Yesterday Parliament reconvened, and parliamentarians on all sides were at pains to demonstrate how important it was that there were more women MP’s there now were. And whilst it is A VERY GOOD THING INDEED that our elected representatives are more representative of the population they serve, with 32% of them being women, I do have a couple of issues with it.
Just because an MP happens to be a woman, is that a good thing. I’m not being misogynistic here, but why on earth should an MP’s gender matter? Shouldn’t their values, or principles or convictions matter more than what’s between their legs?
What seems of more importance to me is the both the social background and ethnic diversity of all the MP’s we’ve returned to Westminster. I mean, if a majority of those women went to public school and then to Oxbridge, is that really such a good thing? If the majority of them are white and heterosexual does that reflect 21st Century Britain? How many of them are disabled?
The figures for this parliament, are, bizarrely, not yet publicly available. I write bizarre because in this internet age, when information is meant to be freely and readily available, this information should be available on the respective political parties own websites, pretty much after ebbing elected, if not before it. After all, they are in theory meant to represent us. However according to a report cited by the BBC in
Almost a third (32%) of MPs in the new House of Commons went to private school, according to an analysis by an education charity.
Of these, almost one in 10 went to Eton, suggests the Sutton Trust study.
Among Conservative MPs, nearly half (48%) were privately educated, the report indicates.
“If Parliament is truly to represent the whole nation, the best people should be able to become MPs, regardless of social background,” said Sutton Trust chief executive Dr Lee Elliot Major.
Only 7% of the UK population have a have a private education, yet those fortunate to have gone to Oxbridge make up a disproportionally large amount of our MP’s (2015 intake) and half of Cabinet posts (2015 intake). Indeed one’s chances of succeeding life increase dramatically if you had a private education. So who exactly are they representative of? Who have been instrumental in helping shape their political opinions? And how large – or small – is the circumference of their social circle? Who is in it? These things matter, much more than simple gender because, as the Guardian reports
Just one in 100 members of the UK public was educated at Oxbridge, however graduates from those two universities make up 75% of senior judges, 59% of cabinet posts, 57% of permanent secretaries, 50% of diplomatics, 47% of newspaper columnists, 44% of public body chairs and 33% of BBC executives.
Don’t get me wrong, electing more women Map’s is great and everything, but should it not be seen as a sign of how progressive we are as society, but instead as sign of we are focusing on the wrong thing!