politicians, there has been a lot of hypocritical fuss here about a British MP
putting his family on the public payroll. It is hypocritical because doing so
has been a well known perk of office for MPs ever since MPs started funding
their private offices with taxpayers’ money.
This did not stop one
of his colleagues saying that if this happened in any other organisation the
person responsible would be fired.
Er, actually... no.
The private sector has
always judged by results, not by codes of conduct.
nepotism can hardly be a dirty word in a sector in which most small businesses
start out with an entrepreneur roping in members of his family to help,
sometimes relying on their goodwill and offering little or no salary in return.
It has also been
understood by the private sector that there are such things as perks of office.
Most tax systems – the systems forced on us by those same self-righteous
politicians – actually encourage them by overtaxing direct salary.
It is generally taken
for granted that there are certain privileges attached to most business
leadership posts, so long as one does not get too greedy – and so long as one
That is where the
public sector differs from private business. The public sector is obsessed with
procedures and cares little for the results.
Personally, I would
not begrudge politicians dipping their beaks a little – just a little – if they
were doing a good job and saving a lot more money elsewhere. Yet we have the
worst of all possible worlds when we have private sector attitudes to
procedures and public sector attitudes to results.