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Monday, March 16, 2009


Oh, the irony! The Telegraph reports that if he is to claim his £31,000-a-year pension as a former European Commissioner, then Peter Mandelson must maintain a "duty of loyalty to the Communities". In other words the paper believes that the Business Secretary could be unable to stand up for British interests in disputes with Brussels.

The Taxpayer's Alliance, who unearthed this clause go further. They argue that Peter Mandelson is effectively being paid to support the Euro and the Lisbon Treaty. As usual with pronouncements from this body this is a two dimensional conclusion.

No organisation could impose such a condition on a former employee. The reality appears to be that Lord Mandelson is under an obligation is to give "undertakings that don't bring the organisation paying the pension into disrepute".

What amused me the most about this piece however was the idea that Peter Mandelson needs to be forced to defend Europe because of his pension arrangements. It is not as if he is a Euro sceptic of some sort. In fact quite the opposite.

This whole article and much of what the Taxpayer's Alliance does is based upon the premise that at all levels of government politicians and civil servants are motivated by their own financial interests. It is a cynical and unworthy position that is not justified by reality in 90% of cases.

This constant obsession with what things cost as opposed to the value achieved is undermining what public confidence is left in politics. The Taxpayer's Alliance will not find it easy to switch off this tap if and when their friends in the Conservative Party ever get into power.
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