Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A political elite

Having seen US politics and British politics, there seems to be a  obvious and crucial difference, which currently appears to be benefiting America’s political system – the reputation of politicians.
As many of you may agree, I prefer the British political system, but I do not prefer the British politicians. It seems obvious that the US politicians are far more tribal and less compromising  (US debt crisis) – I’m not sure you will ever get a coalition style of government in the US, like we have seen in the UK. Similarly, I don’t think that you would ever get a gridlock of government in the UK, as seen in the US. The British system works and possibly the USA system does not always work. However the American politicians have a far better reputation, but why?
In my view,the answer lies the British politicians being politicians. Looking across the Atlantic, there seems to be a situations where being a politician isn’t as demeaning as it is in Britain. From what I understand, the status quo in the US is that the congressmen are often already familiar with their constituents by the time they become congressman. They almost certainly will have worked in that geographical area for years, becoming aware of the needs of that constituency. It must be noted though, that this is partly made possible though, because of the weakness of the US parties. The election system which involves primaries, means elections particularly candidate centered, and therefore they need to win votes from their constituency – how do they do that? Well they listen and do what’s requested of them, or they wont get reelected, even if they are popular within the party
So, return back to Britain, and these important differences become obvious. A common phrase used to describe the problem is a “political elite”. This has come around, because people genuinely feel like politicians are out of touch with the public, which evidently isn't the case in the USA. Maybe the more important question though, is why are politicians so out of touch? Well sadly, in this country, politics is now a career choice. MP’s, in particular will have entered politics early and not worked in their constituency, they are unaware of the real needs of the community until their election campaign. The MP’s aren’t local business men and women and have not been based in this area for years, and so the people begin to feel they don’t really know their representatives. Now it must be said that, contrary to the US, the British political parties are strong in Britain.The parties have far more control over candidates, they are placed in constituents where parties want them to be, they may have never been to this location before and they are whipped to vote along party lines – occasionally against their constituency wishes.

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