Thursday, April 24, 2014

If we want to like our MPs again, change the system

I have contributed another opinion column to the Leicester Mercury.

I was asked to write something on MPs' expenses in the wake of the Maria Miller case. But, as you will see, I ended up arguing that expenses are not at the root of our problems with our politicians these days:
There is a terrible lack of big ideas in British politics today. 
Voters sense this and that politics is now just one more career. And a very exclusive career it is, because knowing the right people is paramount. 
The typical path to becoming an MP these days is an Oxbridge degree followed by working for one of the parties or as a special adviser at Westminster. 
The troop of children of ministers in Tony Blair's government getting themselves selected for safe Labour seats at the moment represent the logical culmination of this trend.
There is a good Bagehot piece on a similar theme in The Economist this week.


John M said...

I know what you mean by Labour children and no doubt the Tories will play on that.
I would add we seem to be at a stage in politics where if you've been in government you carry round baggage and can't be a credible person for re election.

James said...

And you could add, who in their right mind would aspire to be an MP when they are vilified as corrupt(rightly or wrongly) and seen as generally lower than vermin by the majority of the populace. Futher to this, what are the Liberal Democrats at a local level doing to address this trend??