We read today that David Cameron wants to replace some members of his Downing Street backroom advisory team following the resignation of his director of communications, Andy Coulson.
Sadly, it surprises me not at all that every one of those I’ve seen reported as in the running for the new set-up is a Standard Chap…. all white, young middle-aged, reasonably wealthy men of a certain cut.
And even more sadly, the large majority of such advisors in the other political parties are of the same ilk, albeit in some parts of the political spectrum more than others.
Whenever will our leaders grasp that sieving public experience and opinion through such uniform-issue advisors is not only unhelpful to them as party politicians, but also to the nation which they seek, so they claim, to serve?
Only a fraction of people in the UK are white, male, middle-aged and well-off. How can advisors, drawn almost exclusively from this segment of the population, even half-believe they understand, and can interpret the experience of, the large majority of citizens who are not like them?
We all know about the problems said to arise from Clone Town Britain, but to my mind clone man backroom ‘advisors’ are an even greater obstacle to the future of real-life communities.
Comfort blankets to political leaders, these advisors may be. Representative of the experience and civic requirements of the larger part of the UK’s communities, they are not.
FB style ‘Like’… and agree!
Couldn’t agree more. I listened to a single mother being interviewed on the radio yesterday as IDS’s welfare reforms were unveiled. She very forcibly made the point that welfare to work was no use unless a) there was work available and b) in the absence of affordable childcare, that work was flexible enough to allow women like her to mix their working and child-care responsibilities. The interview which followed – a male/middle class government adviser speaking to a male/middle class radio interviewer – ignored her point entirely, they just banged on about how much better off she’d be if she was in work. Presumably the link between childcare and working hours has never crossed their minds and they didn’t feel it was worth addressing. As you say – time to widen the gene pool that policy advisers (and the media) are drawn from.