I hope that Mr. L.K. Advani reads this post. Now I understand how it is that there is public disdain for politicians in India. We follow the Westminster system of democracy. Change the names and numbers in this extract from an article in The Independent, and we can say the same things about many of our worthies in the government and in the opposition in our parliament.
“Politicians find themselves enveloped in public disapproval. One new MP told a colleague that the hardest part of the job was coping with the disdain of the public. A cabinet minister had remarked: “Out there, they think we are self-serving shits.” Why is this? And is it an unavoidable consequence of our system of parliamentary democracy?”
“Unfortunately, for some years now our political system has propelled a stream of incompetents into high office. Note what Chris Mullin, the former Labour MP, said of John Prescott in his recently published diaries when he was one of the great man’s junior ministers. “4 January 2000. The JP of the new millennium is unchanged. Still interfering in every pettifogging little decision. Nothing too trivial to command his attention… except, of course, the big picture.”
“The primary reason for the poor quality of government ministers is that, in our system of government, they are selected exclusively from members of the majority party in Parliament, a small pool of just 300 or so people who have mastered political marketing and self-promotion – and not much else. As a result, only rarely will the secretaries of state have the attributes required for running their departments, which are complex organisations. Mr Cable was an economist before entering politics. Mr Cameron worked in the Conservative Party’s research department and then in public relations. Mr Clegg was a European civil servant.
“Yet we, who complain so bitterly about the quality of our elected representatives, control the entrance gate into the Palace of Westminster. Every one of the 650 MPs we affect to despise must come before us and seek our support at successive general elections. We could, if we wished, insist that our candidates had done something worthwhile with their lives before being elected to Parliament.
“I tried to follow this principle at the general election last May. I used local knowledge, I studied the candidates’ leaflets, I scrutinised their websites and I watched their videos with only one end in mind: to choose the person most likely to raise the quality of the House of Commons regardless of party. It wasn’t easy because the candidates revealed very little about themselves. But this is where the job of getting a better House of Commons and better governments has to start. Only then might we stop thinking of MPs as “self-serving shits”.