Let's make Parliament more like us
I have occasionally ranted about MP’s in this blog and today will be no different.
|Houses of Parliament - where the lizards live|
A part of me thinks that anybody who actively wishes to enter politics should be excluded from entering politics, although I also appreciate that this is probably unlikely to happen.
One of my big problems with politics is the lack of real-world experience enjoyed by many MP’s these days whose career seems to involve a politics degree, followed by a few years as a researcher for an MP or working at party HQ followed by standing for election themselves. These people have absolutely no idea how their policies work in the real, everyday world that the rest of us inhabit.
I’m sure that most of them aren’t the evil world-domination lizard types dressed in human skin that they often appear to be… although I am sure some are actual lizards in human skin. I’m sure some go into politics because they want to better the world and help people. Most seem to regard the political fight portrayed in shows like The Thick of It as their job, rather than their job being to make the lives of ordinary people better.
At the moment Ed Milliband is embroiled in a tedious battle with his own party over funding of the Labour party. I don’t pretend to understand all the ins and outs of it and I care even less. Many people couldn’t give a monkey’s whatsit about this battle between Ed and the unions. Why is he fighting it? Why doesn’t he tell Dave to sod off and mind his own business about how the Labour party is funded and produce some actual policies to fight the Tory’s with? I can only imagine that he and the rest of the party leadership are so caught up in the act of politics that they have forgotten the point of politics.
How can we put the idea of career politicians to sleep and bring back representation by people with actual experience of living in the world? I have a couple of ideas.
First, MPs would not be allowed to serve more than two-consecutive terms as MPs unless they reach cabinet level and were in cabinet at the end of their second-term. Cabinet members would be allowed a maximum of three consecutive terms on the basis that they may have developed some expertise. There would be a mandatory five-year break after any MP left Parliament before they could stand for election again.
Secondly, I would require the party machines to be run more like the civil service with career politicos working to provide a support system for MPs rather than being MPs themselves. Anybody employed by political parties (and subsidiaries of parties) would be banned from standing for Parliament for five-years from the date they left that employment (and of course while employed).
I think that this would force political parties to select candidates from people outside the Westminster bubble and thus increase the skill set of those sitting in Parliament.
Incidentally, I’d also scrap the reforms of the House of Lords and keep the upper chamber as a reviewing body filled with appointees. Again, nobody employed by a political party or a former MP would be eligible to sit in the Lords for five-years after leaving their employment/the Commons. I don’t see how electing even more politicians is going to increase accountability when a) the Lords isn’t really that powerful; and b) only a tiny number of votes actually make a difference in General Elections anyway – if you don’t live in a marginal constituency your vote counts for nothing.