Talking Politics: Questions about cash

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Just as I was starting to write this, I had a phone call at home from someone asking me what the Courier pays me for this monthly article.

“Nothing” I said (that’s the truth!)

“You must be being paid, politicians don’t do anything for free” he said.

I replied “You can see what I’m paid. Have a look at the council website. I get my basic allowance, plus an additional one for being the group leader, and I’ve just started claiming mileage now that I’m no longer leader or deputy. And I’m required to declare extra payments, and you should see those, too” (I’ve only ever had two, both unsolicited, one for some flowers and one for a dinner with Lloyds TSB).

“But Labour and the Conservatives do an article”.

“That’s right, and the Independents. We take it in turn to write about issues from our point of view. I’m pleased to do it for that reason. Who are you?”

He told me that he works for a TV programme. I don’t know if he does, I didn’t get a name from him. I’m quite prepared to answer questions like this (but not perhaps in the way that I was asked) but my family were aghast at both the tone and the content of the phone call. It does beg questions about how politicians are seen by some people and how we are treated by them.