As each and every one of us "ordinary, decent, hard working families up and down the land" (don't they realise how patronising that is) cuts and trims their budgets, it appears that, despite calls for them to, and their promises that they will, cut the cost of bars and restaurants in Westminster, the subsidy we pay these 650 members has, according to the Telegraph, risen to an unbelievable £5.8 million. (£8,923.08 per person per year.) For every £10 an MP spends on lunch now, the public contributes £7.60; last year the sum was £6.90.
The menus are mouth watering, I warn you in advance, so be prepared:
Artichoke and tomato salad with truffle dressing: £2.05;
Seared breast of pigeon with aubergine purée and spiced couscous: £4.15;
Spinach, ricotta and sundried tomato pizza with a rocket salad: £2.75;
Roasted half spring chicken with stuffing: £2.95;
Risotto of pea and broad bean with goat’s cheese: £2.40;
Char-grilled rib-eye steak with hand-cut chips and béarnaise sauce: £7.80;
Green tea and white chocolate brûlée: £2.05;
Cheese board: £3.10.
And Pugin Room bar prices include a glass of malt whisky, Cointreau liqueur or Grand Marnier: £2.55; Glasses of 2009 Sauvignon Blanc or 2010 Merlot: £2.35.
And at these prices, our brave representatives do a power of drinking. They spent £1.33 million in the last financial year in the bars (£2.046.15 each). Given the subsidy, imagine what that would have been in real prices.
But Holyrood cannot claim much superiority here. The Edinburgh parliament restaurant was subsidised by £80,000 in the last year (£620 per member).
The meal prices are equally mind blowing with smoked salmon and beetroot lax with potato blini, herb cream cheese capers and spring onions at £1.40.
and seared salmon with herb crème fraiche potatoes, braised celery and soy cucumber relish a mere £4.80.
Any restaurant on the Royal Mile would laugh at these prices. And with bar prices at less than £3 for a malt whisky, the bar is being subsidised at around £130 per member.
On average MPs are paid around £66,000 and MSPs around £52,000 per annum. With average salaries around the £25,000 mark, no one could say that they are not reasonably well paid. Surely it is unnecessary for the public to subsidise their eating, and absolutely unnecessary to subsidise their drinking! Something to think about if we are really "all in it together".
However, the laugh of the week has to be our favourite nut job, the Sarah Palin of English politics, Nadine Dorries, who tweeted about the state of the Westminster restaurants:
"Mice running all over dining room..disgusting been that way for six years I have been here.*shudders* shld be paying us to eat here"
Erm, we are, you silly old sausage!