Ages ago, we didn’t have the House of Commons. We just had the King or Queen, or whoever was on the throne at the time. That person wielded ultimate power over the country. Of course, local power was effected through local representatives; puppets of the monarch, who would clamour for favour in the Court. Their level of popularity would dictate whether they received power, an executioner’s axe or something in-between.
The short story is that we put an end to this absolute rule by ending up with the parliament we have today. As far as I see it, the House of Commons is full of commoners, who are supposed to be like us, with knowledge of our everyday issues and with the ability to represent our views in the House. Above them are the House of Lords, who are the last vestiges of the puppets in paragraph 1, with the broad task of blocking anything stupid coming from the House of Commons.
So let’s look at the House of Commons. My problem with them is that they’re not all that common. And by that I mean they’re more like the Lords than the commoners. Yes, I know one can argue the technicality that they’re not really Lords, but how do you explain their inflated sense of entitlement, vast salaries and unlimited expense accounts? Factor in that many of them were educated at Eton and have Oxbridge degrees and you can see they’re not really commoners at all.
Okay, so it’s easy to see that they hark from a background where they mixed with high intellectuals, whose parents were most likely self-made rich and taught them how to network effectively. They should be perfect politicians. But what good is that if they have no idea what life is like at the coal face?
I often hear them being brought to task on things like not knowing the cost of a pint of milk. This is (kind of) irrelevant. I, myself, don’t actually know the answer to this question and can only guess that, at this time of writing it’s about 50p. But what I do find relevant is that most of them don’t do the following:
- Have an income around the national average.
- Drive themselves to work.
- Make do with supermarket basics groceries.
- Worry about the cost of petrol.
- Worry about the cost of anything.
- Go to state schools.
- Use NHS services.
If the majority of our MPs did even a few things from the above list, one might be more inclined to take their representation seriously. As it stands, I have a genuinely hard time at the polling station, because I know that everyone on the ballot paper (certainly from the main parties) is so far removed from my standard of living, that there’s no way they can truly understand the difficulty of being someone like me on a daily basis.
As things are at this moment, I really don’t see how I’m governed by a government of my peers. They’re nothing like me. Someone like me does not, as far as I know, exist in the House of Commons. Something has gone wrong. Sure, they make efforts to get representation by skin colour and that’s a start. But what about representation by living standards? Are there any thirty-somethings with debts who can’t make ends meet in the cabinet? I think not.