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Five Reasons I Should Never Be a Politician

Since I started writing about politics, a few people have asked me whether I'd ever consider standing as an MP myself. The answer is a very definite no. And actually, it's nothing to do with the money. I'd almost certainly be a terrible politician, and here are five of the many reasons why...

I actually feel a bit sorry for politicians this week.

Well, not Malcolm Rifkind or Jack Straw, obviously. But there really are lots of MPs who work very hard for their constituents - without moonlighting as shadowy consultants, arms dealers or strippers. And this latest cash for access controversy will inevitably cast a pall of suspicion over the whole lot of them.

Since I started writing about politics, a few people have asked me whether I'd ever consider standing as an MP myself. The answer is a very definite no. And actually, it's nothing to do with the money.

I'd almost certainly be a terrible politician, and here are five of the many reasons why...

1. I'm not sure who I'd be a politician FOR

I don't think I'm really a Party girl (or, indeed, a party girl) and I'm genuinely unsure of which party I'd stand for.

I can think of a couple of parties I certainly wouldn't stand for. And of course, you could argue that not being sure of party allegiance is just a minor impediment. Some very successful politicians seem to have chosen their parties based almost entirely on which way the political wind is blowing.

Several have also switched parties late in the day. In fact some make a real career out of it. MEP Amjad Bashir has famously managed to be a member of Respect, Ukip and the Conservatives - and it's reported he was also a Labour Party member at one point. In fact all he needs to do now is join both the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin. Then he can give himself a good talking-to and iron out any kinks in the Northern Irish peace process.

But I'm just not sure I'm enough of a team player. I've never been a member of a religion, either, or a union, or the girl guides or the National Trust. Even in school sports lessons, I was that weird kid on her own in the distance - you know, doing javelin or shot-put or rhythmic gymnastics.

Actually, on reflection, I suspect I may be on some sort of sociopathic spectrum. Ahem.

2. I would cry - a LOT

Some of the abuse politicians receive is genuinely terrible, particularly on social media. I don't mean criticism of their policies, however 'vigorous'. I'm talking the real personal stuff - the hard-core bitching about their looks and intellects and personalities.

I can see why you need the skin of a rhino to be an MP - and there's no way I'm tough enough. All that abuse would make me lock myself in the airing cupboard and never come out.

Also, I'm a big cryer. Which might be alright if I was also an attractive cryer, but I'm not. When I cry, I go sort of magenta and look like I'm being throttled. It is not, I'm afraid to say, a good public look.

3. I like to plan my day

The day-to-day uncertainty you face as a politician would drive me straight round the bend. And I think it would be the small things that would get to me - never knowing where or what your next meal is going to be, never knowing when or whether you'll be free to catch up with that old friend, or whether a sudden vote at 10pm would scupper the whole thing.

I'm the sort of person who lines her mug handles up and has to set the TV volume at an even number. My diary is an exercise in the uniform scribbling-out of a potential psychopath. I'd take a picture and show you, but then you'd have to call the police. In an ITV murder mystery, my diary would be the clinching evidence that I was probably a serial killer.

People think it's odd that someone like me can happily be a freelance journalist, unsure of what job I'm doing from one month to the next. But the thing, I can be in control of my own job hunt and panic. It would be introducing democracy - and other people - into that scenario that would finish me off.

4. I take a terrible selfie

The selfie has become a crucial PR weapon - and for politicians like Nicola Sturgeon, it's a fantastically effective tool. The 'Sturgeon selfie' is officially A Thing - here's a whole article to prove it.

Unfortunately, I seem to have a terrible problem taking selfies. For one thing, phones turn into live fish in my hands. I drop them, I get them upside down, or they fly through the air into pints of beer. I inadvertently press the video button, accidentally call the first five people in my address book or take multiple pictures of bar stools, the ceiling and the floor. I very rarely, however, manage to get a photo of myself.

And this is all compounded by the snag that I've never worked out a good 'selfie face'. Think Karen Danczuk... then think the opposite. If I ever actually manage to get a photo of myself, I find I'm either looking like I've just remembered I've left my GHDs on, or that I slightly need to go to the toilet.

5. I am a nut magnet

Politicians meet huge numbers of people - and by the law of averages, this must include a fair number of eccentric characters. Then add to that the fact that I am a bona fide nut magnet.

Here's what I mean. If there's someone who is in any way eccentric, unstable, drunk, on drugs, or otherwise misfiring socially, you can absolutely guarantee they will gravitate towards me in a public place. They will ignore hundreds of other passers-by, eschew dozens of empty seats on public transport, and beeline towards me with a level of commitment that you rarely see these days.

Last week, for example, a woman sat down next to me on the train and told me all about how she'd just been given a restraining order for harassment. Last month, a bloke wanted me to hold his baby for him on the bus because "it wouldn't stop crying" (note: It was, in fact, an old-fashioned transistor radio wrapped in a blanket).

And a few months ago, a smart-suited man got into my tube carriage. He looked entirely run-of-the-mill - a City worker perhaps - except for the fact that he was wearing a large, conical silver hat constructed entirely out of tin foil. I am not making this up. And did he come and talk to me straight away, about the radiation risks of travelling on the underground? Of course he did.

I think it's fair to say - on reflection - that the life of an MP is not for me.

Despite all that, however, there is one reason to join a political party that appeals to me very much indeed. I'll tell you about it next week.

Read more of Serena's articles: Cowdy Calling

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