Chris Deerin, writing about Britain's two best politicians (his are Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson) rather sums up our problem with political entitlement:
Our politics has a crisis of leadership. The traditional route to eminence – private education or the tonier state establishments, PPE at one of the big two, spad, MP, junior minister, Cabinet – has produced a generation of entitled, charisma-free, playbook-driven drones. Look at the front bench of the Labour Party and pick out a single individual with whom you’d like to have a drink, who appeals on a basic, human level, who doesn’t strike you as a bit, well, weird. So much for the People’s Party.
It hardly needs saying that the Tories are equally odd. Thatcher’s party of meritocracy, with its focus on the responsible strivers of the working and middle class, has fallen back into the uncalloused hands of gilded scions of privilege. The front bench reeks of money.
Now I feel Chris, in his urge to create a journalistic dichotomy, has rather ignored some of the more interesting front-benchers (Sajid Javed and Rachel Reeve stand out, for example) but his observation has resonance. And it's true that Chris's best politicians are mighty impressive.
However, the problem still lingers. Out campaigning I'm chatting to a lovely student helping out. Bright, intelligent, studying law. "Planning on being a lawyer?" I ask. "No," comes the reply, "I want to work in politics." I let this ride rather than screaming and telling the student to get a proper job, do the politics as a volunteer, stand for council. But I know that a career is there for the ambitious.
So dear friends - especially the young ones who have the choice, remember what P J O'Rourke said about Daniel Patrick Moynihan (as careerist a US politician as you could find):
Daniel Patrick Moynihan is the archetypal extremely smart person who went into politics anyway instead of doing something worthwhile for his country.