Privileged candidates?


I’m not sure what the Paintbrush line is on this sort of thing.

Apart from the case of Jonathan Krohn, I generally think it is good to see young people getting somewhere in politics. This particular individual’s connections in high places do not automatically disqualify her from potentially being a perfectly acceptable representative for the people of Erith and Thamesmead. I do not assume that just because she is her father’s daughter this means she cannot be an independent-minded voice in Parliament.

After all, the 25-year-old Tony Benn had his entry into politics handed to him on a plate thanks to his old man being a prominent Labour figure.

However, whilst I certainly think there is a sizeable element of green eyed monster syndrome to be found in some of the comments on this case, it has to be said that whiffs of nepotism will unfortunately reflect badly on the candidate and on the party’s system of all women shortlists (which we blokely blokes at the Paintbrush support).  

All women shortlists were introduced out of pragmatism as well as principle. It makes electoral sense for the party’s candidates to be seen as representative of the people (hopefully) sending them to Parliament. As a white, middle-class, privately and Oxbridge educated male I have no qualms in saying that there is a surplus of white, middle-class, privately and Oxbridge educated males in the Commons and steps need to be taken to rectify this situation.

In that spirit of ensuring our party is as representative as possible, Labour should be promoting candidates with backgrounds from outside the Westminster bubble and the political elite.

I’m not one to constantly whinge about politics being full of overambitious careerists, but I think it is legitimate to worry about Parliament being dominated by people who have come straight into politics after spells in law, lobbying,  academia, or simply working for one of the parties. Don Paskini once wrote a post on this subject with which I am inclined to agree.

This story is obviously going to be absorbed into the right-wing press’ ongoing narrative of politicians being a self-serving class increasingly detached from reality.

I’m not interested in the personal merits or demerits of any of the candidates – I’m sure that whoever wins the selection will be deserving of the support of all Labourites. But as a party we need to ensure that we are encouraging a diverse range of candidates to stand under the Labour banner and that we continue our historic mission of improving the political representation of working people.

Captain Jako



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