Life at the top is not all tea ’n talk

Miliband: Time to get back to civilisation.
Miliband: Time to get back to civilisation.
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CONFERENCE season is over and it’s back to the day job for our politicians.

Soon they’ll be filing into the refined hallways of the Houses of Parliament and knuckling down to a hard day’s debating.

What a life!

I know, I know. It’s not all tea and talk.

It’s a tough life at the top.

But nobody, not even the most pompous politician, could surely have the nerve to suggest it is like a proper job.

One where you are expected to be at your desk at a certain time, get half an hour lunch break and get through a certain amount of work.

Oh, yes. And you only get four or five weeks’ holiday a year.

Crikey. I’ve just thought of something else. You don’t have a gold-plated pension either.

One that the Government hasn’t suddenly discovered it can’t afford and wants to move the retirement goalposts.


The life of an MP is not an ordinary life.

And that’s a good thing.

Because you only had to tune in to the conference debates which have kept the telly politics pundits busy for the last three weeks, to realise that these are rather special men and women.

They are bright. I will grant that.

They are passionate. Well, some of them. And you can’t knock anyone for being zealous for what they believe.

And there is another factor which sets them apart.

They are, without an exception, all well off.


Some more so than others.

But I have yet to spot an MP with holes in his shoes.

It’s a well-paid job (we know about the perks after the expenses scandal) and they are well-looked after in their workplace.

Particularly well off are our gifted leaders. Of all three parties.

They’ve never wanted for anything.

I’d be surprised if they check price tickets at Tesco before buying Brand A over Brand B in the baked beans aisle.

They are given the red carpet treatment when on official business

And that is why I think the political system we have lets us down.

You see, after all these years of democratic advancement we are no further on than when the mill bosses told us to jump and we meekly asked: “How high?”

Are you telling me that David Cameron knows what it’s really like to hug a hoodie? Did he actually go out and personally pick those teenagers filmed free running around No 10?

Nope. It’s all gesture.

But, I can hear you say, they get a taste of reality when they are back in their constituencies.

That is when they touch base with the man and woman in the street.

They are the precious moments which keep their feet firmly planted on the ground.

I expect it is, for some.

But I was surprised when I read in the paper yesterday that Doncaster North MP and Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband’s surgery this afternoon was by appointment-only.

No room for surprises, I expect. And the whole affair lasts just 40 minutes, from 3.30pm to 4.10pm.

I suppose he has to catch the 4.14 back to civilisation.