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Monday, 25 November 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013 Posted by Jake 17 comments Labels: , , ,
Posted by Jake on Monday, November 25, 2013 with 17 comments | Labels: , , ,

In an earlier post we published graphs showing the unrepresentative number of private school and Oxbridge types among our MPs. One could argue that going to private school and Oxbridge is largely an accident of birth. Your parents need to be able to afford the fees to get into private school, and that gives you a great advantage getting into Oxbridge (UK students from private schools (6% of all students) make up 42.5% of undergraduates at Oxford and 36.7% at Cambridge). 

On the other hand, what you choose to do for a living is down to you.

According to a Parliamentary report, there has been a great leap forward in the number of "political organisers" (local politicians and other political creatures) becoming MPs. At the same time there has been precisely equivalent collapse in the number of people the report classes as 'manual workers'. 




Former "political organisers" now outnumber those coming from other professions as follows:
  • 10 times more political organisers than doctors
  • 3.7 times more political organisers than school teachers
  • 2.8 times more political organisers than manual workers

17 comments:

  1. Polite Suggestion: I think the definition of 'political organiser' is not great and detracts from the graph. I know what you mean - but many may not. You mean people who have never had a career or job in anything other than politics - either from the classic Tory PPE route or via Trade Union sponsorship.

    I think the graph flags up the huge issue of the rise of the 'professional politician' - people who have never had a proper job and who do not have experience of life. In a democracy this trend is really worrying for the future.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed.

      The shift in the career patterns of MPs shown in this graph is the one described at length in Peter Oborne's 'Triumph of the Political Class' - as such, there are two linked phenomena at work, 1/ rapid decline in the diversity of MPs backgrounds (most are now university graduates, non-business), and 2/ the transformation of certain occupations into primary destinations for the reproduction of the political class, e.g. the media, public relations, political consultancies, think tanks, parliamentary researcher, etc.

      So what you see on the graph is the narrowing of entrance routes to Parliament as the political class concentrates its power within a few specific sectors.

      There's not necessarily a simple one-word term that covers these sectors, but 'political organizer' is, as Ian says above, pretty deficient.

      Delete
  2. I take your point, but "Political organiser" is the term used in the parliamentary report itself.

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  3. Ian, I get your point also but who gets to decide what a "proper job" is? Also, every MP will have as much "experience of life" as any other person of the same age. Ironically, accusations of a lack of so called real world experience are often levied at teachers. I appreciate that many politicians have debased their profession but we must not allow them to devalue the work that most of our public servants do.

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  4. Your graph shows where 24% of MP s came from in 2010. What is the background of the other 76%?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See Table26 from this report by Parliament
      www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/RP13-48.pdf

      Delete
  5. This reinforces the view that government has become a seperate entity, which is motivated primarily to serve its own interests, rather than repesenting the electorate and serving the interests of the nation.

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  6. I would also like to see the proportion of lawyers who move into politics, by which I mean those who have actually practiced law as a solicitor or barrister before becoming an MP, as opposed to those who just happen to have a law degree. Any info on that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The same report we refer to give percentages of barristers (10.8% in 1979 dropping to 6.1% in 2010) and solicitors (4.7% in 1979 rising to 7.7% in 2010)
      http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/RP13-48.pdf

      Delete
  7. Not a single scientist? What a pity

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  8. Surely there are a lot of MPs who come from a media background or a legal background?

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    Replies
    1. See Table25 from this report by Parliament
      www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/RP13-48.pdf

      Delete
  9. There are also 2 houses that pass our laws. Who do Lords represent is also important as some hold positions in government and are either hereditary or appointed. Lost track of the appointment system as it seems to have become political party self-serving. Certainly will not be representative of the general public.

    I disagree with some comments too. An individual from a purely political background is a good thing but if a majority are then I'm afraid that you are polarising open minded and intelligent consideration into a more political view. This is not good for democracy. Neither is it good good for diversity and innovation. For example I'm not a lawyer, accountant, planning officer, human rights expert or a nurse. Political politicians will only be able to interpret issues from those professions and in my opinion they currently falling short. They are more reliant on consultants and mostly these are corporate ones who also do not represent the diversity in society. As a result we end up with the type of political class in government who extremely unprofessional, incompetent and lie like...erm politicians. Are they naturally liars? Did they learn it at university? Or have they just been professional politicians far too long?

    Cora Blimey

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  10. 1979 - the Winter of Discontent - but manual workers were the strongest group in the House. Cool.

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  11. Since I became 'active' as a result of receiving Dave's Damned Liar Flyer http://spoilpartygames.co.uk/ I have pondered: 'MPs and the sources of MPs'. Might the collapse of school teacher cohort be consistent with drop-off in male teachers?

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  12. I wonder what multitude of activities 'political organiser' is designed to obscure! For example, where do the bankers, big business CEOs and professional lobbyists fit in?

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  13. MP salaries are much higher than average, but significantly lower than the professions eg law, senior teaching/education, medicine etc. MPs from those backgrounds take a significant pay cut to become MPs. That is a variable to consider.
    It is a concern how many "show ponies" are selected by parties; we need some. PPE types, but not to the exclusion of workers who have held responsible roles outside politics.

    ReplyDelete

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