05 November 2009

Blow it up...?

There's a reasonably interesting article in the Mail today about whether we really should just blow Parliament up, it being the 5th November and all

I can agree with a fair bit of it but this stuck out

"And to ensure we have a political class with a record of achievement - in other words, people who have had real jobs and real lives, rather than overgrown teenagers plucked straight from Oxford to work as special advisers before being parachuted into safe seats - I would raise the age threshold from 18 to 35"

I don't think it's meant to be tongue-in-cheek, it always surprises me how the older generations view parliament as 'too young' - Peter Hitchens calls the Tory front bench 'teenage' - average age: 51, with two MPs under 40

'Incredibly unrepresentative' I hear some jowly old man roar, while I do have time for the 'experience' line I have always found it interesting that some people bemoan the representation of a whole generation of adults, particularly when there are at present *two* MPs under 30 - the world's going to hell in a hand cart!

Here's a handy table, lifted from Iain Dale

They have obviously aged since 2005, leaving only one of those three currently under 30, and Chloe Smith (27) entered through a by-election

So we shall take a conservative guess at 45 current members being under the holy age of 35, despite it being obvious after four years that it is more likely that only about 20 are currently 'under-age'

That's 7% to represent...wait for it...

About 18% of the population who are [young] adults, according to the 2001 census

Meanwhile, the youthful number of MPs has clearly shrunk since the 97 election, from a whole ten!

And those in their fifties has only swollen - 249 MPs [or 39%] represent about 12% of the country - yes we definitely need more 'wise owls'

Meanwhile those over 40, at the last election represented 84% of MPs, despite only making up about half the population - so we really need to keep those young 'lickspittles' out of politics don't we? With all their fake mortgages and student children to pay off?

Of course I don't really support proportionate representation across the ages, but I see no problem with having young MPs, when they already face massive hurdles - it's just fogeyism from the older generations, who are incredibly over-represented anyway (and who also think 40 is 'young')

The reason I bring it up is that Dominic Sandbrook thinks that the older generations don't get their own MPs and that we need more 'grey hairs' in there - so he doesn't want special representation for 'slack-jawed twentysomethings', as no-one else gets such treatment, but then advocates the very same thing for older people, who already have far more of their own kind in parliament - little confusing and hypocritical? (again, I stress, if this is satire, it's not very good)

I also bring it up because politicians are so keen on ethnic minorities and women yet ignore an even bigger disparity - age, which is very important to society (and one look at the Youth Parliament should quash any feelings that they would be any worse)


  1. I don't really mind youngsters running things, businesses, country or whatever, but what tends to happen is that they think they know it all, many become ageist and generally don't value experience/maturity quite as much as they should.

    What we actually need is a healthy of balance of youth and experience...

  2. Well I certainly don't want a whole parliament of young people - have you ever experienced the NUS? it all starts there, politicking and backstabbing are already rife among a bunch of 21 year olds - a good balance is correct, and from what I've seen the youngest MPs seem to behave a lot better than say, Stuart Bell

    Isn't to say that young people think they know it all just as ageist? When I look at the likes of Jacqui Smith, Brown, Cameron etc I see very little wisdom - if we were talking about scientists and QCs then I could support having more experience but there are precious few in there now, there are currently 87 MPs solely from a political background (ie pollsters) - a record high, meanwhile there are only 34 barristers, very low historically