Do we need more working class MPs?

February 23, 2012 5:44 pm

  • Mr Chippy

    Of course we do. Start by taking positive action against the Oxbridge Lodge with 25% of MPs coming from these overrated institutions producing people with an inflated view of their own worth.

  • Robert_Crosby

    Obviously, the answer is ‘yes’.  At the very least, people with a bit more ‘life experience’ – and that doesn’t mean The City and ‘think tanks’ – would be a breath of fresh air.

    • treborc

      It’s going to be difficult when the labour leader says we are all middle class these days.

      • Robert_Crosby

        I think you’re confusing Miliband’s comments with some daft ones Mandelson made a while ago.  I’ve got no problem with middle-class people voting Labour – I’ll admit that on most people’s reckoning, I’m middle-class myself – but the balance has tipped too far and “working-class people” aren’t even getting the opportunities that they once did to show what they could do as Labour candidates (and then councillors and MPs). 

        • treborc

          We had an article on here which defined the idea of Middle class coming from Miliband’s office, whether we like it or not labour is the party now of the middle class , why? because it tells us it is.

        • AlanGiles

          Mandelson has always shown the most disgusting, snobbish tendencies, and if one person (other than Blair himself) made me the scourge of New Labour it was his remarks to Conference in 1997 – were they the ones you were thinking of,  Robert? – one of the unions had called a motion in support of the idea that working class candidates be fast-tracked to becoming prospective candidates (the party even then groaning under the weight of barristers, millionaires wives etc). Mandelson got up and said “The last thing New Labour needs is horny-handed sons of toil”.

          The motion was of course defeated, but what struck me that day was that not one of the cabinet – not even Clare – castigated Mandelson for his snobbish remarks, not at the time or in radio Tv or newspaper interviews. It struck me then that, at heart, New Labour, really despised the working class, though of course happy enough to take their money.

          Pride comes before a fall, a little more than a year later there was the Geoffrey Robinson loan and the dubious mortgage application, and that should have been the end of him, but as history shows, he was dragged back time and again, even becoming a Lord. I have to confess any respect I had for Gordon was lost the day he dragged that disgrace back.

  • Jeff_Harvey

    We certainly need much better Members of Parliament – wherever they come from.

  • AnotherOldBoy

    So Mrs Dromey should stand down?

  • JC

    All depends on what we mean by working class. We could take Marx, where there are those who need to work to live, or a sociological view where the middle classes are those who want to better themselves and the upper and lower sit on either side. 

    An alternative view is that we should require anyone who wants to be an MP to have worked in the private sector for 10 years before standing. I would support that. The reason I specified the private sector is that it is where the taxes are paid to support the public sector, so the candidates have some concern as to where their taxes are spend. The public sector, paid for out of tax revenue and borrowing does not generate taxes.

    While we’re at it, wouldn’t it be a good idea if they were required to have lived in the constituency or an adjacent one for 5 years as well?

    • Slakah

      Yeah because the public sector definitely don’t generate any taxes. Directly yes, indirectly it generates a lot of wealth, what do people drive on when going to work? Who taught the workforce fundamental skills and knowledge necessary for all jobs? Who treats your employee when he/she becomes ill? Who protects you from criminals? Who empties your bins?

      This idea that the private sector is self sufficient is frankly ludicrous, the private sector makes a hell of a lot of money because of critical support that the public sector gives their workforce.

      • JC

        The public sector is a cost. Large parts of it are an important, worthwhile cost, but it is still paid for out of private sector taxes. 

        To answer your comments:

        Roads are built by the private sector paid for out of tax revenue.
        Schools do not generally provide suitable knowledge and skills for work. More training than you would like to know is provided by business (and even within the public sector).
        Rest, see above. I do not claim that the private sector is self sufficient, just that it is the source of wealth to pay for the public sector. Where else does the money come from? If your job is funded by taxes, then you are not really paying income tax at all. This is not a criticism, just a comment.

        Someone with a background of only spending taxpayers money, and not being part of the system that generates it only sees part of the picture. I do not want my MP to believe that there’s always someone else who can pay for everything without being aware of who that someone else is.

  • Slakah

    By not accepting the stance that working class people are not sufficiently represented, David Amess has shown his contempt and inner belief that working class people are unable to lead as well as their middle class counterparts. Lack of appetite to change the the disparity in the commons, lack of appetite to change the demographics of journalism, the acceptance that Westminster is entirely run and controlled by middle class vested interests.

    • treborc

       yep, I think your spot on.

    • JC

      Slakah, How would you define the class structure? What defines the working class, and how is it different from the middle class?

      • Slakah

        Maybe invoking class in my comment was a bit short sited, as I continually struggle with how to define such a concept in modern Britain. I guess the main thrust of my criticism can be illustrated by the differing demographics of the UK as a whole and the houses of parliament. For example 7% of the population as a whole went to private school, compared to MPs where around a third attended private school. This certainly suggests a gulf between our rulers and the people of whom elected them. I would also suggest that these figures don’t necessarily show the magnitude of this divide, as there are undoubtedly many wealthy socialist parents who want their children to go to a good comp instead of an ‘evil’ fee paying school. From what I could find there doesn’t appear to be any research into the quality of the comp MPs went into and I would think only 1 or 2 will have come from a special measures school. This is an issue very close to my heart having been raised (now 20) in a special measures school in a deprived area. I really want the system to be changed so these people are no longer sidelined and accepts that their views are worthy of representation.

        P.S. Sorry that it took so long to reply.

        src: http://www.suttontrust.com/research/the-educational-backgrounds-of-mps/

  • Edwdwheatley

    If one could not be elected until one was – what ? Say 40.   This would hopefully cut out the cradle to grave career politician

  • Chilbaldi

    Ideally, Westminster should be a reasonable reflection of society. It should have intelligent people from all backgrounds. There should be more working class people in there, and more ethnic minorities. There should also be fewer Oxbridge graduates, unless we are convinced that Oxford and Cambridge do have the vast majority of intelligent people in this country, which I sincerely doubt that they do.

  • David MacDonald

    All three of our main political parties are now dominated by the same narrow section of society (be they men/women, heterosexual/homosexual, black/white). They tend to have a PEE or similar from Oxbridge, or wannabe Oxbridge, and it helps if daddy, mummy, auntie, uncle or big brother is a politico; then a year or two dabbling in some non-productive part of the public service, working as an adviser to a political party or with a sympathetic think tank; next to Parliament followed by a fast track into the cabinet or shadow cabinet.
     
     Consequently, almost without exception, our political leaders lack:
    Experience of industry, commerce, the NHS, the Armed Services or designing/making things.Little or no understanding of the lives of those of us who have to toil for our livings (this was illustrated by the MPs’ expenses scandal; most of us know, without having to be told, the difference between an honest and a dishonest expense claim).  When they become Ministers of the Crown (often in their thirties), they have no idea how to “make things happen” other than by passing literally thousands of unnecessary, contradictory unworkable and counterproductive laws.
     
    I’m not sure what “working class” means in 2012 but if it implies having held down an honest job with several years of achievement prior to becoming an MP then the answer must be yes.

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