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Is our political system creaking?

(28 Posts)
whitewave Mon 20-Jun-16 11:17:57

The tragedy of Jo Cox does not need repeating nor dwelling upon.

We have heard many times repeated this week that MPs need to be shown greater respect for the job they do.

I absolutely agree.

However - the reason given by so many of the voters is the lack of trust they have in politicians.

I can't see this improving in the near future, as whichever side wins the referendum we will then become aware of the lies, hyperbole and myths we were subjected to by our MPs as the immediate and midterm future unfolds.

We are told as children we must earn respect. Politics is a two way thing.

Anniebach Mon 20-Jun-16 13:44:11

The press has helped to demonise politicians and the TVs companies, they want dirt to report

Devorgilla Mon 20-Jun-16 15:24:49

I agree Anniebach. Everyone got the same treatment and it got blown out of all proportion.

practical Mon 20-Jun-16 15:55:02

I always thought this was the best way for mp's, expenses ect
We do need to alter the way our system is run and most things about it

practical Mon 20-Jun-16 15:55:27


rosesarered Mon 20-Jun-16 15:59:16

I agree with you ww (shock) Respect is a two way thing, and we have had precious little in the way of unbiased honest opinion in this referendum from either side.It has shown politicians of all types in an unedifying light.

daphnedill Mon 20-Jun-16 16:14:48

We've also seen some politicians in an edifying light.

Hopefully, people will remember which ones told the biggest lies and showed that their jostling for position was more important than being honest.

obieone Mon 20-Jun-16 16:38:51

I agree whitewave.

But I think I would like to add a point.

People say that we get the Government that we deserve. I take that to mean that we get people like us.
And I do think, that a surprising number of posters on gransnet have not acted with lots of scruples either. In other words, same as many in the Government have acted.

daphnedill Mon 20-Jun-16 20:05:22

I wouldn't be an MP for all the duck ponds and flipped houses in the world!

I think most of them work hard, have a rubbish family life, get trolled and threatened on social media and I expect somebody would find some incriminating evidence from my youth and splash it all over the Daily Mail! I might even have to go on Question Time and everybody could comment on my wrinkles and hairstyle. Oh no!

I agree with you, obie, about your last point. That's not to say I don't think that MPs from all parties need to think very hard about how they communicate with their constituents and represent them in parliament.

starbird Mon 20-Jun-16 20:26:33

We have to bring back integrity in all walks of life, how can we teach people to value it?

obieone Mon 20-Jun-16 20:43:06

I am an optimist I know, but I dont think it is a huge amount of people who lose their scruples. I think Mr and Mrs average, are basically still decently behaved people.
In my opinion, the trouble is that on the whole, the ones that do lose their scruples, are the ones who somehow end up in higher positions in companies and positions of power. I am obviously talking generally and not specifically.

obieone Mon 20-Jun-16 20:48:33

Perhaps nowadays, starbird, as there is more of a divide between high earners and everyone else, that people have been lured by that somewhat? The stakes are higher in their eyes?
Not sure what can be done about that.
Good question really.

durhamjen Mon 20-Jun-16 21:50:47

Just been reading a report on Corbyn and his Sky/EU debate.
It was universally acknowledged that he told the truth as he saw it, but would probably not sway the waverers.

"God, it was refreshing, hearing someone getting into the detail, instead of making endless referral to well-worn slogans, stock phrases and snark. Having hinted that he thought the public were idiots, unlike all those politicians who flatter to deceive and never stop telling us how clever we are, Corbyn actually talked as if he assumed people were indeed kind and intelligent, had caught on and become interested and did understand what the referendum was all about."

This was one comment about him. However, whatever Boris and Gove say will be seen as more newsworthy, even though we say we want more measured speeches.

Jane10 Mon 20-Jun-16 22:01:37

I can't imagine why anyone could want to be an MP. Its a hellish life. In fact I'm deeply suspicious of the sort of people who are drawn to it. The endless dull meetings with endless dull people. The tiny minutiae of drawing up govt policy as well as for most, constant shuttling about between constituency and parliament.
For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like. I don't!

starbird Mon 20-Jun-16 23:37:07

You're right Obieone greed is like a cancer, some people just want more and more money even when they have more than enough for several lifetimes. Ordinary people are mostly decent. Perhas the old saying is true - power corrupts etc

durhamjen Mon 20-Jun-16 23:42:19

So we sort out the system so they cannot be so greedy?

daphnedill Tue 21-Jun-16 01:35:18

It's not just about expenses or politicians taking backhanders. People need to feel that their MPs are representing them. There are only about half a million people whose votes actually count in a general election with a first past the post system. The media tends to focus on the high profile constituencies, either because they're marginals or have a high profile MP, but there are millions of us who have never voted for the winning MP. So much for democracy!

obieone Tue 21-Jun-16 06:34:51

Politicians also earn lots extra by being on boards of organisations.

I live not too far away from where mansions are being built. Houses costing at least 4 million is not at all uncommon.

I think there is something wrong when those doing that are accountants, lawyers. I dont have quite such a problem with celebrities as there have always been some people like that.

Financial city types, doesnt seem right either.

I think part of the problem, is just how much money these people seem to have. They already seem to have houses worth millions elsewhere.

I have gone a bit of track, but you sort of get my drift.

But that sort of money has had to have come from somewhere, the ordinary person.
But also, it really can't be doing much good to those people.

I think it is the sheer amounts, and also the corruptness that that leads to, and tempts.

varian Tue 21-Jun-16 07:08:37

Unfortunately the media both press and tv promote confrontation and love controversial politicians. Politics is seen as a branch of entertainment.

Vain self serving people like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage who can be relied on to say something outrageous get far more exposure than ordinary decent politicians who work hard to make the world a better place.

Jane10 Tue 21-Jun-16 07:10:05

I suspect that the majority of politicians are fundamentally decent people and definitely not just in it for the money. Its not even a massive amount considering what has to be done with it. Some people just seem drawn to this public life. Only a few get lots of extra offers.

obieone Tue 21-Jun-16 07:16:59

Not sure you are right about the last sentence Jane10. They all seem to be on boards of things, and are in advisory capacities for other organisations and companies.

varian - yes it does suit those types of people.

I suppose by definition, the types of person drawn to power and politics are not by and large average.

I suppose in general, some people are getting more extreme. Thinking as I post here, might it be partly because the country is getting larger, so to stand out from the crowd, people need to do that to "get to the top" or "win" or both?

daphnedill Tue 21-Jun-16 07:36:19

I'm not against MPs earning a good salary. I agree with Jane10 that it's not a huge amount for the responsibility they have and for being in the public eye (which is the bit I'd hate). People like Cameron and Osborne can't be doing it for the money. Cameron could earn far more as a stockbroker like his father and Sam is worth a fortune. Heads of academies earn more than a normal backbencher and the head of Essex County Council earns over £200k. I think we should have the brightest and best in parliament, not just people who have inherited or married into wealth.

If I were a newly qualified Oxbridge graduate, I would rather go into banking, etc than politics, because I could earn more and possibly have an easier life. Even if it doesn't seem like it, I think most politicians go into it, because they want to make a difference. I do have some concerns about their accountablity to the electorate and think it should be easier to replace them. I also think they should represent ALL their constituents, not just the ones who voted for them.

obieone Tue 21-Jun-16 08:02:13

This is an interesting website

Jane10 Tue 21-Jun-16 08:22:54

I think they probably think that they do represent all their constituents. Constituents too can keep them to this. Our local MPs over the years have not always been people I've voted for but on the occasions that I've had to involve an MP they have always responded and been helpful.
I've been on lots of committees and had advisory roles over the years but with no extra financial inducement. On retirement I've been offered various roles but on a voluntary basis. Money doesn't automatically follow involvement in public affairs!

Granny23 Tue 21-Jun-16 13:00:10

It is worth considering the Scottish Parliament, not perfect but infinitely better than Westminster. MSPs are elected 50% first past the post and 50% via a regional list system so although you may not get the FPTP MSP you voted for, your vote will almost certainly have elected a list MSP from the party you support. The Scottish Parliament operates on family friendly hours (no late night sittings), most of the MSPs can have breakfast at home, go to work and be home for dinner, a surgery or an evening meeting in their constituency. It is perfectly possible for Scots from all areas to visit the Parliament and return home without needing an overnight stay.

Most importantly, MSPs must be present in the chamber during the debate in order to vote. Each MSP has an allocated seat. There is none of this nonsense of a handful of MPs being present during a debate then 100s of MPs appearing from nowhere to vote without having been in the chamber at all. And NO House of Lords stuffed with unelected party hacks, Bishops et al, costing us taxpayers a fortune.