Posts Tagged ‘equal opportunities’

Want to improve British politics? Advertise special adviser roles

23/04/2024, 10:02:20 PM

by Kevin Meagher

My Mum’s informal media monitoring service is always spot on.

‘They had some treasury minister on with Ed Balls this morning,’ she told me the other day.

‘She was absolutely hopeless. He made mincemeat out of her.’

Turns out the hapless victim of Ed Balls’s perfectly reasonable probing about the inflation rate was treasury minister, Laura Trott, putting in yet another faltering media appearance to add to the long, painful, list of similarly egregious examples.

I have these conversations with my Mum every day.

One hopeless minister after another does the media round, only to be pulled apart by interviewers like a French baguette.

There was a vintage example on Sky News.

James Daly, the deputy Tory party chairman, who made the police complaint about Angela Rayner’s disputed household arrangements, was on.

Labour’s Chris Bryant asked – again, perfectly reasonably – what he thought she had done wrong.

Presenter Kay Burley and Political Editor Beth Rigby, also part of the discussion, echoed the point.

Now, this was the most obvious thing in the world to ask him. Daly – badly briefed, panicky and defensive – floundered, accusing Bryant of shouting at him.

It seems to happen time and again.

Obvious questions that Tory frontbenchers should be prepared for leave them pole-axed.

It’s an excruciating sight and sound, as the life-force oozes out of this government on what is now a daily basis.


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Aidan Burley equal opportunities photo special

30/07/2012, 07:00:50 AM

Why, who’s this cheeky little scamp? It’s only misunderstood Twitter führer Aidan Burley. Here he is in a photo from his latest constituency e-bulletin, hard at work introducing a local councillor to the prime minister.

Well done Aidan, it’s good to motivate the local troops and what better opportunity than a glittering Number 10 reception. This councillor was probably selected for such an exclusive invitation because of some form of outstanding local community contribution.  That would probably explain why she is featured so prominently is Aidan’s e-bulletin.

But hang on, she looks familiar. What’s that name again? The bulletin tells us it’s Jodie Jones.

Surely not the Jodie Jones who also works for one Aidan Burley? And it can’t be the Jodie Jones that young Aidan is currently squiring around the bright lights of Cannock Chase?

Because, if it were that Jodie Jones, in a spirit of openness and transparency, we know Aidan would have made it clear in the bulletin.

Otherwise people could get confused again, much as they did over his Olympic tweets, and there might another terrible misunderstanding.

Silly, wrong-headed people might draw erroneous conclusions about the type of outstanding local contribution needed to secure an invite from Aidan to meet the PM and quaff free vino.

That would never do, because as we know from Aidan’s Friday night tweeting and subsequent clarifications, no one is more dedicated to the cause of equality of opportunity than Cannock Chase’s MP.


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Where have the working class MPs gone?

26/03/2012, 02:26:11 PM

by Hazel Blears

The 2010 General Election was notable for ending – at least temporarily – the era of one-party dominant governments in the UK, and ushering in a coalition. Less notable, but much more worrying, was the continued demise of that all too rare representative: the working class MP.

In 1983, a staggering 51% of MPs had been educated at private school. This began to gradually fall, dropping to a low of 30% in 1997. However since then the figure has begun to rise again, and the 2010 election saw constituencies return an intake of MPs of which 35% have been privately educated. By comparison, only 7% of the school age population are in private schools; politicians are drawn from a narrow social class.

Of the 2010 intake 91% of MPs have attended university. So cliquey is politics that just under 30% of our MPs come from two universities, Oxford and Cambridge. Just 13 schools produce a tenth of MPs. Politics is clearly becoming a graduate profession.

Whilst some MPs from working class backgrounds have made it to the top of politics – the likes of Alan Johnson and David Davis – the reality is that the social composition of our representatives is not representative of our country.

Good governance requires a range of views for effective policy making. If politicians are approaching issues from the same point of view and life experiences, they are likely to create group-think, and their narrow social experiences will be reflected in policy making. A case in point – would the current cabinet have been so quick to withdraw tax credits for working families if any of them had ever had to rely on them? Even the Labour party – the most diverse of all three main political parties – is hardly in a position to lecture about diversity.


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