There has been a lot of talk the last couple of days about the cost of trying to become both a candidate and to get elected as an MP or MSP in Scotland and the U.K.
In 2015 it cost £34,000 to try to win a seat and in 2017 £35,000 and even more if you happen to a be a Tory. To stand you not only have to be selected, which is tough enough, but you also need to pay £500 to even stand. You get it back if you get 5% of the vote.
You also need an election agent and pretty much a team behind you. This just makes it all the more difficult to get elected and therefore more risky to stand when you have bills to pay etc let alone if your face fits if you are in a party.
Now we also know that poor people in the main don’t vote. There are links between education, or lack of, and voting that is clear. But I also think that when you look at parliament and you don’t see your own kind so to speak you don’t see anyone speaking for you.
In 2010 just over 50% of those elected took a pay cut when they became an MP and that tells you a great deal about who gets elected. Just under 50% of MPs in 2017 were privately educated, Roughly 84% went to university with 114 having went to Oxford. Is it any wonder poor people don’t stand and don’t vote.
As we see the rise of the right both here and in other countries, as we have become used to the so called working class in parties like Labour embracing the unelected House of Lords, people feel alienated from the political system. The result of that are policies such as austerity making the poor pay for the mistakes of the rich, we see the demonisation of the poor for being poor and when you would hope that someone in elected office would speak for them there is no one there, or very few, who actually do or even understand what being poor means.
Our politics are broken, our parties are rarely our parties any more and the cost of winning an election is as unaffordable to the majority as it has ever been.
As I said our politics are not only rigged, they are broken.