This week I watched an irked civilian railing off his displeasure at Boris Johnson writing for the Telegraph and getting paid for it. I think everyone, politicians included are entitled to some time off and they should spend that free time however they choose to. If Boris chooses to write in his free time, so be it. If someone is willing to pay him for it, even better. Why do I say this:
He’s not doing it during ‘business’ hours
If Boris is sat at his desk in City Hall writing articles I would take issue with that, even if it’s during his ‘lunch’ break. As a public servant it is his duty to serve the public from that office and doing anything else simply would not be right. However, I am reasonably confident that he does not do this.
It doesn’t take much time
As someone who has always enjoyed writing I know that when one is passionate about an issue you can write about it fluidly and rapidly, it does not take a lot of time.
It’s more transparent than other enterprises
People frequently take issue with politicians indulging in private enterprise. I too agree that there is only so much time in the day and if you’re in public office you need to rightly spend most of your time on that. Of the private enterprises that a politician might choose to undertake surely writing is one of the most transparent? We the public have access to the writing and can approximate how much time we believe it took Boris to get his feelings down.
We get to know Boris’s stance on various issues better
Through his writing we get a better feel for how Boris Johnson thinks and hence how suitable a mayoral candidate he is. Everything that Boris does that we can observe is an opportunity for us to vet him, articles included.
More tax pounds
Let’s trace the income that Boris makes from his column. For argument’s sake let’s call it £10,000 per contribution or about £500,000 per annum.
If the same £500,000 had ended up as operating profit, it would only incur the corporate tax rate of 30%, so just £150,000 would be returned to the taxpayer. I don’t know about you but I prefer the former to the latter. The faster we can wipe out the deficit, the better.
In conclusion, provided Boris pays his taxes and doesn’t spend office hours writing his articles, all things considered it’s beneficial to taxpayers and the voting public. Am I missing something here?