by Ed West
Monday, 26
July 2021

Nigel Farage is a model ex-politician

The former Ukip leader hasn't disgraced himself, unlike many former PMs
by Ed West
The feel when you get another Cameo request. Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

My least populist political opinion is that we should pay MPs £1m a year. Saying that, it would be impossible to raise their salaries because numerous hugely-popular online MPs would wail about nurses and teachers being the real heroes, and get 36,000 retweets.

Money doesn’t solve all problems — but it solves a lot of them, and if you want to raise the prestige or status of a career, paying more is a simple way to do it. Singapore has by the far the best-paid lawmakers in the world, and so Singaporean politics attracts the very brightest people, and the city-state is extremely well run. Intelligence doesn’t bestow honesty or humanity, but on average a group of very intelligent people will make better decisions than a team of men on the street.

Britain pays its MPs far less than what the brightest could make in a range of careers, and so we get MPs who are noticeably dimmer than the average person you’d meet in, say, finance; they’re probably even dimmer than journalists, which is saying something. I don’t want to single out anyone in particular, but some of the newer intake appear to be… intellectually challenged. It’s frightening that such people actually make laws.

Meanwhile, David Cameron always gave the impression of treating politics like some fun first job out of university, before he moved into the more serious business of making money. Try a couple of years as Prime Minister, and if it doesn’t work out get a real job. Whether or not it’s fair, he gave the air of treating the whole thing casually and, unsurprisingly, his time in office ended in total failure.

The poor pay given to politicians, in comparison with their peers, also creates the squalid, post-politics scramble to make as much money as possible, the inevitable result being the murky world of lobbying.

This invites corruption and detracts from the dignity of the office, the most undignified example being the ongoing scandal involving Cameron’s work for Lex Greensill.

Still, even that is noble in comparison to Tony Blair’s post-political career as a shill for middle-ranking dictators and all-round man-who-will-say-anything-for-money. (Blair was once paid fifty grand to address a conference of toilet roll manufactures.)

Then there is George Osborne, who seems to have every job in Britain at the moment, the latest being at the British Museum.

The only British politician who has raised himself in public esteem since leaving office is Nigel Farage. Before his recent move to GB News, the former Ukip leader caused widespread mirth when he signed up to Cameo – and, to paraphrase Bob Monkhouse, they’re still laughing.


Why would a politician soil their dignity by lobbying for Saudi Arabia or Kazakhstan, when they could be earning honest money by giving a shout-out to a low-level drug dealer in Battersea? It’s the perfect sunset career for arguably the most successful politician of our age.

Join the discussion

  • Picking up your first suggestion, a more modest idea. We could reduce the Lords to a Senate of 100 persons, and the Commons to say 200, and then divide the current costs among them, which should improve the quality in due course. Also not give any titles to politicians until they had irrevocably retired.

  • And the Welsh, Scots snd Northern Irish should pay for their additional “governments” (sic) out of their own taxes (i. e. Not subsided by English taxpayers)

  • mmmm, not sure I would trust the direction of a country in the hands of a few 150 IQ scientists….. seeing how much damage ‘scientists’ have done to people in the last 18 months.
    I would prefer to believe that, when given the time and space to discuss things and being informed by opposing views and arguments, the general population makes better choices for the long run…. I sort of like democracy even when it does not always fully suits me…

  • To get involved in the discussion and stay up to date, become a registered user.

    It's simple, quick and free.

    Sign me up