Parliament is “too Middle Class” says Miliband

February 1, 2013 9:26 am

In an interview with The House Magazine, Ed Miliband talked about his plans to get a more representative and diverse Parliament – especially in terms of making it less Middle Class:

“What you are going to see from us this year, as we select our candidates now the boundaries are settled, as we target those 100 or so seats for the General Election, is a party reaching out to all parts of the country but also a party that’s going to get people from all backgrounds: business people; I want more people who are military and ex-military, like Dan Jarvis, in the Party. People from all class backgrounds because frankly I think Parliament is too middle class and doesn’t have that diversity that it needs to have.”

Eagle-eyed readers will remember the story that we broke at Labour Party conference last year, when it was revealed that the party will now be taking class into account as party of its selection rules.

  • Daniel Speight

    Yes he said this last year. Now we want to see it in action. The NEC has used the shortlist process to make the PLP so middle-class. Now let’s see it do the exact opposite. There’s enough Oxbridge PPEs, bag carriers, think tankers, NGOers, red princes and assorted apparatchiks. Labour doesn’t really need anymore. (OK, maybe one for Hampstead to replace Glenda.)

    • ColinAdkins

      Daniel congratulations you have summarised what I have been banging on about for a number of years in one concise paragraph. I would like to hone it down to doing something about the pre-emminence of the products of Oxbridge (25% of current MPs and rising). Members are cynical about candidates making the case for greater diversity which ends up as female products of Oxbridge getting the same preferential treatment as male products of Oxbridge.

  • JC

    Rather than using class as a measurement (which we refuse to define anyway), I’d like to see more candidates coming from factories, offices etc. We’ve had enough of local government, law, party employees and so on. How about a few people who’ve run small companies?

  • Chilbaldi

    Encouraging that Ed really seems to be talking the talk re making it more difficult for wonky SPAD types from the selection process. It can only be a good thing. Though lets do this the right way – by opening out the process, making it transparent, and having no favours from party HQ, rather than by imposing discriminatory shortlists.

    • Daniel Speight

      I suspect it’s going to need some positive discrimination. The middle class careerists are now so firmly embedded inside the party that help will be needed to stop them cloning themselves again. To me this is a far bigger problem than the number of women in the PLP.

      • Redshift1

        All-Local Shortlists would prevent the well-heeled careerists from seat-seeking all over the country until they find one they can win. This would give some good space in some selections to candidates from far more ordinary backgrounds.

        • ColinAdkins

          Redshift this is an appealing position but does not take into account that people are more mobile these days. I have asked this question of ‘localist’ on many occassions and never received an answer. I was born in Germany (I ‘chose’ a Dad who was in the forces), moved to Canterbury, Wembley, Edgeware, Germany, Ballykinlar (Northern Ireland), Merton and then Morden when my Dad retired from the forces. I then went to University in Colchester also living in nearby Wivenhoe, leaving to live in Balham, Harlesden, Willesden and then Streatham. I fell in love and moved to Wrexham, North Wales where I currently reside. I consider myself a South Londoner because my Dad was from Balham and my Mum from Woolwich. Where would I be a local candidate?

          • Kokopops

            True, it’s a bit difficult in your situation….or it can mean you have a wide array of seats you could stand in, if you choose to do so!!

            I’m not from a military family so can’t really put myself in your position but is there no one place or two where you feel is “home” right now and before?

          • Redshift1

            It depends on how this was implemented, but it could be you need to have lived there for 3 years (for example). That would allow a good number to claim locality (because the 3 years wouldn’t necessarily have to be the last 3 years) without allowing people to calculate ‘that seat’s worth a punt, I’ll move there 6 months before the selection’.

            I am guessing of course you’ve lived in at least one place for over 3 years at some stage!

        • Kokopops

          The idea of all-local shortlist is fine in principle but how is that going to stop parachutes settling in a Consitituency before the selection meeting.

          Looking at Anna Turley (PPC for Redcar) – she was living in Islington not that long before the Redcar Selection meeting but managed to find a property in the constituency in the nick of time and claim the ‘local candidate’ tag in the meeting.

    • ColinAdkins

      Chilbaldi,
      I think I have told you of my story regarding baiting the SpAds at a reception I attended thrown by Gordon Brown.
      The point I should also add is that stories of people making it onto the short-list and then after being given the membership list to canvass find the NECs favourite had stolen on march on them by getting there many days before are too numerous to ignore.
      Further the most scandalous example when the Party nomenklatura at a dinner thought it would be a good idea for the pollists daughter to get a seat was in part supported by an ex-general secretary of the Party running her campaign.
      Colin

      • Chilbaldi

        That was the old Labour Party trick wasn’t it? Give the preferred candidate the membership list before anyone else. I once spoke about this to a current MP who ran for selection against such a favoured party HQ candidate. He was aware of the dirty tricks, so took special measures to ensure he wasn’t messed around with the membership lists and the like – I think by actually getting a law firm involved.

        He won a close selection fight and the rest is history. But it could have been so different had the Labour fix worked.

        Don’t get me started on the 22 year old ex pollster’s daughter attempted fix.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          Or have a candidate stay with the sitting MP when seeking selection and have access to all their resources….

          • Chilbaldi

            Yes Mike, the Luciana Berger situation wasn’t the best.

    • http://twitter.com/AdamTyndall Adam Tyndall
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  • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

    First and foremost, we need to end, quickly, the fetish for University > Researcher > MP. They simply do not have enough real world experience to contribute anything other than theory. And the absence of experience opens the doorway to dogma, and you end up with a parliament of lightweights. Having said that, these types do not sum up ‘middle class’ representation in Parliament.

    Beyond that, as far as I can see wee have plenty of people who are able to identify the problems, but very few who are able to offer genuine solutions. I don’t care what class you’re from, or what sex/sexuality/race/faith you’re from – I just want you to be able to help fix the problems of the country without lazily chucking money at everything or spending your day slagging off your opponents. I want people with a track record of fixing problems to go into Parliament and help the country it serves. I don’t think it’s too much to ask!

    • ColinAdkins

      Jonathan I am slightly biased because I come from that background but trade unions used to supply many candidates. During my years working for MSF/Amicus I worked on industrial policy/science policy/defence diversification based on the practical experience of thousands of working people.There was significant change during the Blair years when the people you describe proliferated.

      • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

        Hi Colin, I don’t deny the trade union movement has the capacity to provide good candidates. But I do think the Union block vote in selection processes also has the capacity to cause its own problems.

        As far as I can see, to be selected you have to have cosied up to the right people and been able to give an eloquent speech at the hustings that lists your Labour CV and talks about how evil the other lot are. In any other job interview, that would get you nowhere.

        CLP members have a duty in my view to provide more scrutiny of potential candidates. It’s not good enough to be able to highlight the problems, or show that they have experience of those problems. What have they done in their career to demonstrate they know how to provide solutions? What areas of policy do they understand best and how has that knowledge been acquired? Can they actually help people, or can they just be sympathetic? And when solutions are proposed, are they feasible or just wishful thinking?

        • ColinAdkins

          I am with you on the undemocratic exercise of the block vote but we are talking about potential sources of candidates. Please rest assured I have no aspirations to become a MP but if you read a pamphlet I wrote with the civil service scientific union and the academic scientific union you will see many of our proposals were adopted by the hardly radical Lord Sainsbury. Likewise MSF banged on about short-termism and the dangers of putting too many economic eggs in the financial services basket over ten years before the crash happened. I

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            I do think part of the problem is the entire process of getting a winnable seat. Its soi much about making the contacts and having the time to cultivate a constituency. What job other than SpAD or researcher would facilitate this? The average party member up here wouldn’t have a chance of making those sort of links

          • ColinAdkins

            I agree Mike but I think it is more to do with the centre only recognisiing your pontential if you hold such a position and then shoe-horning you into seats.

          • Chilbaldi

            Mike I think you are scarred by the Luciana Berger situation – a completely understandable way to be given the circumstances!

            She got in to Liverpool Wavertree by ruthlessly cultivating contacts nationally. It’s amusing seeing the people she “got to know”, whether Sion Simon, Euan Blair, or the entire LFI. Of course she happened upon Jane Kennedy, not someone I thought was much of a power broker, and the rest is history.

            So that was very particular circumstances. I think for the most part its as Colin describes it – people attending London talks and conferences, getting to know party figures, and being ‘trusted’ as a familiar face before getting shoe-horned in somewhere.

    • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

      “I want people with a track record of fixing problems”

      Unless their name happens to be Ken Livingstone.

      • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

        I also look for a certain adherence to ethical and moral practices amongst politicians – both in and out of office. As I made clear at the time.

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  • AlanGiles

    We have heard it all before, and no doubt will hear it again, but actions speak louder than words, and I am afraid on this, as on so many other issues, Ed Miliband will not be effective. He is too timid – anything for a quiet life. Lets face it, if a just-about-average employee came to you and said, in effect, if a job at so-and-so comes up, I shall be leaving here, because I’d prefer to be there, what would you do?. Myself, I would say thank you for your honesty, and as it is obvious you are not happy here, I will accept your resignation now. Miliband didn’t even have the courage to do that when Liam Byrne did the same thing to him last year. “One nation” and all the rest of it are just words. His never at a loss for a phrase or a soundboute, but there is no substance there.

    • aracataca

      But Alan you have told us numerous times on here that the electorate should support a party that has as its leaders the daughters of millionaire businessmen – both of whom have been exclusively educated in top private schools.Furthermore this party had the chance to elect a working class candidate as its leader in 2012 but chose instead to endorse a Guardianista. You will of course know which party I am talking about and they are IMHO the most middle class party of the lot.

      Recently this site ran articles on our PPCs for both Great Yarmouth and Carlisle
      (both winnable seats) but you chose not to remark on these selections. These selections indicate that the party is moving on this issue ( IMHO) yet you say that its all soundbite from EM on this matter.

      • AlanGiles

        we all know about your fetish for Ms Lucas and Ms Bennett of the Greens. Of course, I could point you in the direction of Harriet Harman, if you want to play your rather childish game.

        But if Miliband means what he says, strange how the Asato woman got selected and other chums in very short “short lists”

        I like the way you use “IMHO” – do you know what the third letter in that four means?. this from the man who has posted under three names in the past couple of years.

        • aracataca

          But you accept that Labour’s candidates for Carlisle and Great Yarmouth have markedly different backgrounds from Ms Bennett and Ms Lucas? Doesn’t that distinction rather devalue your suggestion that the party is just paying lip service to this issue?

          • AlanGiles

            If I remember, it was the leader of the Labour party who made the remarks about Parliament being too middle class – not the Greens. To take your absurd argument to it’s logical conclusion would you like to see Ms Harman replaced as MP in her constituency?. And how about the numerous posh boys on the front bench who are there courtesy Oxbridge?

            You need to put your own house in order before telling other small parties what to do. You sneer at Ms Bennett having worked for the “Guardian” for example, but you seem quite relexaed about the M iliband boys writing for The Sun. A typical example of your double standards, and your rather baffling fear of the Greens.

          • aracataca

            Labour needs to get its message across through as many publications as it can including The Sun. However, the positions of EM and Natalie Bennet are not interchangeable here. You will of course know that Natalie Bennet was employed by the Guardian in a lucrative editorial position at a time when that paper advised people to vote Fib Dem. Not something to be particularly proud of in the light of current events perhaps?

            We can perhaps agree that there should be more working class MPs. There is demonstrable evidence that Labour is addressing, and has addressed, this issue (see the PPCs for both Carlisle and Great Yarmouth for instance). Conversely there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the Green Party ( a party for which you have expressed enthusiastic support for on here) has, or is going to, address this matter either at the present time or indeed any time soon.

          • AlanGiles

            I repeat, it was not the Greens who went on about having too many middle class MPs. It was Ed Miliband Labour. And this after people like Asato have been found nice safe berths.

            It wasn’t the Greens who said “Horny-handed sons of toil are not needed [as prospective MPs] by New Labour. That was Peter Mandelson, and I doubt his snobbery has changed in 15 short years.

            The Greens have ONE MP Bill. It is not her or the parties fault that she is in your terms “posh”. As I said before Ms Harman hardly had a secondary modern schooling, Keith Vaz sounds more pompous with every day that passes, as he pontificates (and we all remember his problems back in 2001 don’t we – do you recall, when he went literally mute in the general election campaign, due to some financial embarrassment) and … well, whats the point. You have this irrational fear of the Green party, a rather pathetic stance for somebody who seems to think labour has the answer to everything. Frankly if you are good example of Labour 2012 I am glad I am no longer a member. This obsequious “m party right or wrong” nonsense is ridiculous.

            By the way as it is Sunday, as a special treat could we have one day without your “hilarious” FibDem “joke”. Please?

          • aracataca

            I think that’s an acceptance that the Green Party is not going to try to stand more working class candidates in Parliamentary seats that it contests next time – thanks for that Alan.

            On the Fib Dem issue sorry Alan no can do- I shall continue to call contemptible Clegg and his deceitful chums the Fib Dems seven days a week – 52 weeks a year.

          • AlanGiles

            The Greens have one seat, at Brighton Pavillion. If they are lucky they might retain it. If they are extra lucky they might win one more seat in 2015. That you are so paranoid, you are so peevish and resentful about this, it says rather a lot about you, and how frankly small minded you are. Your inability to stop the Fib Dem joke merely confirms the poverty of your intellect.

          • aracataca

            Thanks for the insults again Alan. As I have stated countless times I am not remotely frightened of the Green Party but I do see them as offering a political cul de sac. The only reason that I mention them in relation to yourself Alan is that while you come across as a political iconoclast in the main (which is of course and very easy and politically lazy position to adopt) you have sung the praises of the Green Party numerous times on here. However, (IMHO) it is time for leftists to face up to a few home truths about the Green Party- one of which is that it is an almost exclusively middle class party.

          • AlanGiles

            I have never made any secret of the fact that I think the Green Party has some good ideas (they also have some very impractical and crass ones as well, which I have also pointed out). Labour also have some pretty bad ideas as well, and it is interesting that some of those who implemented the bad ideas, and cultivated bad personal habits (i.e. expenses swindling) remain in the shadow cabinet, or else in positions of authority (e.g. Vaz).

            Are you suggesting class war than as a motif for the next election?. I should be very careful doing that because as I have pointed out there are some pretty well-off posh Labour candidates. No doubt despite what Miliband said last week if Euan Blair or Georgia Gould fancy having a bash in 2015 somewhere nice and “safe” will be found for them.

            As for Natalie Bennett, at least she has a science degree and Caroline Lucas, the sole Green MP has not disgraced herself in the manner of, say, Hazel Blears and Jacqui Smith did. Two right old troughers.

            If you are not frit of the Greens you should just ignore them if they don’t appeal to you. Your constant revelations about my interest in the Green Party sound hysterical. You would think i was supporting the BNP or EDL.

            You might do well to remember that the Greens have more in common with traditional Labour voters than half the shower who currently sit on Labours front and back benches.

          • JoblessDave

            How are you two not back on moderation?

          • aracataca

            Natalie Bennet’s old school charges A$23,000 per year. Woman of the people Alan? Methinks not. While Caroline Lucas’ school charges between £30,000 and £33,000 per year for year 12 pupils. Again, woman of the people? The working class and leftish candidates in last year’s leadership race, namely Peter Cranie and Romayne Phoenix were annihilated in that election. Instead the Greens chose the editor of Guardian Weekly who lives in Camden.

            I am not a fan of Jacqui Smith and obviously I have never defended abuse by MPs of the Parliamentary expenses system. However, the party has clearly moved forward and I would hazard a guess in saying that neither of these two women exercise significant influence over policy development in the current era. JS appears especially interested at present in hawking herself around the studios of the BBC – a sure sign that she is definitely out of the policy loop.

            With respect to your recurrent refrain that I am a defender of the party wrong or right-this is clearly incorrect. For instance, as a convinced Keynesian I am opposed to any austerity at all during the current period of zero economic growth. This clearly diverges from current party policy although I am pleased to say that a kind of Keynesianism prevails in the Shadow Treasury team. It needs to be more clearly stated (IMHO). I am also a strong Republican- again you won’t find many in the party hierarchy echoing that particular position.

            It really is time to accept Alan that we have moved on from New Labour and that there are going to be two choices in the next Parliament, either a Tory (led) government or a Labour (led) government. There aren’t any other realistic options on offer. Policy for the latter of these options remains unformed and you like everyone else should be constructively involved in forming it.

          • AlanGiles

            “Natalie Bennet’s old school charges A$23,000 per year. Woman of the
            people Alan? Methinks not. While Caroline Lucas’ school charges between
            £30,000 and £33,000 per year for year 12 pupils. Again, woman of the
            people?”

            IF you ust continue this absurd game, perhaps you would care to tell us how much the late Leo Blair paid for Tony Blair’s education at Fettes (and come to that what Blair fils paid for his childrens education), or what Ms Harman’s parents paid for hers.

            I don’t think that neither Ms Bennett nor Ms Lucas have ever claimed to be “women of the people”. It is the likes of Miliband who makes so much of his “comprehensive school”, conveniently forgetting the other bits.

            I never believed the “Red Ed” nonsense and said so. To me the Miliband boys are more influenced by The Marx Brothers than Karl Marx (though their laboured one liners are nowhere near so funny).

            Labour has not changed much: we still have the Balls in the shadow cabinet, we still have Liam Byrne in it, still making a great deal of noise about the one small part of the Coalition post-Freud welfare reforms he doesn’t agree with, all the while wishing he could have been the Mayor of the second city, so committed is he. We still have many of the old faces from the Blair/Brown years in the shadow cabinet, though some of them are so mute they might as well not be there. We have Stephen Twigg, God help us, ageing poster boy of 1997 trying to be all things to all people at education and sounding confused and confusing. Sadly we still have Andy Burnham wanting “competition” in the NHS and still so proud of his NHS Global (though he is not so keen on the Coalitions copy of it). In short, Labour hasn’t changed. the rhetoric has changed, the crocodille tears for what Purnell started has turned into wails of outrage. They still support Trident’s replacement, and they meekly plod along in the Coalitions footsteps, just muttering the words “too far, too fast” while making it clear that they would continue the cuts (Alistair Darling has said he would have gone further).

            Of course Labour or Conservative will win the next election, and will either have a small majority or will have to enter into a coalition – probably with the LibDems. Just how far Labour has “changed”, well we will all have to wait till 2014/15 when chief decorator Jon Crudas has finally put the final coat of gloss on the redecorating project – but it will be a decorating job, not a full-scale refurbishment. For Labour to do that it would require a leader with a real thirst for action, not just words. Crudas might be a clever man, but he is more at ease with thinking rather than doing. mEanwhile we have to take all these words on trust. And that is my problem, I don’t trust them.

            Menwhile – with your permission, of course – as I am not convinced Labour has changed that much from the Blair/Brown years, I will vote either for the Greens, if there is a candidate in my constituency, or if not for the NHS party. If they are not standing (though given the very serious problems we have in Havering – our local hospital is frequently in the press and seen on TV, I suspect they will). Of course, it is only a gesture, but why shouldn’t principle come into it?. Just because politicians of all three main parties don’t seem to know what principles are, it doesn’t mean to say some of us do.

            I was never taken in by Cameron’s “Greenest government ever” any more than I was by Blair’s “my government will be purer than purer” rubbish. But Ed Miliband, the great reformer? – it’s a good job you can fool some of the people all, or even, some of the time: Miliband would have a big fight on his hands to produce his “one nation” and the evidence is he couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag.

            I am delighted for you that you think Labour has changed so much, and I wouldn’t dream of trying to influence you or anyone else to vote one way or the other, but you will not change my mind, so may I respectfully suggest this long and tedious discussion ends at this point. If all you have for ammunition against the Greens is the education of two of it’s members, it is a very shallow argument indeed. Are you jealous of their education, perhaps?. I went to a secondary modern, but I left it years ago and I have no ill-will against those of my contemporaries who went on to grammar school. I did a lot more interesting and useful things after I left school: , but I seriously would advise you to stop making attacks on these women because of their education and family wealth – glass houses and all that. If you use that tactic you might well find your opponents will dig a bit deeper into the wealth and background of some of your own representitives, and that might prove embarrassing.

          • aracataca

            Vote for who you like Alan. You could also comment on the Green Party’s blog site. Oh sorry they don’t have one and if they did I’m not entirely sure they would allow me to put my views across on it. As you’re such an enthusiastic supporter of the Greens you could also perhaps join the Green Party and participate in their internal elections but of course only 25.1% participated in the annihilation of leftists Cranie and Phoenix during the leadership election last year. Why engage in repeated negative and frequently abusive attacks on our Party through our blog site? What’s the point of that? Any suggestion that it is a deliberate attempt to undermine and demoralise Labour activists is,and must remain, pure speculation as is my wife’s suggestion that you’re a ‘concerns’ Tory troll posing as a Green. But I do wonder what the point of constantly abusing a party, its activists and its leadership through its premier blogsite is?

          • AlanGiles

            Bill, with all due respect, I care very little what you think of me. I care even less what “Mrs. aratacata” thinks about me. If you or she wants to believe I am a Tory, then believe it.

            As a member of the Labour Party for decades until just a few years ago I think I have as much right to talk about my disappointment at the way things have drifted in the past few years as you are to enthusiastically endorse it: this “one nation” nonsense for example: If Labour had REALLY wanted “one nation” or at least to make a start the time to do it was 1997 and 2001 when there were two landslides. No party is likely to get those sort of landslides again for decades (if ever). they missed the chance in 97 and the second chance in 2001, because Mandy didn’t like the idea of working class candidates, and Blair preferred to ingratiate himself with the rich and powerful. Much as I disliked Blair he had a stronger personality than Miliband and if he couldn’t or wouldn’t (more likely) do it, then a lightweight like Ed Miliband is even less likely to.

            Promise too much and all that will happen is that even more people will become disillusioned with politicians. Win the next election and fail to deliver this much trumpeted “one nation” and you will probably end up a one-term government like the coalition currently looks like doing.

            My regards to your wife, but as she, nor you, know me or my life, times and circumstances, then your speculation is just so much balderdash.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            But journalists often work for papers which don’t reflect their politics. Particularly a paper like the Guardian which isn’t committed to one party.
            And what paper advocated voting Green? Its a very silly way of criticising her.

  • Amber_Star

    Taking class into account is a fine idea but how will we define class? The address at which you live? What your occupation is? What your educational background is?

    • ColinAdkins

      Your make a mute point but whilst we are working this out why don’t we as an interim measure have Oxbridge free shortlists. The blessed of these institutions make up 25% of current MPs (and rising). I believe some of the negative features of Parliament derive from MPs conducting themselves in the manner of the debating houses – the so-called unions – of these institutions.

      • http://twitter.com/AdamTyndall Adam Tyndall

        “Why don’t we as an interim measure have Oxbridge free shortlists?” Perhaps because this would unnecessarily exclude some of the brightest and best in the Labour movement. I fully support attempts to make the PLP more representative of the country as a whole but such a crude measure would merely be a case of cutting off our nose to spite our face.

        • AlanGiles

          “Perhaps because this would unnecessarily exclude some of the brightest and best in the Labour movement.”

          Adam “brightest and best” does not necessarily mean such people can empathise with “ordinary” people, or they have any practical skill or knowledge. It is all very well for an Oxbridge MP to talk about everything from health and industry to defence and welfare, but if they have garnered all their knowledge from textbooks, lectures and dissertations, though they might understand the problem in an academic way, it doesn’t follow that they have the necessaery skills to look for and find solutions.

          I am not thinking specifically of Labour politicians, but I have heard a few from all parties, described as the “best brains of their generation” and when they hold forth on programmes like Any Questions, though they might appear to have great knowledge and erudition, it is quite apparent they have no personal or practical knowledge of what it is they think they are expert in.

          As one of my instructors put it to me (too) many years ago “An ounce of practice is worth a pound of theory”

        • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

          I don’t see that it would “unnecessarily exclude some of the brightest and best”. There will always be a place for the Oxbridge “brightest and best” within every political party. But parties that seek to represent the concerns of ordinary people should ensure the availability of representational opportunities for the brightest and best without regard to Oxbridge attendance.

        • ColinAdkins

          Sorry I do not agree they are so dominant in intellect. All the best undergraduates do not go to Oxbridge. They are not universally best in everything they do. And I agree with Alan’s points about academic knowledge and practical knowledge. I had the misfortune to play the Red Menace football team containing the Milibands, Purnell, Burnham (a nice bloke), Richards (Ofcom), Allan (super-annuated influence peddler), Collins (Blair speechwriter) and some more. Burnham aside a more arrogant and conceited bunch of individuals you wouldn’t wish to meet. They were preferentially shoe-horned into advisor positions which gave them the opportunity to reach the positions they now reside and in doing so opportunity was denied to far more talented individuals. 25% of MPs come from Oxbridge whilst less than 1% of the voting age population have been through these institutions doors. This has nothing to do with meritocracy but networks promoting ‘their own’. Look also at the judiciary, senior civil service jobs, the BBC etc etc. Is it any wonder the freemasons are in decline when you can wear the old college scarf instead of having to roll your trouser legs up?

          • Chilbaldi

            high five Colin.

  • NT86

    It’s not just class that’s vital. But we also need MP’s from a diverse range of occupational backgrounds who understand the needs of people like themselves and even how a particular department should be run. Professional politicians, think-tank researchers, bankers and lawyers are excessively represented across Parliament.

    What about the scientists, engineers, small business owners? Or even those who work in minimum wage jobs like sales assistants or admin workers?

    • ColinAdkins

      Hear hear. Don’t forget journos who also proliferate.

    • aracataca

      For example, Labour’s PPC for Carlisle perhaps?

  • Leon

    How about SpAds and researchers who come from working class backgrounds? As a party we should look at where people’s backgrounds, not their present status, to determine if they are working class or not.

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  • Chilbaldi

    Or Rachel Reeves oddly moving from her prestigious Bank of England job to Hbos in Leeds – though I don’t know the details of that selection I admit.

    Or that Greatrex fellow moving from London to Scotland to a seat with a retirement age MP.

  • ColinAdkins

    Kokopops what about my point above your posting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    I would suggest that a good idea would be to ban anyone who has ever lived or worked in London, other than for London seats. If this was done for the remainder of vacant seats I think the change in candidate profile would be considerable

    • ColinAdkins

      Mike,
      I’ve posted on this basis about ten times to localists or regional chauvinists depending on my mood but no one has ever replied. I was born in the Germany (my Dad was in the army), moved to Canterbury, Wembley, Edgeware, Germany, Ballykinlar, Tidworth, Merton, Morden then went to university in Colchester including living in Wivenhoe, and after leaving lived in Balham, Willesden, Harlesden and Streatham, before falling in love and moving to Wrexham. Where would I be a local candidate?
      Fine but I think you will find more northerners and celts in London and southern seats than Londoners in northern seats so the ban should work both ways.
      Colin

      • Brumanuensis

        Yours is a very unusual situation though; most people will have an area that they are clearly attached to, although that may not necessarily be their area of birth.

        • ColinAdkins

          Mine is Balham (Peter Sellers ‘gateway to the south’) where my Dad was born and I have fond memory visiting his mother particularly when he was posted abroad and we returned home to visit family. I also support a South London football team – AFC Wimbledon. Fat chance of someone living in Wrexham making a bid for a Sarf London seat and fat chance of a Sarf Londoner getting a seat in Wales. Lucky I have no ambitions in this regard.
          My basic point is that people are much more mobile these days. Further people blame Londoners for getting all the seats when I do not believe this can be evidenced. I once looked at how many MPs with Celtic names were in English seats. There are a lot so it is not an issue for us, wheras in Scotland being English would be an issue at the selection. The SNP talk of the UK Government in London. Under the last Labour Government as a Londoner I did not feel particularly empowered by the fact that northerners and celts run the government from my city so this one cannot be hung on us and I resent attempts to do so.

  • http://twitter.com/ElliotBidgood Elliot Bidgood

    A dead-on summary of the fantastic Andy Burnham’s background, I’d note.

    • ColinAdkins

      Elliott I agree with you on Andy but 25% of MPs drawn from Oxbridge is far too high for my liking.

  • Dave Postles
  • ColinAdkins

    Kokopops, The last five or six moves were after my Dad left the army. That is the point people are more mobile these days. I see myself as a Sarf Londoner (my Dad hails from Balham and my Mum Woolwich). It would be difficult to get a South London seat from Wrexham and have you seen a Londoner stand in a seat in Wales. Fortunately I have no such ambitions. Colin

  • Redshift1

    Obviously a good practical point. BUT we do set all kinds of time rules already. 6 months membership before you can vote in a selection for example. You could quite easily say that you have to have lived in the constituency for a total of x years. In fact you could even allow the CLP to define their own definition of locality (e.g. perhaps its a town/city with two CLPs in, they might regard someone from the one next door as local too).

  • markfergusonuk

    They are a whisker away – and they can both consider this a final warning. I won’t hesitate to moderate either without warning in future.

  • uglyfatbloke

    ColinAdkins…more power to your elbow, As a service child I don’t really come from anywhere, so I could never be a ‘local’ candidate – and many years ago I could n’t be selected for the local Grammar School because it ‘was n’t for navy children’.
    OTH beware the ‘Celtic names’ thing. Cameron and Blair have Scottish names, but they are as English as cricket. Also there are a good few English MSPs at Holyrood – in fact I think only the Tories and Greens don’t have English MSPs – it’s really not an issue here, whatever the Telegraph and the mail might say.
    NT86…could n’t agree more. The professional entry MPs have n’t actually done a very good job,.

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