As the expenses controversy rages around the heads of Britain’s MPs I have been reading “Teddy Boy Blue” – the autobiography of former Tory MP Sir Teddy Taylor.
It makes interesting reading and I offer you this piece that describes Sir Teddy’s arrival in Parliament in 1964. No moats or duck islands here!
“A Scottish MP has to spend his week in London, travelling up only at weekends to visit his home. The salary was not too good at that time and if expensive accommodation was secured and a full-time secretary employed, there would not be much left. Nowadays, things are much easier for MPs with quite generous allowances being made available on top of salaries for accommodation in London and for the employment of secretaries, but these privileges were not available in 1964.
“So it had to be a little guesthouse in Clapham for accommodation which, as it happened, turned out to be the ideal place to live. I discovered it in an advert in The Sunday Post and the proprietors, a Mr and Mrs Fair, looked after me in the way in which you would expect a favourite aunt to do.”
I have held the view since studying the book that it should be required reading for all those who aspire to Parliament as it sets out the day-to-day life of a back bencher in great detail.
Now I also believe it should be required reading for all British voters as it describes the hard often humdrum work carried out by the majority of the nation’s elected representatives at both national and local level.
I believe some 170 MPs have had their expenses examined and published in print by the Daily Telegraph. That is a shameful figure but it still makes a large minority and doesn’t given credit to the latter day Sir Teddy Taylor’s who serve their nation and constituents with dedication and honesty.
(Teddy Boy Blue – Edward M Taylor – Kennedy & Boyd – http://www.kennedyandboyd.co.uk/)