A week-or-so ago, a tweet of mine inadvertently caused a problem for a politician whom I like.

Ian Murray, the MP for my constituency of Edinburgh South, leafleted me. There’s nothing unusual there - when it comes to local contact, newsletters, emails, and so on, Murray is prolific. However this leaflet was different. It had almost no mention of his party, Labour. It carried a variety of endorsements from pro-UK and pro-EU institutions, to match Murray’s politics, and had personal endorsements from a range of people including the widow of former Labour leader John Smith. But mentions of his party were hard to find.

None of this was particularly surprising. Murray is a known Jeremy Corbyn-sceptic, and here in Edinburgh South, one of Scotland’s wealthiest constituencies, Corbyn’s brand of full-fat 1970s socialism is not a viable USP.

Nonetheless as a political commentator, I found the leaflet fascinating, so I photographed it and tweeted it. I should have known better. Twitter is not a place for balanced, nuanced political commentary. It is an almost entirely binary world, and my post led to a cornucopia of abuse being heaped on to Murray from almost all corners.

READ MORE: Health Secretary Jeane Freeman will not rule out intervention over scandal-hit Glasgow hospital

Fast forward to the back end of last week, when Scotland’s Health Secretary Jeane Freeman was faced with demands for her resignation over the tragic death of a child as a result of an infection at Glasgow’s new children’s hospital in 2017, before she became heath secretary. When she learned of the case a couple of months ago, Freeman apparently decided not to publish details of it as a result of patient confidentiality - the sort of decision ministers across various portfolios will need to take every day.

Freeman is a very good Cabinet Secretary with solid executive-level experience and, having worked for a Labour first minister in the past, is not tribal like many others in politics. And she’s a good person, to boot. Tell me, how many other people in a "normal" workplace would face public calls to resign for making a judgment based on a service user’s confidentiality, with apparently no evidence that it was the wrong thing to do?

These events, with Murray (for which I was responsible) and with Freeman (for which I presume nobody is blaming me), led me to think, as I have done often hitherto, “who on earth would want to be a politician?”. An MSP earns just over £63,000; an MP such as Ian Murray ten-ish thousand more (but living in London). Now, this is a good salary in the context of the average national salary of around £25,000. However, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my MSPs to be average.

I certainly don’t want my cabinet secretaries to be average, and those like Freeman fetch more - just over £110,000. A good salary but, again, contextualised by the intensity and complexity of, for instance, running the state health service for the country and, as was on display last week, being held responsible for everything that goes wrong therein.

The level of expectation which modern Scotland and Britain has of its MSPs and MPs is huge. We expect them to be at every Parliamentary vote on every issue; to be at every committee meeting having read every paper; to simultaneously be at every local event and ribbon cutting; to attend community council meetings and be fully cognisant of every hyper-local issue in their constituency; to never miss a local surgery; to be intelligent enough to understand the detail of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement at the same time as being empathetic enough to understand the difficulties Mrs McNulty is experiencing while waiting for her hip replacement; to have a broad experience of work before becoming an MSP which ideally would including having worked in the NHS or at least the public sector, having worked in charities and also having run companies; and to do all these things under the spectre of daily, sometimes hourly, abuse on social media and, increasingly, in the street, with really very little ability to have a normal family life or, God forbid, to make a mistake.

In my 20-or-so years in and around politics, I have worked with many politicians and become close to many of them. I’m yet to meet a "slacker". These are people who work hard, long hours; commonly well in excess of 70 hours a week, often more.

People with all of these attributes are very hard to find. Despite the hours and the pay, we have some high calibre people, such as Freeman and Murray. However I would be the first to admit that they are probably the exception rather than the rule; in truth, not all politicians meet the criteria I have set out above. Because of that, I do understand why our politicians come in for criticism; I am often one of the critics. I take an internal judgment on a politician based on whether I think he or she would be capable of earning their salary in the private sector. Very many would. Some wouldn’t, both at Holyrood and Westminster.

So how might we fix this? How can we get the politicians we want? We can do something that a vanishingly small number of people want - increase the salaries of politicians. Specifically, in fact, I would double all of them, so that MSPs were making almost £130,000, ministers almost £200,000, cabinet secretaries nearly £225,000, and the first minister more than £300,000.

The is not a particularly acute financial issue; the cost to the nation would be almost unnoticeable because we are dealing with a very small number of people. But the benefits, I believe, would be immeasurable. There is no question, in my mind, that there are very many smart people who would like to be involved in politics but who are currently earning at or around the salary an MSP makes. Why, in their right mind, would they want to give themselves this substantial extra hassle for no financial benefit?

The prospect of earning almost £130,000 rather than less than £65,000 would be an entirely new metric on which people would make a career decision. We could, at a stroke, significantly expand the talent pool of candidates and politicians, leading to better politicians, with more experience, making better decisions and benefitting our lives. And we could take a step to ensuring that we stop losing some of the better ones that we currently have.

Jeane Freeman and Ian Murray show us that, even on current salaries, we have some people of real quality. However, they are in the minority, not the majority. So if you read this, look at your MSP, and think “they’re not up to the job”, I have a simple message for you: you get what you pay for.

Andy Maciver is Director of Message Matters