Hypocrisy of taking the Moral High Ground
The problem with taking the moral high ground is that you set yourself up for a mighty fall.
It is an interesting position that has been taken by the Leader of the Northampton Borough over the level of expenses and allowances that Councillors receive.
There is no doubt that the Liberal Democrats voted during their time in control of the Borough Council to increase the allowances with the Leader getting an increase of over 50% and the Deputy Leader a 63% increase.
It was, and I admit to being a severe critic of the Lib Dem decision, an issue that the Conservatives constantly pushed in the lead to the 2011 election.
In fact those Councillors who were against it at the time made great play of announcing that they would give the ‘difference’ to charity.
Which a number of us did.
The moral high ground in political terms as we recognised at the time relied on being respected for sticking to promises and freeze future Councillor Allowances.
It was also agreed that the same standards would be applied to those who were ‘dual hatters’ serving on the County as well as the Borough Council.
The problem is that, and not for the first time, when during the recent Council meeting, all the Leader of the Council in deriding the previous administration in saying “all you did was give yourself a 63% pay rise” was to leave himself open to derision and accusations of being a bare-faced hypocrite.
If he really felt that it was ‘immoral’, and after all he stood on the basis that it was, then why hasn’t he refused to accept anything over and above the pre- rise amount?
In simple terms he could claim to hold the moral high ground if he announced that he will give the difference of £4312.78 to charity and live on the £19,423.23 remaining.
After all in opposing the Labour call for the introduction of the Living Wage of £7.45 an hour, or £16,270.80 a year he stated that it was unaffordable and anyway the National Minimum Wage of £13,781 a year is sufficient to live on.
Of course the claim will be that it wasn’t the Conservatives who increased the allowances.
Which would be an argument, all be it a flimsy one, if it wasn’t for the fact that the Conservatives voted to increase their County Council allowances by 27% to £9,000 a year.
As a dual hatter the Leader of the Borough Council is therefore paid from the public purse £28,422 a year, or 200% of the National Minimum Wage and 175% of the Living Wage.
What all of this highlight is that it isn’t so much the Leader of the Council holding the moral high ground as demonstrating quite the opposite, a continuing attribute of arrogance and contempt sitting astride his high horse?
The public already consider those involved in politics as being amongst the most despicable of groups who are nothing more than hypocritical charlatans who hide behind smearing others.
Perhaps he will be better regarded if he decided to get off of his high horse and practice what he is so keen to preach?