If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The ATTAM* Party

*All Things To All Men

So, the Labour Shadow Cabinet is full of policy wonks, people who have never held down a real job in their lives. And the Conservative Cabinet is much the same, albeit slightly more encouraging with a few Directorships. So, how is the party that will promise anything to anybody faring?

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
Aid co-ordinator
European Commission
Policy adviser

Vince Cable, Business Secretary
Special adviser
Chief Economist for Shell

Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change
City entrepreneur
Director of ratings agency

Danny Alexander, Treasury Secretary
Press Officer
Director of Communications, Britain In Europe

Bit too much Europe there for my liking.

Time was, Parliament was full of ex-miners on one side and ex-businessmen on the other. Yes, I exaggerate. But you knew that Parliament was filled with men (and some women) with experience of life - struggling to feed a family, hard physical work, taking risks, balancing priorities, managing money. Looking back over these three posts, the most common occupation is 'policy adviser' or 'political researcher'. Overwhelmingly, politicians leave University, get a job at a low level in a political organisation, and rise to the top of that before being selected (for their loyalty to the cause more than anything else, one would imagine) as candidates for election. The only risk there people have taken was whether to support Brown of Blair on their way up.

It is no surprise that Parliament is spineless and weak (unless it is to bully and coerce its citizens into 'appropriate choices'). They have all lived in a world where what matters is who you butter up and who you spin against, a comfy office world where risks are theoretical and discomfort is a Nokia between the shoulderblades.

No-one there who has queued for the bus before dawn on a misty November morning to earn their daily crust. Pampered lapdogs, the lot of them. Even, or especially, Labour.


  1. I think that they would call themselves "Professional Politicians".

    Like management Consultants, I firmly believe that the entry level into politics should be 10 years experience in the real world doing a real job.

    Parasites, every one of them!

  2. To be fair, parliament has always been top-heavy with barristers because it reflected a world where men (and a very few aristo women) conducted their paying business in the morning then attended debates in the afternoon.

    The blogger Mr Ishmael has always been deeply critical of part-time MPs, believing they don't put their efforts in to their public work, whereas I think that's the best way.

    This week I met a young man who wants to be in politics but rather than taking a job as e.g. a shift worker in a hospital, he is again being subsidized by his parents to work for a think-tank i.e. an internship sponsored by the quite well-off as a means of gaining political preferment.

    I don't want to be dismissive of his enthusiasm, but I would prefer to vote for a candidate who had done a proper job - driven a truck, run a shop, cooked in a canteen, been a paramedic, repaired phone lines, been a police officer, served in the forces, fixed cars, taught in schools, washed windows, run a printshop, administered shipping contracts, put on plays, roadied for a rock band, cut hair, served in a bank, been on a fishing boat, milked cows, surveyed property, dispensed medicines, written softwear, even, saints preserve us, been an website designer or an estate agent. I'm really not picky but I want them to have done it for necessity and for money, not just a hobby.

    The sooner we ban unpaid internships and push parties to accept candiates no younger than 30 and with at least 5 years in a proper job, the better.

  3. Agree both. Age limit of 30+, certainly. The 'proper job' bit would be harder to police - my feeling is that ought to be left up to the voters. If we didn't vote for the 'pro-pols', then they would go away.

    "I want them to have done it for necessity and for money, not just a hobby" - precisely. They need to know what matters.

  4. "... but I would prefer to vote for a candidate who had done a proper job..."

    Me too. How to attract such people, though, to such a debased system?

  5. Wipe the slate clean and start again. Not suggesting lamp-posts and piano wire necessarily, but a revolution of sorts. And not the whinging gimme-gimme OLSX type either.


Comment is free, according to C P Scott, so go for it. Word verification is turned off for the time being. Play nicely.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...