Back-bench outrage forces government to throttle back “old-boy perks”

Back-bench outrage forces government to drop "old-boy perks"

It was described as “immoral and shameful”, and now, after a night of political wrangling, a proposal to renew “old boy perks” has bitten the dust – or at least been shoved unceremoniously onto the back burner.
In a nutshell, ruling PSD social democrats and PS counterparts nodded through a motion on Thursday, calling for an end to the block on “lifetime subsidies” for former ministers and high-ranking politicians.
Extraordinary as it may seem to thousands of pensioners who have seen their own “lifetime subsidies” docked irreparably – not to mention the millions of public sector workers who have lost their jobs of a lifetime – PSD and PS MPs did not seem to understand the controversy this proposal would generate.
Now, 24-hours on, the PSD politician, who jointly suggested it, has agreed, “in the name of good sense”, that it is very possibly best to let the whole thing drop.
As Expresso pointed out, it was the only way to stop an internal war. For even on Thursday, the voting saw some PSD as well as CDS coalition partners extremely uncomfortable.
As Left Bloc opponents were quick to point out, the proposal was “shameful”, and in no way acceptable in face of the swingeing cuts to the public sector meted out by the government in the name of austerity.
“Unacceptable” and “indecent” were two of the adjectives used by the Left Bloc’s firey Mariana Mortágua who was warned to watch her language by parliamentary president Assunção Esteves. But ironically almost exactly the same words were used by the PSD’s own vice-president Carlos Carreiras – currently Mayor of Cascais – who wrote on his Facebook page that the resuscitation of lifetime political subsidies would be “a colossal mistake” and the “worst example politicians could give Portuguese society”.
Indeed, the fact that it came in the same week that the government has been embroiled in yet another hugely embarrassing corruption scandal left many political commentators at a temporary loss for words.