ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
to suggest that a condition of employment as a MP should be a week living as a member of the working poor, or the unemployed or the squeezed middle before being allowed to make policies that affect th(112 Posts)
Fucking fed up to the back teeth of being shat on from a great height by a bunch of twats who have no idea how the majority of the electorate actually live. The way things are going, we will lose our house as it's getting harder to meet our mortgage repayments every month.
They should at least talk to the people affected.
Some things seem very well on paper when looking at the overall but they forget that these things impact on people. Individuals, families, children etc etc. the human and common sense element is missing.
I think it needs more like a month.
I want to private school and am not a thoughtless, unsympathetic twat so it's certainly not an envy thing! I just think it's bloody sensible to have an elected body that represent ALL of society, and understand what affect their policies will actually have before they commit to them.
I think OP is making the point that those at the top of the political tree right now (whatever party) are from backgrounds of great privilege compared with the majority of people living in this country - they were born into money and connections and that makes life easier for the person - fact.
There has been no struggle, no fight outside a political arena, for these men to learn what it is like to struggle and fight to better their lives, to feed their families, to juggle their income and so on... They try to empathize with people who do struggle and fight but realistically they can not because unless you experience something, you can't understand it completely. And when they try? They come across as arrogant - that can't be helped, you can't preach to a person about knowing how 'real life' is if you have been sheltered from it the whole of your life.
Op is struggling to find a way to connect to the politicians of today as there is no common ground - its an entirely reasonable post she has written.
She does not want to become an MP mummymeister She would just like those that are in power to have more of a grip and understanding on what life is like beyond the safety of family money and a private education?
Is that too much to ask?
I know some Mp's have fought hard and are worth the position that they hold but a whole lot of them do nothing to help at all - trying to actually find my Mp is like looking for a needle in a haystack - all you get is the 'staff' on the phone.
threebats said everything I wanted to say!
it needs to be at least three months. Preferably six. And they don't get to do it in their own houses. It's easy to survive on a very low income for just a week in a big house with everything new/in good repair, a well stocked fridge and freezer, and a full wardrobe.
We've had the one week experiments before, and politicians went away even more arrogant than before, because they were too thick to account for the above.
Great post by threebats.
It is already well known that it is extremely hard for anyone from a normal income to break into mainstream politics. It requires money, connections and lots of free time to devote to it. Not easy if you're a low-earning mum. Plus there's also the argument that in entering the system you want to change, you quickly discover that the only way to succeed is to turn into the very thing you despise.
What I think would really help this country is an end to the emphasis on party politics and more of an emphasis on cross co-operation whereby the good of the electorate - rather than the party line - is prioritised. In my local area, despite the overwhelming (nearly 100%) campaigning against something that was going to affect local people, our MP towed the party line and only backed down when David Cameron bowed to popular appeal (this was a national thing but it affected my area in particular). The people are not the priority of many MP's, their own political careers are, which makes a bit of a mockery of democracy IMO.
And I would love to see the likes of David Cameron and George Osborne survive on £71 per week. I doubt they'd last a week, let alone a month.
As Jessie says, a week is do-able and gives a false impression of how workable it is. 3/6 months of accounting for every last penny then wondering what the hell to do when the cooker finally gives out and the DC need new shoes for school is quite a different scenario, and might actually give an insight into what it's like to live like this for years on a low income.
YA only BU in that a week or even month is only going to scratch the surface of what life is like for most of the electorate; I'd make it a year.
Another one believing it should be a month. Let's force them to do it during their ridiculous summer recess. That or some kind of voluntary work (though hardly voluntary given we pay them) with projects in areas of social deprivation. Perhaps constituents could decide which project their MP will work with.
Agree that the gene pool from which MPs are being drawn, socially speaking, is becoming narrower and narrower. Too many barristers, for example. The percentage of public school educated MPs is climbing as well and getting less and less reflective of society in general. This cannot bode well for ordinary working-class, or middle-class people.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I totally agree with threebats.
You cannot say that people who are not elected officers have no right to complain. The elected officers are there to represent us. The OP does not feel represented.
I must say that I too have an issue with the fact that the current Prime Minister, ultimately responsible for the welfare state and the NHS, is worth 30million (much of it inherited).
Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.
Paul Valery 1871 -1945
YABU... Would you also like them to commit the crime before making something illegal? Competent decision making based on good advice and a clear vision is what I want from politicians. That and the confidence to make unpopular choices when necessary.
it should be at least 3 months because even in one month they would only pay each bill once, over three to six months they would have to stretch the money each month and would get a better idea of how far £71 a week goes, when each week you have to decide wether you can afford £10 for the gas or wether you buy more than £10 worth of food and dont put the gas on, and during this period they should be sanctioned on thier benefits for at least 4 weeks so they can see what happens when someone on the lowest benefits has absolutely no money whatsoever
IIRC, it was Alastair Darling who went to Scotland's answer to Eton.
Would you also like them to commit the crime before making something illegal?
No, because that's a matter of social consensus - ie the wider moral viewpoint is that murder is wrong therefore the consensus is that it should be illegal. Poverty is much more complex and nuanced, and decisions not enshrined in law, policy decisions, have a far-reaching impact on this. For example cutting Sure Start budgets is not a legislative decision but it reduces the availability of affordable childcare and help for vulnerable families.
I do think there is a prevailing attitude on the Tory front bench that the poor and those on benefits have brought it upon themselves and therefore if they live in poverty it's their and not the state's responsibility. Easy when you're heir or heiress to millions, isn't it.
I hate the way this argument goes cogito please do not be so derivative and literal. The op makes a fair point, those in power have come from extreme wealth and privilege and their policies are having a huge impact on the ordinary electorate. This lack of insight might be the missing link.
Because a person is worth millions they inherited, it does not make them a bad person. Lucky maybe, but not bad.
But it does insulate them from the grit of real life. It limits greatly their ability to be able to make proper informed and educated decisions on the real life matters facing people on a real life wage and with real life savings. They have advisers who advise them on real life - not experience of it. And when that person is in the position of being 'in charge' of a country where the vast majority of inhabitants are right now, today, praying the weather changes and fast as its too cold and they can not afford any more heating bills and have a decent standard of living along with it - he does not understand that concept as he has never once had to limit the gas central heating to 2 hours per night or gone without it entirely for days on end.
With all due respect to Mr Cameron - when he understands how it feels to be cold, as in bone cold and to have your children the same way because over the last few years energy prices have shot through the roof of reasonable and in order to carry on being able to afford to run a car, eat and pay all bills, you have to go cold, when he says 'I am going to right this' rather than, 'I have insisted all tariffs are made clearer to understand'. That's when he will become a proper leader in my opinion.
Instead of this situation of increasingly high costs to be able to live being talked about in a sensible way among the public - it all too often disintegrates into nasty fight about 'what is poverty?' And 'Its your own fault for having children you could not afford to care for.' 'Benefit scroungers.' 'Work shy.' Which, there are some people who are on the take and are taking the p**s, yes - but - I suspect the large majority of working people and unemployed people do not want more handouts - what they want is to be treated fairly and to have somebody to lead the country who understands this, understands that they are on the brink of loosing everything through no fault of their own - like the OP who is at risk of loosing her home because bills have gone up faster than her wage and what she was getting in the form of help from the Government is being if not stopped then pinched to uncomfortable levels. And she can't financially do it anymore without something giving and that something is her home.
I would ask all posters on here to have a little decorum when replying to this sort of post as the OP is on the brink of loosing her home which is going to be hurting her emotionally and financially. Its not fair to say that she should become an MP if she wants to solve it all, have a say, make changes - all she wants is to keep her home and despite her best efforts she is failing. All she sees when she looks for help are doors closing and somebody saying, 'I understand what you are going through...' A man worth 30 million of inherited money can not possibly understand what she is going through - again that does not make him a bad person, it just makes him insulated from real life.
I have some friends who work in politics, and it's been fascinating to learn from them how out of touch some higher ups are because they simply do not use modern technology or media. They don't surf the web or go on twitter or read online forums, they don't have email accounts even. They are insulated by their staffs, they are really in a little bubble.
So I'm not sure it even needs to be as drastic as living on benefits for a month. Maybe they just need to get out there more and actually talk to real live people, without their staff running interference, with no barriers.
That doesn't make sense Cogito.
People make decisions based on narrow criteria. They forget the human element - this is a failing. Governments have a responsibility for everyone - that's what they've been voted in for. If they make unpopular decisions then perhaps that tells them they've got something wrong.
Excellent posts, threebats, I agree with everything you say.
Matthew Parris tried living on the dole for a documentary, years ago. I think that he realised you couldn't have much of a life living on unemployment benefit as it then was but he still didn't think that it should be increased, IIRC.
Dp and I were discussing this last night.
We think millionaires or those who have parents that are millionaires should be banned from government.
If you have never lived in the real world you are not qualified to make decisions on it.
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