Socrates: But there’s never any shortage of people wanting to be MPs. There are several candidates at every election, and most of those have been chosen from other shortlists within their own parties. So how can you justify the large pay rises you regularly vote through for yourselves?
MP: We need to make sure that our pay keeps pace with people doing comparable jobs in the private sector, or we will lose the best people. It’s not just numbers that are important, it’s quality.
Socrates: And yet you don’t apply that argument to, say, university academics, who’ve had real-terms pay cuts for over a decade now? Their pay has fallen far behind that of people in comparable private-sector posts.
MP: I have seen no evidence that the quality of academic work has fallen. They’re doing more for less, so of course they don’t deserve a pay rise.
Socrates: Whereas… MPs deserve a pay rise because they’re crap?
MP: That’s right. And that, my friend, is what we mean by “performance-related pay”.
Socrates: I feel a migraine coming on...