Open up MPs’ closed shop

May 14, 2015

Nine out of 10 new MPs in the House of Commons are graduates, 26 per cent hold an Oxbridge degree and 28 per cent went to another Russell Group university (“New Commons still has high proportion of Russell Group graduates”, 10 May). More troubling for me, however, is the lack of candidates and potential candidates attracted to politics from professions relating to technology and commerce, whether recruited from humble or privileged backgrounds.

I suspect that family affluence and traditions largely aid the typical parliamentary career progression, through fees for the desirable independent schools, or via neighbourhoods that contain the best performing state schools, so giving access to the more prestigious universities.

Thereafter, politically minded candidates seemingly move on to Oxbridge to study philosophy, politics and economics, law or arts, then move into the traditional professions or directly into earmarked junior political posts.

The trend appears most pronounced among the Conservatives and perhaps relates to traditional social groups dominating the constituency parties in charge of selecting MP candidates.

If a little less so, the other traditional parties still seem similarly captured by this conventional social mobility hindrance.

Perhaps the UK should establish a few prestigious technical universities that would be supportive of the high-quality industrial research and development organisations that could help to improve the social development of the kind of MP candidates necessary for improved parliamentary balance.

W Speedway
Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

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