Please indulge me for a few minutes while I explain why I want to bring politics to this social media platform. I have spent 30 years in business helping people to be better. I have helped them to do the right thing, lead others and make good decisions. I have not judged them but supported them whilst they learned the necessary skills to do their jobs.
I believe that politics has a place on the Linkedin platform because all of us who are in business deal with real life issues ever day. Healthcare, the economy, trade policies, employment legislation, education and training are not separate from politics, they are politics! Those decisions affect the futures of every one of us.
I made assumptions that like good business people, politicians were skilled to carry out their duties. I also thought they were altruistic enough to think of their constituents before themselves. Their goal was to make peoples lives better, not in theory but in practice. There are a few that do that but if our political system has a failing it is that MPs put their party before their country. There have been a few exceptions but I have struggled to find integrity, honour or honesty in their dealings over the last 3.5 years.
My values are simple; fairness, equity and honesty. I am an absolute believer in democracy and I will admit I have found the whole Brexit dilemma a challenge. I still have faith in our constitution and the ordinary people who make the most of their lot and succeed in spite of what our politicians do.
Scandal after scandal has tainted our representatives in both houses of parliament and they have brushed over them and kept them contained. On the surface have managed the fallout. The expenses scandals, the vote rigging scandals, the political shenanigans, the allegations of sexual harassment and bullying, the blatant double standards, the nepotism and cronyism have all taken their toll and the victim has been the trust that voters have in their elected representatives. I have lost count of the number of times I have said "if they were employed by a company and did that they would be instantly dismissed".
I believe that our current clutch of MPs live in a metropolitan bubble. Untouched by everyday life and the decisions and challenges faced by ordinary people. While they think a hard days work is arguing the technicalities of a bill for electronic accounting systems, ordinary people struggle with the financial pressures of a zero hours contracts or making a choice between the bus fare to work and being able to turn the heating on when they get back home that night. The divide in our society has never been greater.
What was once a genuine empathy for constituents by their MP seems like empty virtue signalling now. A classic example of this came when they returned after the proroguing of parliament. MPs had to sit for the first time in 37 year, on a Saturday. They mentioned it several times in their opening remarks and the first thing they questioned was whether they should have additional money for childcare, after all they only get £80k per year plus extremely generous expenses. They also thanked the support workers for coming in on Saturday. The cleaners, the clerks and the porters, whose average salary is less than 1/3 of what they get paid. No suggestion was made that they should have extra cash for their child care.
I have decided to stand for parliament because something is seriously wrong with a system that sees MPs get subsidised lunches (including champagne if they want it) while some kids go to school without breakfast because their families can't afford breakfast club and may have an empty fridge at home. Our system that has allowed the vote of 17.4 million people to be openly ignored and actively overturned by a privileged class that has become unaccountable to those that put them there in the first place.
I want you (those that have read this far) to think about whether your MP lives up to your standards of how a public servant should behave. You and I pay their salaries, we should have a say in their performance. If we feel they are letting us down we should speak out. It is our apathy and disconnect that has allowed them to damage the reputation of our government in the way that they have for the last few years.
I voted leave and some of you will have voted to remain. I may not agree but I would defend your right to hold a different opinion. That is what democracy is. Whilst talking to a young mum recently her comment stopped me dead in my tracks. "I haven't got a great job, I don't have a lot of money and I live in a house that I don't own. The only thing I have is my vote, and they are trying to tell me that that doesn't count either anymore. What have I got left?"
Do I want to be a politician? NO!
But if I am elected at the forthcoming election I will be a public servant that people can trust. I will use my skills knowledge and principles to fight for those that put their faith in me, regardless of whether they hold the same opinion as me because it is the right thing to do.