With the general election not long away, there have been many questions put forward to the political parties about representation within politics and in Parliament. The Labour Party brought out its manifesto for women, which I think is a step in the right direction. Politics I’ve been told is a difficult arena, where inequality is rife, I’d say that is false, however we do need more representation within Parliament. Politics should represent not the ideals, but the diversity and reality of what it is like to live in Britain today. We must do more to reflect the reality of Britain in Parliament.
Looking at some of the statistics of representation in the different parties is shocking. Many people say that politics is elitist, gender bias and representative of so many other ‘norms’. I’d agree with all of these statements. We are a diverse society. We have many cultures, religions, values, beliefs etc. The term ‘British values’ is being thrown around as is the term ‘hardworking’. But these two things are different in everyone’s eyes. What I think are British values, may not be to someone else. I’d call myself a hardworking person, but someone else may not think that. We need to represent diversity in Parliament, that way we represent the reality of Britain. We don’t all have the same views or the same preferences and politics affects everyone. Something that needs to be understood.
Elitism is a difficult concept to define. Some would say that politics is a place for the rich. That only the rich benefit. I think that politics has a lot of private school educated people within it. Do they really know what it’s like on the ground? I guess they’d have an inkling of understanding. The number of people who came from private schools into politics is shameful. Many came straight from university into politics too, seemingly they become ‘career politicians’. I’d say there is nothing wrong with that, they have experienced life to some degree. They sit up on their pedestals, way up high, but they have experienced life and we can’t wrong them of that.
Women weren’t allowed in Parliament until the 20th century and I still think that this is something that we are facing still today. There aren’t a lot of women in Parliament or senior positions within businesses. It’s a world for men. But it shouldn’t be. As much as this name bears a burden on people Margret Thatcher did rule the country. She did something right to get there. I won’t condone what happened but still, she made British political history. Since then, no woman has over done that. Women should get an equal chance in Parliament. The world should not be so patriarchal. No gender is superior. We are and should be equal. Men do ‘women’s jobs’ and women do ‘mens jobs’. It’s simple. Gender roles and stereotypes should be broken down. Margret Thatcher did it, so why won’t Parliament let women have the chance to do it again? We do just as good a job as men.
We need more representation of race, ethnicity and religion. There are not many BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) people within Parliament. We need more representation of sexuality. We need more representation of the ‘working class’, carers, those with disabilities and mental health problems. We need a Parliament that is representative of all within Britain, because if we keep the system the way it is, people will become more out of touch with politics than they already are. I think that the sooner we see broader representation in Parliament, the sooner we will see the change that we need!
We need to open the doors to diversity, that way we will get equality. It’s an idealist view, but still, we need to make it a reality, which is in my opinion an easy thing to do. Having people who have different experiences of life will make people stand up and listen. People will identify with candidates instead of feeling out of touch. I think that people feel that society and politicians are at two ends of the spectrum. We want these poles to be brought closer together. The sooner that is realised, the more representative Parliament will be.
People will want to stand for election to become an MP, because they will feel that they have a chance. If we feel that we have a chance then watch what happens. The numbers of people standing will rise. Aspirations are lifting within this country, in my opinion so I believe that it would happen. More people will vote too. Remember that what comes into force now affects young people. Young people will bear the brunt, so helping young people into politics ensures that the next generation’s voice is heard. We have experience of life being a young person, older people have had more time to gain experience, there is no difference, everyone’s experience is and should be valid.
We need an overhaul of the current system, because it just isn’t working. We feel under-represented, a change in the system can reverse that. So do it now, rather than later, or face a society that will either become passive to democracy or too active!
Do you think we need more representation in Parliament and a change or are you happy with the current system?