13 December 2006

Ignorant Politicians

I am currently stuck in Bermuda - I had hoped to leave last night, but I cannot leave until tomorrow night, so when I get home on Friday I will have been away from the twins for 10 nights - I hope they still remember me...
However, the relative peace of the last few afternoons have allowed me to watch a bit of internet TV on 18 Doughty Street. Generally, I thought it was excellent - although to a certain extent, I think it would work just as well on radio (I have it on in the background) - although I am sure the lure of appearing visually is a factor in attracting the broad range of guests appearing on the various shows - and it is also fun to see what all these people look like.
My heckles were raised at one point when Iain Dale was asking Jo Swinson, a Libdem MP (and their shadow Sec. of State for Scotland), about her being the youngest member of Parliament. She became an MP at the tender age of 25 or 26... she said that it was important to "ask lots of questions" such as what is a statutory instrument. I find it depressing that anyone should seek to become a member of the legislature without a working knowledge of one of two principal types of legislation.
Is this simply a clear example of how paying relatively low salaries to MPs attracts a low calibre of person? I assume that young Jo never previously earned more than about half her current salary before becomming an MP (and for a 24/25 year old, £30k is not a bad wage, so I don't mean that in an insulting way), and so is delighted with her current wedge.
After reading out my email, Iain Dale said he thought her admission was "refreshing". I find it odd that someone who (according to her website) has been involved in politics since 1997 could know so little about the process.

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