Letter: Here’s my list of new criteria MPs should pass before selection

This reader believes that there should be new criteria for MPs before they are selected. See if you agree with his list

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OnTheWight always welcomes a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below.

This from Peter Geach of East Cowes. Ed

People must be truly amazed by the incompetence of the chumps managing this country.  They are probably amazed themselves how their good intentions have gone so spectacularly wrong.  I feel sorry for them, but we can probably see the problem. 

Oscar Wilde had it in one ….. ‘Confidence through Ignorance’; to which could be added ‘Dogma’! It is telling to compare the education and training of some MPs with other Professionals:  Doctors, Nurses, Chartered Engineers, Scientists, Chemists, Mathematicians, Lecturers, Teachers, the Armed Forces, you name it.  

MP doing a good job
This may ‘chime’ with many OnTheWight readers and commentators whatever their political affiliation.

I hasten to add I’m not taking a pot at our MP, Captain Bob Seely, who meets pretty much the ‘criteria’ I’m going to propose. Reading his Newsletters he is doing a good job.  Whether you agree with his politics is another matter, which we endorse or not at Election time.

Lack of education and training process
Other Professionals go through a rigorous education and training process. 

They need a degree, a specific training process, and development of their skills and competence with increasing experience and responsibility; at all times being trained and monitored by qualified professionals in their calling. 

In this way the graduate under training eventually becomes a Qualified Professional.  At this point they are in their late twenties.  Before these newly qualified Professionals have real experience, with which comes understanding and competence, ready to move on, they will be in their mid thirties. Over their training they have learned how to think and the consequences of poor decision making.  They are well-rounded and by their mid-thirties good candidates to become an MP, if that is their calling. 

The Armed Forces provide another sound training and a well-rounded candidate.

Background and training of MPs
Let’s compare this with the background and training of MPs. 

Increasingly the route to becoming an MP is a degree in Politics, taking part in Students’ Union debates and getting noticed.  The lucky ones get picked to be MP Advisors, typically doing the donkey work: helping with constituency work, and easing the MP’s workload in any other way, freeing up the MP’s time for other matters. 

A marvellous apprenticeship in the workings of Parliament and an MP’s workload.  But ‘life experience’ by this route is in short supply! Not so as we have seen to  be the case with other the Professionals.

Too many MPs have taken ‘graduate route’
Other ‘routes in’ are experienced and established Barristers, Lawyers, Accountants, Company Directors, Local Government, the Armed Forces, etc; well educated and qualified candidates with spades of life experience; they know how to think and get things done. 

But I fear there are now too many MPs who have taken the ‘graduate route’.  And that’s the problem.

Everyone has their place at the table, but it must be proportionate and reflected in Cabinet.

Proposed criteria for MPs

  • The recognised rigorous Professional training regime; as briefly outlined above; required by ‘The Institutions’ for Chartered Membership.
  • Minimum Age for a Professionally experienced and qualified candidate, mid thirties, say 35.  Much younger and they are unlikely to have the depth of ‘Life Experience’ needed for being an effective MP.
  • Armed Forces career and experience; senior NCO or above.  Training and experience make these applicants highly desirable, relaxing formal education qualification requirements if necessary.
  • In general; all applicants must have held responsible and successful positions in their career.  These applicants with their experience should enhance Parliamentary decision making.
  • Live in their Constituency.  Surely it is only by this way the MP experiences and really understands the problems of his constituents.

What are your thoughts?
Just some thoughts, but surely we have to ensure we never again have such a bunch of chumps in charge deciding our future!

Maybe OnTheWight readers could expand on this, maybe if sufficient interest is shown OnTheWight could make a formal presentation to our MP.

Serious comments please; now’s your chance!  Nothing else to do during lockdown!

Image: tomsaint under CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, 6th January, 2021 6:05pm


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2oaU

Filed under: Election, Island-wide, Letter to the Editor, Politics

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35 Comments on "Letter: Here’s my list of new criteria MPs should pass before selection"

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A Frank Field character, whether male or female, of any political party–a person devoid of arrogance, unwavering in seeking fairness for all and someone who follows what’s right rather than a party political line for their own gain. Someone who may indeed have been in the forces but doesn’t constantly play on this.Someone indeed who lives here and has experienced the life of the ordinary person –not… Read more »
Steve Goodman

Which also links to the proven usefulness of using citizen’s assemblies to consider evidence and to achieve generally acceptable compromise, especially when dealing with our most controversial and divisive issues, and giving all voters a voice with proportional representation.


Easiest way is to vote for candidate reflecting your views


A modicum of common sense would be useful, and how about a degree of integrity and honesty?


Not sure many MP’s would meet those criteria.


Have lived in the constituency continuously for a minimum period for 5 years in order to qualify.

Had our MP lived on the Island, he may have had second thoughts about encouraging people from a highly infected mainland to a tier 1 Island. As a result of mainlanders coming over infection rates soared. According to the BBC they reported a couple of days ago we now had third highest infection rate in the country. It would be unfair not to also give credit to… Read more »
Interesting idea but question as to how enforceable it might be. But specifics: Age does not equate to experience. And experience does not equate to wisdom. Many people have years of experience and have learned nothing. Insistence on a degree will exclude large numbers of people who could properly represent parts of our society. Our frustration with our MPs rarely flows from their being under-educated. Boris Johnson… Read more »

Not sure Boris would, he’s been turfed out of Journalistic jobs


Not very successful as Foreign Secretary either. I recall him in the ‘House’ accusing the woman Journalist held by Iran as a spy! Later retracted. But the damage had been done. On this statement Iran recharged her with spying activities. She is still held in Iran. She has a daughter.


Wasn’t it while he was FS that he advocated a Nobel prize for Trump? (Is there anything left to say about either of them?!)


The Guardian suggested Johnson and Trump were kissing cousins!


While Foreign Secretary he also authorised yet more sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia, despite being shown the evidence that UK weapons were being used to kill civilians in Yemen. That alone disqualifies him in my view. He had blood on his hands even before the pandemic.


Without overseas sales; our Defence Industry would collapse! If we didn’t sell, US, France, Russia, you name them would. By making sales we could probably influence use by limiting spare parts etc.


Just heard on Good Morning Britain that Boris Johnsons father has had two jabs!! So thats the family!


Another essential criterion should be the ability to reply to constituents, in writing, with an answer (not just a ‘receipt’) within one week.


Andrew Turner and his Office surely set the bar here


Just a point for the Ed here… Pretty sure Bob isn’t allowed to use ‘Captain’ once his tenure in HM Forces ended.

Through Incompetence we now have: 1. A ‘Covid Isle’; a reputation that will deter holiday makers for a while. 2. Rip roaring infection rate. 3. Mixed messaging and a ‘do what I say, not what I do’ mentality. 4. Inability to get Industry and Commerce geared up; either for ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’. Reported in the Guardian today that a lorry driver when he drove off the… Read more »
A consensus seems to be emerging: The MP should live in the constituency. The MP should show career progression and success similar to the entry requirements of ‘The Institutions’. Progression and maturity should be commensurate with age. The MP should have a rounded life experience, be well read and educated to degree level or equivalent. And have successfully held down a position of responsibility. Entrance to MP… Read more »
Here is a fantasy list for you Peter. Must have successfully claimed Universal Credit. It’s really difficult and requires lots of determination. Keep your degrees and professional qualification this is a better test. Must have worked for minimum wage on a zero hours contract. Must have moved home at least 5 times in the past 10 years due to landlords terminating their leases. Must not attended Eton… Read more »

During Induction, new MP’s should have to go through the same form filling/claim process to obtain their expense allowances; and go through the same ‘queue’ process!


A good list! I wouldn’t rule out every single old Etonian, though. Some of them are alright – basically because they don’t assume they’re superior, and they get out and meet and talk with (not at or down to) so-called ‘ordinary’ people. I’m thinking of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as an example.


Need a broad church

Broadly, I am in agreement with the discussion points set out in the letter above. My only critical comment based upon my experience as someone who put themselves ‘through’ the self funded experience of university in my 40s and then again in mid my 50s at a different university, having come up against a’glass ceiling’ in my working life, is that possession of the award of a… Read more »

I agree a degree isn’t a necessity, but equivalence is. This could be experience, progression in their field; proven ability.


Proven ability as demonstrated how? Would Dido Harding, Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson, Michael Gove, Priti Patel pass the test? I am broadly sympathetic to the aims under discussion, but I can’t see any way past the oligarchy/chumocracy and the depressing studies that say the more people ‘achieve’, the more traits of psychopaths they tend to have. The US has had four years of Trump to confirm it.


Suggest take a real interest in Constituency/Council politics and vote for the best candidate, not just Party, but best candidate. Taht way we may break the impasse


That’s proven Disability! Surprised they don’t claim for it!!


While I agree with that has been written, none of this will stop self-interest


Especially while a blind eye is still turned to conflicts of interest (whose family recently popped up as directors of a hastily founded company to distribute the Covid vaccine…?)


But the conflicts of interest are not supposed to happen. The trouble now is that this government is ignoring the rules, by claiming that different rules apply in emergencies – that’s why they proposed their emergency legislation – which is the excuse used by many other authoritarian regimes.

Ever thought why Johnson was made Leader? He doesn’t appear to have much understanding of Democracy, 0r a successful career even though he was well placed. But he had an insatable ambition to become PM. Had a charasmatic ‘fellow well met’ personality. And was determined to drive BREXIT through with all the mayhem that would cause the market; and money making opportunity for the few. Was BREXIT… Read more »

Perhaps ‘Honourable’ is a misplaced term!