Conference season is in full swing and after listening to the big wigs and smaller party's I have never been more disillusioned by politics in my whole life! For Christ sake we are coming up to a General Election and there is nothing on the table that is driving my passion or igniting a flame inside me to get me on the doorstep. I am running for local council myself this coming election and knowing I am going to have to defend the actions of Ed Milliband forgetting to talk about the economy in his speech last week is going to be gruelling, because quite frankly I was horrified by it myself!
The problem is what we have now throughout the political elite are career politicians who have no grasp of reality, they may sit and listen to other MP's or their constituents but ultimately they aren't in the position they are in to represent local issues in parliament, they are there to talk national issues and usually to enforce their own personal beliefs upon the entire nation. We are a nation in desperate need of Parliamentary and electoral reform; you only have to look at how candidates are selected for seats. Take for example in my beloved Labour party, after 24 years as Labour MP for Bootle Joe Benton won't be running for parliament next year. A man who was born, bred and will probably die in Bootle or somewhere in Sefton at least. He is a man who had served on the local councils for years before his selection to run for Parliament, a man who could truly represent his local constituency, with a real sense and knowledge of what it is like to live in one of the poorest constituency's in the country not to mention the safest Labour seat since 2001.
So, who do we get to replace Joe? Well, the main candidate at the moment is Ewan Blair! Son of my beloved Tony Blair, so I ask why would he even be in consideration for candidate for Bootle? The answer, another career politician wanting to follow in the footsteps of his father, along with son of Kinnock and son of Straw. There is on the whole nothing wrong with wanting to follow in their father's footsteps or wanting to change the country, what my concern is, is what does Ewan Blair know about Bootle or the people who live there? He won't have the slightest grasp of what life is like for the people of his constituency because the fact is most of his childhood was spent at Number 10 and he now lives in a £3.6 million pound mansion in Central London. When he is elected he will go straight to cabinet or shadow cabinet and the constituency he was elected to represent will fall by the wayside. If he is selected he will win and Labour knows that, they would elect a monkey before voting out the Labour candidate in Bootle.
I think being a locally focused MP is almost like cabinet career suicide. Off the top of my head I can't think of anyone in the cabinet now or in the shadow cabinet whom are there purely to represent their local constituents. The fact is there not, they are there to implement national policy and that's what they should be elected for. We need another tier of parliament where MP's can be elected to Cabinet by the nation and their constituency seat should be forfeit whilst they sit on cabinet and a deputy MP from the local constituency should be elected to act in their absence ensuring local people are getting the representation and treatment they deserve from parliament and the person they have elected to office.
My wife raised a very valid point when I forced her to attend a fringe event at this year's Labour Conference. Not being very politically minded I was telling her who was who as the speakers came on stage and what there prospective jobs where going to be should we (Labour) win the next election. Working in Education herself the first question when Tristram Hunt took to the stage was what experience does he have in Education, my response was none! Her response again was 'What can he possibly know about how to run a school then?' I got the same question from her about Andy Burnham and Chuka Umunna for their respective positions, and my answer was the same. So I had to then ask myself why these jobs are not being filled with people who have been on the front line? There are plenty of former teachers, Doctors, nurses, business owners, economists who could wipe the floor with most of our government ministers and shadow ministers. So why aren't these people being elected or selected for these job roles? Hey, that's politics for you.
Adding to my disillusion is the lack of hard hitting, wow factor policies being announced. Remember 1997 when the whole nation was buzzing and ready for real change, the excitement of a new government after 18 years of Tory rule. A new beginning was around the corner; finally the Labour party had pulled itself together and was talking the language of the people. Now all we have is the prospect of another hung parliament. Politicians should be putting their money and jobs where their mouths are in order to win votes in the next election and excite voters into getting out on polling day. Make bold policies and put your job on the line or forfeit your huge income should the policy's you implement fail to live up to what you have promised us. Boldness like that will win votes come next May and actually following through will ensure that future elections are more successful at the ballot box to.
I know now that what we most definitely need in politics is more real people representing local interests and representing their own home grown constituency's not just political celebrities taking up the safe seats where they have no connection with constituents or no real aspect of what it is like to live within that area. Maybe even more so we need to take a look at our ministers and ask what front line experience they have which would qualify them for their role as Secretary of State? It's a pipe dream, I know, but perhaps as I submerge myself into the world of politics this coming election I may truly see how and why it works the way it does. Perhaps I may be the one to change it one day, who knows? What I do know is that I won't sit back when there are things that need to change and neither should you.
I will leave you with the closing two paragraphs from 'The Great Dictator' Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!
Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!