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February 25, 2015

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Andrew

Many companies hire former or current politicians as advisors on policy and regulatory issues. This is not necessarily or even usually a sinister attempt to but influence, it is because they need to understand how policy issues affecting their business may play out. And the payments for this advice would be of the same order as they pay for legal or accounting advice, so most likely well above an MPs payscale. It seems to me that Sir Malcolm and most others in his position would regard this as a legitimate way of monetising their experience. So, yes, I agree that the kneejerk reaction of condemnation is a bit out of place here.

Ralph Musgrave

Given Chris's sympathy for Rifkind, I'm forced to ask whether Chris really is the Marxist he claims to be...:-)

Chris Purnell

Rifkind was also 'earning' £180,000 from three directorships (Newsnight: 24 Feb 2015). So his package is c. £250,000. QED Rifkind is just another greedy bourgeois nose in the trough.

Luke

Chris P
"QED Rifkind is just another greedy bourgeois nose in the trough"

Not sure what precisely the definition of bourgeois is, but I reckon most would be pretty grateful for £250k pa.

aragon

The Spectator thinks your sympathy is misplaced.

"You do not have to be on the left to be concerned about this warping of public life. The justification for free markets is that they bring wealth to the whole of society, not a few at the top."

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/the-spectator/2015/02/the-justification-for-free-markets-is-that-they-bring-wealth-to-the-whole-of-society-not-a-few-at-the-top/

Abdullah

That's 67k for a part-time job with lots of reading. He once represented Edinburgh Pentland and is a prize potato.

Luke

Slightly off topic, but I do like the way Chris scours the writings of Smith and Hayek to find things that will make (some) right wingers' heads explode.

Icarus Green

Its not just income we benchmark ourselves against other people on. But this incident does bring to mind the McKinsey CEO Gupta, looking at the Galleon Hedge Fund Manager and thinking he needed to get in on the action. Cue sketchy behaviour.

I had a good discussion about this recently. It seems on one end theres the hyper sensitive, envious person who sees well to do peers and decides to improve until he gets to that level. Thats healthy if ones goals are realistic.

On the other end are the people that are so ignorant, stupid and blind that they can't see they're losing the race. They would rather make themselves feel better about being obese, being on the dole, being loveless by ignoring the problem or rationalising it away by comparing themselves to farm animals or something and hoping miracles will happen.

Ideally you'd be somewhere in between. Wanting to improve. But happy at a core level with certain aspects of your person that can't be changed.

As a matter of specifics, I do think MPs should be paid a lot more to prevent this type of soft corruption and private business worship.

Cawstein

Montaigne remarked that Fortuna, so often blamed for unfairness, seldom gets blamed for an unequal distributiion of common-sense; high and low, poor and rich, all think they have a good allocation of 'common-sense'. Cawstein

An Alien Visitor

"The justification for free markets is that they bring wealth to the whole of society, not a few at the top"

Well then free markets should be abolished immediately because they couldn't have failed more in this regard and we have centuries of history to show this.

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