|MPs R Us: visiting Parliament reveals a very human mix of personalities and behaviours
||[Nov. 26th, 2009|11:05 pm]
Keith Halstead and Tim Hood
We’ve seen the headlines, read the comment threads, heard the conversations in the pubs and over the dinner table: MPs are not like us, they are not good people.|
A quick Google search for the phrase ‘MPs are Scum’ gives 137,000 results.
A similar search using the word ‘Vermin’ returns 40,900, the C-word gets 25,000 and ‘MPs are Bastards’ tops them all with 183,000. Admittedly, sometimes it is the odd MP calling other people scum but most of the time the abuse is aimed firmly their way.
Here’s one that stands out: http://raedwald.blogspot.com/2009/05/lets-trash-these-troughing-scum.html
“These MPs are scum. They are thieves. Their avarice, their grasping mendacious filthy peculation of public funds, their troughing porcine deception, their self-serving self-righteous....”
There’s more but you get the picture.
Intrigued, as we all are by evil and nastiness, this week I ventured into the Commons to meet five of these ‘troughing scum’ and here’s what I found:
-An MP who was obviously so tired he was struggling to keep his eyes open but who still managed to chair a meeting and to ask some intelligent questions .
-A genuinely warm and open young MP who was quieter than usual and who seemed pre-occupied at the meeting. She later tweeted that she was ‘ a bit miffed at being dropped from the BBC Question Time panel at 48hrs notice-because of the Iraq enquiry’. I’d be disappointed too.
-An MP who talked about locking himself in his house and drawing the curtains in the face of a barrage of press attention, and of the effects of all this on his family. This MP is very respected by a great many entrepreneurs and innovators for his willingness to listen to their problems.
-A down to earth and deeply committed woman who breaks all the stereotypes of how a typical MP looks, talks and behaves. If it wasn’t for all women shortlists, she almost certainly wouldn’t even be an MP.
-An ‘old school’ MP who is incredibly knowledgeable about China and Vietnam and who clearly wants to see the UK act as a force for good in those countries. What struck me was that he didn’t have a computer anywhere in his office , so no fancy gadgetry for him on expenses.
All these people were very different in personality, behaviour and politics but they all seemed to share a commitment to serving the public and their country. They have one other thing in common: they are not scum.
Are most of MPs flawed? Certainly. But then, aren’t we all? Help us find Britain’s best MP by interviewing them with your questions- find out how by clicking here.