Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Compulsory canvassing for special advisers

Hazel Blears has been making speeches about the need for 'democratic renewal', and expanding the number of people who get involved in politics who are not 'career politicians'. I thought I'd offer one modest observation which might assist.

As an ambitious young man with political ambitions who'd just left university, Barack Obama decided to take up a job working with people who were marginalised and disengaged from party politics. My idea is that we should make it more enticing for people who have political ambitions in Britain to do similar kinds of jobs.

At the moment, as Blears notes, it is possible to have a career in politics where every job involves talking and working almost exclusively with other people who are politically active. Think tanks, working for MPs, non-government pressure groups all offer well paid, flexible and agreeable jobs which are worthwhile and rewarding, and help people develop their political careers through networking etc. Being a lawyer (like Hazel Blears and many other MPs) offers many of the same benefits, as do a few other professions. There is also a clear career progression which runs something like doing student politics > working for an MP > councillor > working for a lobby group/think tank > special adviser > MP.

I don't disapprove of any of this, but one important omission is that there is a real shortage of jobs (and career development opportunities) which are about democratic renewal, organising in communities, running local campaigns, getting people involved in the democratic process, recruiting volunteers to campaign politically, training community leaders and other activities which involve working, living and socialising with people who aren't already politically engaged. Here, for example, is what the Industrial Areas Foundation in the USA does.

One particular advantage of this is that the job opportunities that are currently available for politically interested people are overwhelmingly aimed at university graduates, whereas grassroots organising jobs wouldn't necessarily be (being able to speak one or more community languages, for example, might well be a greater advantage than having a politics degree).

In addition, over time the creation of a sizeable community organising sector would have other positive benefits. After the first few times when special advisers, think tankers or lawyers backed by the Great and the Good get absolutely destroyed in selection meetings by people who are active in their local communities with skillz in campaigning, recruiting people and mobilising volunteers, word would get round that this kind of experience is vital for wannabe politicians - exactly as it should be.

Because there is nothing wrong with being a politician, and the idea that things would be better if we had more representatives who had so-called 'real world experience' but no political skills is daft - all that would happen is that their officials and the other politicians would run rings round them and they would be figureheads. But political skills, particularly for lefties, aren't just about knowing the right people in Westminster, understanding the current political system or putting together an interesting pamphlet, but about having experience and the skills to inspire, mobilise and organise people who are marginalised or excluded and empower them to campaign for change. And I rather suspect (though would be happy to be proved wrong) that there is hardly anyone working at the Department of Communities and Local Government or who is a special adviser to any department who has those skills.

So my idea is this. We freeze at current levels the number of people who are employed across the progressive movement whose job it is to talk to other members of the current or future political elite, and our MPs, unions, think tanks, NGOs and the Labour Party itself dedicates itself to raising money, hiring and training a whole new generation of people whose job it will be to talk to and work with people who aren't currently engaged or interested in politics. And, who knows, that way we might even get our very own Barack Obama.


At 4:47 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

Surprise, surprise, I agree.

Btw, have you seen that Obama has the coolest secret service nickname in Presidential history?

At 5:04 am , Blogger will said...


麻將,台灣彩卷,六合彩開獎號碼,運動彩卷,六合彩,線上遊戲,矽谷麻將,明星3缺一,橘子町,麻將大悶鍋,台客麻將,公博,game,,中華職棒,麗的線上小遊戲,國士無雙麻將,麻將館,賭博遊戲,威力彩,威力彩開獎號碼,龍龍運動網,史萊姆,史萊姆好玩遊戲,史萊姆第一個家,史萊姆好玩遊戲區,樂透彩開獎號碼,遊戲天堂,好玩遊戲,遊戲基地,無料遊戲王,好玩遊戲區,麻將遊戲,好玩遊戲區,小遊戲,遊戲區,電玩快打,cs online情趣用品,情趣,情趣商品,A片,AIO交友愛情館,AIOAV女優,AV,A漫,免費A片,本土自拍,自拍,愛情公寓,情色,情色貼圖,色情小說,情色小說,情色文學,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,色情遊戲,色情影片,情色網,色情網站,微風成人區,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人,18成人,成人影城,成人圖片區,成人圖片,成人貼圖,成人文章,成人小說,UT聊天室,聊天室,豆豆聊天室,哈啦聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,080中部人聊天室,080聊天室,中部人聊天室,080苗栗人聊天室,苗栗人聊天室,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊,視訊聊天室,視訊聊天情趣用品,情趣,情趣商品,愛情公寓,情色,情色貼圖,色情小說,情色小說,情色文學,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,色情遊戲,AIO交友愛情館,一葉情貼圖片區,情色論壇,色情影片,色情網站,微風成人區,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人,18成人,成人影城,成人圖片,成人貼圖,成人圖片區,成人文章,成人小說,A片,AV女優,AV,A漫,免費A片,自拍,UT聊天室,聊天室,豆豆聊天室,哈啦聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,080中部人聊天室,080聊天室,080苗栗人聊天室情趣用品,情趣,情趣商品,愛情公寓,情色,情色貼圖,色情小說,情色小說,情色文學,色情,做愛,寄情築園小遊戲,色情遊戲,AIO交友愛情館,AIO,色情影片,情色網,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人,18成人,成人影城,成人圖片,成人貼圖,成人圖片區,成人文章,成人小說,成人電影,麗的色遊戲,自拍,A片,AV女優,AV,A漫,視訊交友網,視訊,視訊交友,免費視訊聊天室,免費視訊,視訊聊天,視訊聊天室,UT聊天室,聊天室,豆豆聊天室,哈啦聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,中古車,二手車情色貼圖,日本A片,A片下載,情色A片,AV女優,A漫,免費A片,微風成人,成人網站,成人光碟,嘟嘟成人網,成人,成人影城A片,A片,A片下載,做愛,成人電影,18成人,日本A片,情色小說,情色電影,成人影城,自拍,情色論壇,成人論壇,情色貼圖,情色,免費A片,成人,成人光碟


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home