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Monday, 8 February 2010

Celebrity MPs and Parliament but who will really represent you?

I just got a twitter message pointing me to a posting on Christopher Lovell's blog, titled A Celebrity Parliament? After reading this, it got me thinking (always dangerous, I know).

Christopher is right, we have a few celebrity names coming forward or being discussed but for now let's take Liverpool Wavertree, where Jane Kennedy the Labour MP is standing down before the election, although I suspect her decision has been partly made because of the amazing camapign run by the Liberal Democrats candidate Colin Eldridge who is in a close second place and Labour are running scared.

Now, Labour have run their selection process to replace Jane Kennedy and have selected crisis hit Luciana Berger, you can read the story about her continuing crisis hit selection here.  She didn't know who Bill Shankly was for starters!

So annoyed with this Labour saga the actor Ricky Tomlinson has said he may stand for the Socialist Labour party.  Is that really the answer?

Then down in Luton South, Esther Rantzen announced she was standing as a candidate against Margaret Moran MP because of the expenses scandal that Moran got caught up in.  Margaret Moran has since announced she is standing down at the next election but Rantzen's campaign continues for now albeit like a roller coaster, up and down or on and off as time has shown.

However, there is already a Luton South local champion Qurban Hussain who does and will continue to stand up for Luton South.

Anyway what my questions is, arising from Christopher Lovell's blog post this morning, is will these celebrity candidates keep it all up for five years?

Will they be there when the local people want their weekly advice surgeries, needing urgent help or when they have to visit the police at 5am in a morning or sleep out all night with the people helping the homeless?

Are they up for the 70-80 hours per week minimum they will have to work, sometimes doing mundane things?  They won't have a national phoneline or an ever expanding team of staff to help them, the current allowance for MPs to staff their offices is around £80,000, not a large amount.

Will they continue to be interested when the cameras and journalists have all gone home, when the novelty and media coverage wears off?

A Parliament full of former actors and celebrities would not be good for democracy, and would certainly not be the Celebrity Big Brother House.  We need hard working, honest MPs who will stand up for the local people and be a champion for their constituents.

It's easy to attack the MPs on expenses (don't get me wrong, rightly so, it made me angry too) or because the wrong candidate was selected for an area, however the day to day hard work of some MPs is not easy to replicate who ever you are.

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