Mike Weatherley Tory MP – tireless crusader or showboating buffoon?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote to my local Member of Parliament Mike Weatherley, Tory MP for Hove & Portslade, to enquire which way he had voted on the National Health reforms. It was a serious question, I want to know what my member of parliament is doing for his money and I wanted to remind him that his constituants care.
I didn’t expect an immediate response, but the automated message I did receive should have alerted me to the fact that customer service is very definitely not a priority for this Tory MP.
“Thank you very much for your email. Please be assured that I have received your message safely and will endeavour to respond within 14 days.
I can also be contacted by post and telephone…”
Anyway, he has taken the trouble to add me to his mailing list so that I can now report on his activities in some detail.
In a week which has been dominated by concerns about the National Health and the Governments relationship with News International, Mike Weatherley was having none of it. His communique has the chirpy upbeat style of a practised comedian – no glass half empty here.
1. He has “welcomed” a grant to the South Downs. I’m guessing this means he didn’t instigate it but would like to be associated with it…
2. He has “popped in” to the Little Fish Market and bought some fish for the weekend. He heartily recommends we do likewise.
3. He has chaired a debate on live music in Parliament. Not sure if this was a scheduled debate or an informal one in the members bar, but good work Mike!
4. He has “welcomed” the eviction of the St. Paul’s protesters. See point 1.
5. He has “hosted” a parliamentary dinner to discuss…wait for it…live music and in particular how the music industry can strengthen its stranglehold, sorry, maintain a competitive advantage in these straitened times.
6. He has “spoken out” against the huge public subsidy of trade union officials within Sussex Police. Figures released by Sussex Police, following a Freedom of Information request, show that the annual cost to the taxpayer of trade union officials in Sussex Police was £183,099.75 in 2009/2010 and £162,926.42 in 2010/2011.
It doesn’t amount to a whole lot of what I would recognise as “work”. All this “speaking out” and “welcoming” must be awfully wearing though and one wonders what the hapless owners of the Little Fish Market did in a previous life.
Setting sarcasm aside for a moment, one point Mike raises about the cost to the taxpayer of trade union officials is worth examining. This is a popular Tory mantra in their ceaseless mission to prevent “business” from being hamstrung by things like “fair pay” and “holidays”.
Let’s assume that a fulltime Trades Union official is paid £40,000 a year. It’s a guess, but probably not that far off the mark. That’s four whole Trades Union officers to represent the entirety of the Sussex Police. By contrast Mike Weatherley is paid £65,738 by the taxpayer to represent erm Hove. I wonder if the Trades Union Officers spend as much time debating live music or even “welcoming” grants to the South Downs. Add to this the fact that the police are not yet a privately run business and you have to wonder what on earth Mike has been smoking.