Good old fashioned hands on experience just can’t be beat

People are disillusioned with politicians.   They screwed up.  Expenses, Banks, outrageous public spending, public spending cuts, austerity measures, scandals, sleaze, spin, the list goes on.  We screwed up. We voted for them.

Politics has become a career choice (albeit a less lucrative one since the expenses scandal).  It never used to be.  There was once a time when you had your career, whether in business or public service,  then you went in to politics.  As a consequence politicians knew how to deal with people, how to get things done (rather than just simply hold an enquiry to appease or form yet another committee).  They certainly were not immune from the corruption caused by the lust for power ( that has always been there and always will be) but at least they had experience of the real world that they could take in to politics to make things happen, to effect change, to do something.

Nick Clegg is a prime example.  A career bureaucrat, civil servant and politician.  Other than a brief stint as an Office Junior between studies and a couple of writing posts he has made a career out of politics.  He took his first job with the European Commission five years out of his studies.

I have no issue with Nick Clegg (yet).  He has done nothing wrong.  It is the system that is wrong and it is a system that we have allowed to evolve.  You can do a political sciences degree, get a job as a researcher and before you know it you are a front bench MP.  If all your experience is based on theory, how you respond in practice will be sorely tested,  yet you have no margin for error and the rest of us suffer as a consequence.

In some jobs you just can’t beat good old-fashioned, real life, hands on experience.  Politics is a prime example of where such experience ought to be a pre – requisite.

Politicians are running the country.  They are making decisions that affect us all.  Experience is essential.  It is not a training ground and nor should it be.  Our politicians should have to evidence hands on, practical business or public service experience (not as a bureaucrat or civil servant but as someone who got stuff done, a nurse, doctor, policeman, soldier,  teacher, someone who made things happen, who made a difference.  Knowing how to get things done is enormously powerful.  Make sure your MP has the experience that in your view qualifies him or her to get the job done.  Only then can we start to restore faith in our political system.


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