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The Mumsnet UK political culture survey results are out - here's what you had to say

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SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 22-Jun-14 09:46:20

Morning folks,

You may remember that, last month, we asked you to tell us what you thought of the political culture in Westminster: everything from the number of female MPs and women in cabinet to the way everyone conducts themselves during Prime Minister's Questions - and, of course, whether any of this influences the way you vote.

1,200 of you responded (for which, flowers again); here are the results, both in full, and summarised in a handy infographic. And here, if you're interested, is the Observer's coverage of the survey, out this morning.

Hope you find them interesting - and thanks again to those who took part. Those who didn't: do please weigh in here and tell us what you think.


OTheHugeManatee Sun 22-Jun-14 14:12:53

I remember that survey. I completed it but found it a bit annoying. Isn't focusing a 'survey of mums' entirely on Westminster sexism and perceived lack of family-friendliness sexist in its own right? It seems to imply that women (which the MN demographic largely is) are only worth asking their political opinions when it's to do with gender politics or childcare. I am a woman but rather resent having the questions I'm asked about politics limited to a set of 'women's ishoos'. It's not like us wimmins don't have views on, say, Europe or sleaze or fracking or fiscal policy hmm

mupperoon Sun 22-Jun-14 15:49:23

Manatee I agree. Even looking just at the topic of "political culture", there are some interesting questions to ask about the way party politics operates in Westminster, engagement of politicians and parties with the media, personality politics, constant ad hominem attacks, blamestorming, rewriting of history... even how responsible we as voters, media consumers and social media users are for the way that political culture has evolved into its current sorry state.

I'm not even sure how the UK parliament can be said to be family-unfriendly!

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 22-Jun-14 19:36:07

Hi there - just to say this is one of several things we'll be doing on what could be described as 'political' topics. It follows our report with Mori last year, and at the same time, we're asking about policy issues here, which over time we'll work that into something more substantial.

We'll also be hosting a webchat with Nicky Morgan MP, Conservative Minister for Women, Gloria De Piero, Labour's shadow Minister for Women and Jo Swinson MP, Lib Dem Minister for Women and equalities on Tuesday to discuss this (and anything else) and will post details here as soon as the thread is live (tomorrow).



WonderWomansSister Sun 22-Jun-14 20:25:28

I find the results interesting as headline info. Thought that bringing in local government aspect at end a little muddling though. Any chance you would focus attention on local government as a separate topic? Women in local government - as politicians and employees - are present in much greater numbers and are more visible in all of our communities.

Would also have been interesting to know if the MNers surveyed had voted in the last General election and if not, why not.

Hassled Sun 22-Jun-14 21:49:36

I'm just really grateful and pleased that Mumsnet is helping to make women's views on politics known - these are views that I know we knew, but no-one was shouting from the rooftops about it. The more press and the more noise, the more things may start to change.

TheHoneyBadger Mon 23-Jun-14 09:35:10

it's the infantile, silly school boys laughing and booing and cheering whilst discussing things that actually can mean life or death for people not cushioned by 3 figure salaries and inheritances and a guaranteed place on the board once their starring role in the pantomime of politics is over that gets me.

it is sickening to watch pmq but dusting that charade under the rug won't change what it reveals which is that this is a silly little show house run by people with total self interest who are not fit to represent the people of this country.

that and the realities that many of them should be in prison for fraud anyway and would be if they had fiddled any other 'company' of so much money.

TheHoneyBadger Mon 23-Jun-14 09:36:21

this 'minister for women' business is so depressing really - they're supposed to all be ministers for the people. women aren't a sideline issue. it's like the woman's supplement being shoved in the back of the paper. err what???

Choccyjules Mon 23-Jun-14 10:17:33

Thanks for signposting the results, I filled it in so it's interesting to see the trends.

I came at it from personally knowing a female MP and being aware of the workload and suspect that having my views shaped by this would put me into the minority on a lot of the questions (not that I'm suggesting for a minute that their long recesses and wage increases don't rankle with me, working as I do in the public sector).

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 23-Jun-14 10:37:48

Just FYI, the webchat thread is live now if you want to get any questions or comments in.

bambino37 Mon 23-Jun-14 11:08:33

we need full time Members of Parliament. Not part time skivers

Frances5050 Mon 23-Jun-14 13:07:42

Thanks Mumsnet! Since 1918 there have only been 369 women MPs. Currently 503 men and 147 women sit in the House of Commons, a ratio of 77:23. Having been in business and raised a family I think that women should be fully involved in government, forging legislation for the future. We are in no position to under utilise so much talent and experience. The country needs the best of both, one way or another, sooner rather than later. For a 50:50 Parliament we need 178 more women MPs. AIBU? There are 32 million women in the UK, 51% of the population. This is an Apolitical Aspiration. Many of us would like Parliament to debate and take action to solve this historic problem. Pls see Thanks! smile

Frances5050 Mon 23-Jun-14 13:16:39

I am thankful too! The issue needs debate.

GermyElephant Mon 23-Jun-14 18:20:29

So what about someone from the SNP? They now have more elected reps in the UK than the Lib Dems.

GermyElephant Mon 23-Jun-14 18:40:57

Apologies, that should say parliamentarians rather than elected representatives.

Snog Mon 23-Jun-14 19:57:20

50% of MPs need to be women imo and I feel disenfranchised with the 22% status quo.
As for the main parties there is only minimal difference in policies and direction so all in all this adds up to not much choice every 5 years.

whatwillhappennext Mon 23-Jun-14 21:16:59

I think that for people to start taking politics seriously again all MPs, male and female, should be at least 45 and have done a "proper" job first. The lack of weight of politicians of all parties is in part at least due to the research assistant path most of them seem to take without ever having responsibility for people's lives or jobs on a micro level before thinking they can run a bloody country.

TheHoneyBadger Tue 24-Jun-14 07:45:13

for me i keep coming back to the madness of letting someone with no experience or relevant study relating to state education tinker with our school system. or the insanity of having someone who doesn't even know the price of a weeks shopping or a tank of petrol run the economy for example. it's becoming increasingly clear it's britain plc but it's being run (into the ground) by the eton equivalent of a chimps tea party. how are you meant to treat that with anything other than disgust?

we have a ridiculous non expert boys club fucking with people's lives and making sport of it in pmqs. you have hairbrained schemes wasting billions such as IDS' utterly incompetent ego parade with universal credit which is only the latest in a ton of criminal waste from big ideas pushed through by someone with no skills in project management, no technical knowledge of what they're actually suggesting and the implications of making that work and too much ego to acknowledge they're not up to the job or even to ensuring they're hiring the right people and overseeing them (and listening to them) TO do the job.

it's literally ridiculous. the whole thing has become farcical and it's like either they haven't kept up with the fact that there are plenty of intelligent and politically aware people in this country who can't be placated with platitudes and spin and ah but it's all 'their' fault (boo! cheer! insert snide party political comments) OR they don't give a fuck and are arrogant enough to think the majority of people are stupid and easily manipulated and heh they haven't really got a choice anyway because we've got this political class gig sewn up anyway.

if they don't start listening and engaging with real people and real concerns in the next 20years as a generation of voters dies off can you imagine how small a mandate they'll be operating on? how few people will be voting when our current coming to retirement or already retired generation has passed?

OTheHugeManatee Tue 24-Jun-14 13:51:22

I think that for people to start taking politics seriously again all MPs, male and female, should be at least 45 and have done a "proper" job first. The lack of weight of politicians of all parties is in part at least due to the research assistant path most of them seem to take without ever having responsibility for people's lives or jobs on a micro level before thinking they can run a bloody country.

^^ THIS. It turns out politicians with a woeful lack of the basic skills needed to form long-term plans and actually deliver them (ie project management skills). Project management skills are totally normal in a business context but entirely unrelated to the skill set you need to become an MP as far as I can see - this is mostly about being able to network, kiss arse, make speeches, avoid direct questions and come up with vague but plausible-sounding bollocks about 'the future of work' or 'the future of transport' and the like. As a result we get government by eye-catching initiative rather than government by coherent plan, which results in the all-ways clusterfuck approach to running things we've come to know and love.

I'd rather see something done about getting MPs in with actual work experience than something done about the proportion of women.

IamMrsElf Wed 25-Jun-14 08:24:45

Don't we need to consider why there aren't more women in politics, what about being an MP is turning women off? Rather than merely suggesting that men are keeping us out, why don't we want to join in? Would you personally want to be an MP?

I could make some jokey and flippant remark, along the lines of "we're too sensible" but the reality is that is a very hard job, with long hours and is not conducive to a good work-life balance. Whatever you think of the way Margaret Thatcher ran the country she was 100% committed to politics, I personally couldn't give that level of commitment to the country as I am already fully committed to my family. I am a SAHM and gave up work to parent.

I am a former teacher, my husband is still a teacher. I worry about him daily because of the stress he is under because Mr Gove thinks that he has all the answers. It doesn't matter to him if he irreparably fucks up our education system, it won't effect his children, it will effect mine. I would love to see more practical experience in parliament, more consultation and direction from the industries and areas that MPs are governing. The trouble is they are all running an agenda and want to make a point; they are using the country to do this - that needs to stop! There needs to be room for them to maneuver but there should also certain things that all parties agree upon that are not altered beyond repair. They all agree that the Bank of England should control interests rates, why aren't there similar standards for health, education and so on?

The civil service is not representative of us either, we should also be looking at the people feeding the MPs, as well as the MPs themselves.

Just a few points of view from a politics graduate, who became a secondary English teacher, who became a mum - no answers, just a truck load of questions.

TheHoneyBadger Wed 25-Jun-14 09:34:44

i think the 'why' runs deep and i don't think it's about family friendly policies to be honest.

i think there is a particular kind of ego drawn to politics and power. in a sense i think politics and power can never be representative of people, let alone less privileged people or people who actually have compassion for people. people who want power and are willing to go through the kind of performances and doors that it takes to get to power, and who will be liked and seen as 'kin' by those already there in order to help them up, are not going to be representative of anything other than power.

yes - i guess i'm of the near fully disillusioned camp.

GermyElephant Wed 25-Jun-14 18:57:45

Who actually has any idea what an MP does? I don't much fancy it. And i have a good idea of what the job entails.

If you don't live near London, it involves being away from home half the week. You require to employ and manage staff and deal with cases that are sometimes difficult, harrowing and can't necessarily be solved.

There are no set hours that you work - you can be on call 24/7. You are also responsible for managing your own workload and setting your own priorities for your time. You get little thanks from people, although there is a fair bit of respect from some quarters. Having said that, a large section of the public will decide they dislike you personally the moment you are elected - just because you represent a party they wouldn't vote for.

You have a huge amount of reading to do and many, many meetings to attend. You have to be as clean living as possible or risk a high profile out-ing in the press. Your personal life is subject to media scrutiny.

You require to do as the party whips tell you. You also have to spend spare, unpaid time on party business. If there's an election or by-election you will spend very little time at home as you will be needed for campaigning.

As I said, I don't fancy it much.

TheHoneyBadger Thu 26-Jun-14 10:13:32

no - it's a real vocation, or was, so you would need true political convictions OR be a privileged career boy with a wife to pick up the slack and a ten year plan to be out of there and getting paid 6 figure sums to advise business' how to get out of taxes or how to land contracts they're not capable of fulfilling or how to acquire chunks of the public sector worth billions for pennies and then take care of your share holders rather than the 'services' you've acquired.

TheHoneyBadger Thu 26-Jun-14 10:15:07

and the more the latter get hold the less political convictions stand for until anyone with political convictions would have been sickened out of the game by rung one of the ladder. eventually you'd reach a point where it was nothing but spoilt little greedy men already in backhand deals with their pals in business.

ah, yes, that's where we're at isn't it?

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