Torah For Today: MPs having multiple jobs

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Torah For Today: MPs having multiple jobs

Rabbi Ariel Abel takes a topical issue and looks at an Orthodox response

Rabbi Ariel Abel

Rabbi Ariel Abel is based in Liverpool

In ancient Israel, there were two senior public offices in civilised society invested with powers to assist the functionaries who occupied those posts: the Levitical priesthood and the Royal House.

The principle governing these differentiated roles is that no person from the House of Priesthood ought to occupy the throne of Israel.

This was clearly designed to set a limit on the extent of power held by both the clergy and the secular authority. The separation of Church and state is one modern effect of such an approach.

Another effect is the separation of power and influence and a third is to limit each public office to its specific job. Any distraction from the all-consuming task of public service can be fatal to its efficiency and can even invite corruption.

Hence, the Torah plainly states that a king of Israel must not have too much money. Money-earning, especially when in a public role, is best discouraged.

MPs should be paid well enough that they can carry out their role with no money worries at all while serving in Parliament. To save public money, income could be means-tested, topping up MPs’ salaries beyond what they
may already earn – from private pensions and also adjusted to reflect
the cost of living in their constituency.

Regarding expenses, instead of having to fear making claims, it would be preferable that MPs be granted a generous ‘use it or lose it’ budget for reasonably foreseeable expenses related to their role, such as entertaining dignitaries and representatives.

Public accounting of the entertaining budget for palace costs was made even of King Solomon, and published in the Bible, for us to read nearly three millennia later!

  •   Rabbi Ariel Abel CF works at Liverpool Legal, a legal practice in Liverpool associated with E Rex Makin & Co Solicitors

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