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MP at 22?

Olly_BOlly_B Mod-u-likePosts: 222 Settling in
TheSite.org caught up with Meryl Roberts, a 22-year-old who is trying to become an MP. Watch the video here and let us know what you think.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Claire Hazelgrove is 20, although she'll probably be 21 by the time of the general election.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    She was born in Northamptonshire on July 16th 1988 (age 20) to Robert and Ruth Hazelgrove (neé Goswell).

    Well according to her bio she was born aged 20 (a miracle in itself), so she'll be 40 ;)

    That said I'm cynical about people becoming MPs who have no real life experience and whose only selling point is that they are under twenty five...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm more cynical that a person who was raised in Hampshire and went to university in London can accurately represent the views of people in a Northern town she had presumably had little or no contact with before she thought about standing there. I think it sums up the reason why people feel disconnected with politics. We want people from our local communities (young or otherwise) representing our views to the parties, not someone selected from the ranks of the parties to represent us. And I do think that already being successful at local level is a massive advantage in any candidate, which kinda rules really young people out. Apologies if she does have a connection with Keighley, but it doesn't change the fact that shipping in MP candidates rather than encouraging local people to stand is pretty widespread.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Her first expense claim should be

    Website proof reader
    Cost: £15k/year
    Description: Family member needed to proof read banal website.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The strongest argument I can think of against having young MPs would be David Miliband.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You mean 43 year old David Miliband?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Don't you have to pay to even run to be an MP?

    Somebody said it's like £500 or something...

    Still, if you can afford the costs and time off work, why not?


    I think a bigger barrier to getting in to Parliament is still socio-economic, rather than age.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think her age, and age in general, is largely irrelevant. I also think being raised in a different area to the one you're standing in doesn't automatically disqualify you from being a perfectly suitable candidate. If you hold solid, rational views then you'll be on my short-list of people to vote for.
  • Olly_BOlly_B Mod-u-like Posts: 222 Settling in
    Namaste wrote: »
    Don't you have to pay to even run to be an MP?

    Somebody said it's like £500 or something...

    You have to pay a deposit, and if you get less than 5% of the vote you don't get it back (hence why you'll sometimes hear political commentators talking about people 'losing their deposit').

    The historical reason for this is that you could be excused from national service if you were standing for election, so lots of people stood for election just to avoid doing their national service.

    The cost was £500 for the 2005 parliamentary election.


    Olly
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Pitt the Younger was 24 when he became Prime Minister...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Olly_B wrote: »
    The historical reason for this is that you could be excused from national service if you were standing for election, so lots of people stood for election just to avoid doing their national service.

    The cost was £500 for the 2005 parliamentary election.

    I see, so if you're on around £15K or less, you have to give them around half a month's wages as a deposit to be allowed to run?

    What about the expenses for campaign material?

    I guess you'd have to fundraise, right?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    I see, so if you're on around £15K or less, you have to give them around half a month's wages as a deposit to be allowed to run?

    What about the expenses for campaign material?

    I guess you'd have to fundraise, right?

    Very few people will fund themselves and you'll get free postal delivery of one of your leaflets (which is probably worth more than £500 straight off). And remember the system is there to elect representatives to Parliament - not a cheap way for pressure groups to get subsidised publicity...
  • Olly_BOlly_B Mod-u-like Posts: 222 Settling in
    Namaste wrote: »
    I see, so if you're on around £15K or less, you have to give them around half a month's wages as a deposit to be allowed to run?

    It's a deposit, not a charge. If you are that confident of getting 5% of the vote, you could take out a loan or borrow it from someone else.

    One solution is to change the £500 deposit to requiring a certain percentage of constituents to nominate you (eg 0.5% is around 350 signatures required). However, collecting them, and then validating them would be a hugely complicated process, unless you tied it to the annual electoral roll (and made it more like the US system of voters registered to a particular party). That then limits the opportunity for independent candidates.

    It's not just the cost; any serious candidate will need a team of people to go out and campaign on their behalf. Personally, I would really struggle to believe that a serious candidate couldn't find £500 between their supporters.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't see how someone with so little (if any) life experience from a different area can be a voice for me or anyone I know.


    Even if she does manage to get elected to parliament, she'll get ripped apart by everyone else, simply because she is so inexperienced.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    And remember the system is there to elect representatives to Parliament - not a cheap way for pressure groups to get subsidised publicity...
    I'm not saying it should be for pressure groups, but still £500 is a lot of money for somebody who is unwaged, who has a disability and on ESA or who is on a low income.
    It's not just the cost; any serious candidate will need a team of people to go out and campaign on their behalf. Personally, I would really struggle to believe that a serious candidate couldn't find £500 between their supporters.
    True... I guess if the supporters helped, it'd be ok.

    I'm just curious, as I'd be interested in standing one day (independent, or Green), but for somebody in my position, it looks like it'd be really hard. Like you'd also need a lot of time off work (but then a lot of jobs give holiday pay).

    As for somebody who is 22... I think age isn't an issue. She may have experienced more of the world, or understand social issues in greater depth than somebody who has been through private school and then uni out of daddy's pocket and never set foot on a council estate, who is a lot older.

    I think a lot of MPs don't live in the real world anyway.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    I'm not saying it should be for pressure groups, but still £500 is a lot of money for somebody who is unwaged, who has a disability and on ESA or who is on a low income.


    But has been pointed out very few people will find themselves (and those that do are so egocentric that they probably would be a shit representative anyway)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    As for somebody who is 22... I think age isn't an issue. She may have experienced more of the world, or understand social issues in greater depth than somebody who has been through private school and then uni out of daddy's pocket and never set foot on a council estate, who is a lot older.

    I think a lot of MPs don't live in the real world anyway.

    but what's the real world - running a business keeping people in employment? what about sweating it up on a dusty road in Bosnia? Or dealing with a complex legal argument about IT law? All these are as much the real world as a narrowly defined one of social work.

    Which isn't to say that MPs shouldn't deal with issues in deprived areas (and many back-benchers of all parties spend an awful lot of time on glorified social work), but to argue that only a certain type of experience counts seems to me to be as bad as saying only those who've managed a business should be allowed to become MPs.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    but to argue that only a certain type of experience counts seems to me to be as bad as saying only those who've managed a business should be allowed to become MPs.
    Which is what I'm arguing?

    A 22 year old might be more in sync with the wider public, than somebody who has lived in an upper middle class up bringing.

    I'm not saying that any kind of experience counts more than another, but tbh a great deal of people in parliament have experienced far greater economic comfort than most individuals, or have gone to independent schools....

    So no, I don't think they are always in touch with the electorate. Seeing as most people can't afford to go to private schools and some can't afford university...

    I don't have an issue with privately educated people, it just worries me that there aren't enough working class people in parliament. It doesn't feel 'even'.

    I don't think it is an issue of direct discrimination, obviously.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Olly_B wrote: »
    The cost was £500 for the 2005 parliamentary election.
    £500 in order to run for Parliament and on election, a £61k a year salary plus an average of over £100k in expenses in the same period.

    Sounds like small beer, really.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Up until the 1970's the role of MP was very informal. The pay was bad and it was seen as a retirement job for many politicians. Now MP's have to be seen to do a lot of constituency work, and I know there have been people here arguing whether a person is suited for the job or not. Truth is,it doesn't matter a fuck whether they know what life is like on council estate or if they have "real life experience" or even if they have a good education and went to a private school, none of this shit matters! It's whether they can relate to the electorate.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yerascrote wrote: »
    Truth is,it doesn't matter a fuck whether they know what life is like on council estate or if they have "real life experience" or even if they have a good education and went to a private school, none of this shit matters! It's whether they can relate to the electorate.



    It matters entirely!

    This isn't the USA where being able to relate to the electorate is all you need in some sort of grotesque popularity contest. If you're going to be doing consituency work, or you're going to be part of any sort of decision making process then life experience is a necessity.

    My local MP is one of the most boring men on the planet. I voted for him because I know he does a good job, not because I relate to his circumstances or upbringing.
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