Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Representativeness of Parliament

The BBC reports on a recent discussion in Parliament about the (lack of) representativeness of the general population its MPs provide.

All three straight white male leaders of the major political parties were questioned on the subject, and all gave similar answers. It's interesting, and hopeful, that there is a broad consensus among the party leaders that the current state of Parliament is not suitable for representing the population, and that all parties need to do more to ensure a more diverse set of future candidates.

Whether any of this is going to have any actual effect will remain to be seen. There seem to be lots of words and much less planned action from all three parties, as well as a fair amount of denial of responsibility for the problem. At this stage, too, most of the candidates will already have been selected.

The reaction from the internet has been fairly predictable: "people should be elected on their merits", "best person white man for the job", etc. There's a fairly big flaw in that argument which I'll dissect later.