per cent, from less than £100m in 2001–2 to over £155m in 2006–7, the number of expense claims submitted by MPs has almost doubled from just over 30,000 a year to close to 60,000 and the number of staff employed to help our MPs do less and less work has gone up by over a third from around 1,800 to over 2,500.

So I would oppose MPs getting the pay rise they want to take their salaries for thirty weeks’ work from around £60,000 up towards £100,000, I would fight to make MPs submit receipts for all expenses as is normal practice in any other business and I would support moves preventing MPs from employing their own family members with taxpayers’ money.

The gap between our rulers and the electorate widens by the day, while the gap between our main political parties becomes ever narrower. The way our politicians club together to protect their own when the press exposes how they have misused their expenses clearly demonstrates their contempt for those who have elected them. It’s time for a ‘people’s revolt’ against our wasteful and self-serving rulers. I hope my book and candidature will be the first steps.

David Craig, 54, is a former management consultant who has now taken up writing books exposing waste, mismanagement and corruption in government. He is the author of Squandered: How Gordon Brown is wasting over on trillion pounds of our money (2008), Who cares? (2007) a book about the dreadful state of the NHS, and Plundering the Public Sector (2006) about how management and IT consultants are fleecing the taxpayer. He can be contacted at neilmglass@yahoo.co.uk


It's amazing to see such common sense.

I totally agree with the No to ID cards campaign. Our government now has 800 state departments pulling the phone calls of all 60 million citizens.
We the citizens, have been reclassified "terrorists".

IT programmes and this Government are a shambles. Look at the CSA system - it reached half capacity of the current paper system, and keeled over and died.
The NHS system gives our personal ID information to India to scan in. So if you experience ID theft, it's just as likely to be the NHS that's the weak link.

Databases and this government have an appalling record.
Take the Criminal Records Bureau - approx 85% of the Criminal records have mistakes in them. Some 15% of these mistakes, are "whoopers". You have someone elses criminal conviction on your record. The criminal meanwhile has a clean record.

They shipped out databases of the child benefit agency, worth some £1.5 BILLION in unregistered post. The data was unprotected, un password protected, and unencrypted.
They cannot under any circumstances be trusted with a National ID scheme, until this data is cleaned and spotless. Right first time, as it's not just our bank accounts at risk, it's our whole identities. If you're labelled a drug baron by accident, what do you do? The Police wont' believe you - you've got the conviction on your rap sheet.

Civil rights, is becoming an election issue.

They've changed our inquiry system so that the head of the failing department runs the Inquiry. So take the Jersey Care Home scandal. The Paedophiles who ran the care home, will run the Inquiry? It's bonkers, out of control. We're speechless at the plain STUPIDITY of our Government.

Civil rights is back, we the country that had the Magna Carta, now has 42 days detention. And they give you £42,000 compensation if you're not charged.
It's like some joke out of the hitchhiker guide to the galaxy. The answer is 42.

Lets hope the House of Lords stops this "toss pot" government. I'm speechless, that this is their "legacy".

18 June 2008 at 17:24  

It will be interesting to see if this by-election campaign takes off now that a serious candidate has entered the lists.

I suspect that one of the problems that David Craig will have is that he wants to run on issues that David Davis probably does not. Thus the two could end up talking across one another, with DD getting all the publicity.

18 June 2008 at 19:52  

Nice work on getting one of the candidates to write his manifesto like that - bloody good work in fact.

He won't win, but he does come over as a reasoned, serious candidate.

18 June 2008 at 20:31  

I'm far happier reading this than I was seeing paeans of praise to Gauleiter Davis on a left-wing blog. Good for Craig, and I hope he does well. I agree with pretty well all he says. (Though - "tax-free lump sums for retiring senior civil servants"? Mine was taxed all right.) But you're bound to have MPs wanting more money if they have to live among the filthy rich. Either move Parliament to Manchester or tax the rich to buggery. Bt I'd happily campaign for the guy.

18 June 2008 at 22:13  

I have offered the same deal to the Davis camp, so I am not taking sides in the contest.

The notion of the MP as a shabby little careerist really only dates back to the 1980s. I can remember Labour MPs living in bedsits, that's how relatively poor they were.

Any chance of a link to this guest post from your place? Get folk interested...

18 June 2008 at 22:36  

The problem is that nobody is going to vote for an independent, not when the 42 days issue is uppermost in their minds. This candidate doesn't even address the reason why the byelection was called!

It is different in South Wales where independents are getting elected because they are old Labour under a new flag. This guy is an unknown who wants to fight on issues that are not relevant to this battle.

19 June 2008 at 00:27  

Independents are now the leading party in South Wales.

And a superb job they're doing to.

19 June 2008 at 17:46  

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