Your correspondent Edward Wheatley (Letters, November 21) thinks MPs shouldn’t be younger than 40. On that simplistic reasoning, why doesn’t he extend the same criterion to voters?
The big fallacy about understanding politics is that its only career professional MPs who practice it. Yet in reality everyone who votes or even thinks about life is a politician to some extent even if they themselves think they’ve got no interest in politics.
When voters groan about higher council tax, NHS problems, utility bills, the threat of joblessness or even rubbish collections they are in effect exercising a political viewpoint to a degree albeit it doesn’t follow the conventional interpretation of politics where personality politics and the fortunes of political parties are all that seems to be on the agenda when it comes to voting at General Elections.
Consequently the only difference between the professional MP in Westminster and ‘amateur’ voters in society is that the former are paid to practice politics whereas the latter are not and this is where Edward along with many other of your other correspondents should be careful about adopting this ever increasing popular cliché that elected politicians ‘are not in the real world’!
The problem is that many amateur politicians like Edward don’t appreciate that the priorities of Westminster politics are by and large unrepresentative of the needs of society as a whole because in the guise of competing party names its ultimately geared to protecting the interests of big business and profit in the forlorn hope it will suit the hope and aspirations of the majority.
This is why for example North West Norfolk Tory MP Henry Bellingham obviously felt compelled lately to explain and mitigate his outside business interests to the Lynn News!
So for this reason Edward is wrong about the need to implement any age barrier to political representation particularly at 40! Whether they go down the professional Westminster root or merely want to blast off locally for no financial reward the type of aspiring politicians we need are those of whatever age or social class can think for themselves, be uncommitted to any business or trade union activity which may cloud their judgment, understand basic global economics without being Oxford Dons and above all question everything without the fear of being sacked.
Southgate Court, Snettisham