So here is something that really got on my goat this week. Another case of poor choices made by our elected leaders. MPs have reportedly spent an astonishing £250,000 on painting of themselves since 1995. This information came out after a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request was made by the Evening Standard.
There is a quote here taken from the Telegraph, “Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “While the public might expect former prime ministers or speakers to be afforded the honor of a painting or bust in Parliament, it would certainly seem that the net is being cast increasingly wide when it comes to identifying subjects.”
I just want to say, that as a member of the ‘public’ I don’t expect it from any politician, not even those such as, lets say Clegg! Not even when the economy is doing ok but especially not during times of austerity, this whole thing is another case of how “we are all in it together” except those that aren’t in it at all.
The FOI says that between 1995 – 2000 just three MPs were chosen to be featured in a portrait, at an average cost of £3,375. That increased between 2000 -2005 when 11 members of parliament received the honor costing £7,180. This then increased to £9,300 in 2010.
“A House of Commons spokesman said: ‘The Parliamentary Art Collection at the House of Commons records those who have made a significant contribution to UK political life over the centuries and in each parliament the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art endeavours to update this record by adding to the contemporary portrait collection.
‘In recent years the annual budget for acquiring works of art for the collection has been reduced to reflect the need for savings in the current economic downturn. This is part of the House’s drive to reduce its overall cost by 17 per cent by 2014-15.”
Am I the only one questioning why they need an art collection in the first place?! And aiming to reduce it by 17%?! How about you scrap the whole “Art Collection” concept and invest that money back into things that real people want and need?! Our government needs to take a look at Pope Francis. (I’m not religious in the slightest by the way. I just think what he is doing to change perceptions is admirable. If you don’t know what I’m on about, look here)
The painting of Diane Abbot (Pictured above) is reported to have cost £11,750, and it doesn’t even look like her! There is even one of Iain Duncan Smith that set the taxpayer back £10,000, but the biggest insult in the whole thing was Dennis Skinner saying that by having a portrait made of himself, it was “Helping an out of work artist, get some work!” (How heroic of him!)
I tell you what Dennis, I am an artist in my spare time (as of today!) and I’m struggling to make ends meet on my salary, fancy chucking some cash my way and I will see what I can do. You wouldn’t get a painting from me mind you, because I’m sure I could put the £10,000 to better use helping the thousands of other people out there who are struggling to find work!
Here are some more works of art that made up some of the £250,000 bill.