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September 19, 2007


At last, someone telling politicians what they ought to hear, not what they want to.

The Italians, however, are not reserved people. Instead, more than 330,000 of them queued for hours in the hot sun recently to tell their politicians: vaffanculo! (roughly the equivalent of "f*** you").

Obviously my command of street Italian is not quite what I had thought (hey, we left the country when I was 10). I thought it meant f*** yourself, not f*** you, but the general sentiment is sound.

The 630 MPs in the lower house of parliament cost just under £14,000 a month each. They get £9,000 a month in wages, and £5,000 of "automatic reimbursement fees" for travel, expenses and electoral costs. They also get free train, plane and car travel, and free entry into cinemas, theatres, galleries and football matches. They have subsidised meals in their canteen and cheap haircuts (the barbers in the parliament building are paid £90,000 a year). One senator asked for free ice cream this summer, since it was so hot that he was having difficulty thinking.

September 19, 2007 in Politics | Permalink


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Without independent scrutiny of parliamentary work and pay, this is always going to happen. But MPs in this country don't get paid anything like a top city salary, which might explain why we always get idiots instead of the smart, educated thinkers in politics.

Posted by: Letters From A Tory | Sep 19, 2007 9:23:20 AM

I'm pretty certain that all 330,000 of these people were Italian mechanics, and they arranged their protest to coincide with my battery running out a few miles south of Turin. It's the only way to explain the three hour wait for a new battery while sitting within spitting distance of three auto shops.

Of course, that doesn't explain the two hour wait for two new tyres in Clermont-Ferrand, or the five hour wait in a Barcelona police station after a local decided my car would benefit from several fewer windows. Was this a continent-wide thing, maybe?

Posted by: sortapundit | Sep 19, 2007 9:35:13 AM