The chief of staff in Steven Harper’s government has resigned, after it came out he gave $90,000 to a Canadian senator to help pay off “improperly claimed housing expenses”. This comes only a month and a half after Francois Hollande’s former Budget Minister admitted he hid €600,000 in off shore bank accounts. These aren’t the first of such cases and it leaves us all rather let down by our politicians, why are we listening to those who can’t live by what they preach?

Nigel Wright’s resignation has posed some pretty poignant questions, mainly: Why is Canada being lead by a Conservative government that hands out money packets to its own senators when they’re faced to pay expenses they weren’t entitled to and yet campaigns “consistently on issues of accountability and economic stewardship”.

The argument that the rich help themselves is often thrown around in lefty-circles as an accepted truth, its hard to argue when elected officials are throwing the evidence right at you. To be told to live within your means by those with the ability to work the system so they don’t have to is, for want of a better phrase, a bit rich.

Economic recovery is never an easy one solution, though politicians would tell you otherwise. Austerity can stagnate and punish those who don’t deserve it, extra borrowing leaves countries with bigger debts and won’t solve where the crisis has come from. Cut the slack, thats an obvious one, inefficiencies cost a lot and state run institutions can’t be pointlessly bloated, but don’t cut to the point where services are effected – be wary with the NHS. Tackle tax evasion, if it’s within the law then change the law, in any economic mess people will struggle, cut it fairly across the board – don’t tell us that ‘talent’ will leave the country if tax laws are changed, let them leave and suck another system, it might open up a few jobs for our poor graduates, there’s more than enough talent around.

That was maybe a tangent, the point here is that politicians are supposed to be role models. We all know that’s rubbish though, no-one really looks up to politicians unless they want to become one (William Hague had posters of Thatcher on his wall as a teenager… yeah…), what they do need to do is practice what they preach. French minister’s trying to push a 75% tax rate should pay all their tax, Canadian senators telling the public to be responsible should be responsible. It’s mad to think you even need to write this stuff.

If living within your means is as easy as they say it’s a wonder how they manage to mess it up so often.

BY: James Tennent

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