Alan Johnson’s back story

David Osler on elitism in politics:

THERE is a new political cliché abroad. Large numbers of commentators are keen to point out that Alan Johnson – Britain’s new home secretary, and possibly its next prime minister – has got something called a ‘back story’.

Such a surfeit of backstory can only mean that Johnson is – oh, I can hardly bring myself to say the words – actually working class. Comes from a broken home. Grew up in a council flat. Left school at 15. Did a proper job as a postie.

These days, word that a leading politician has exactly the same background as millions and millions of other people is enough to make him stand out as a weirdo amid all those normal Old Etonians.

If you need a comment on just how socially unrepresentative politics has become, the apotheosis of Alan Johnson’s backstory tells you all you need to know. Why not just brand him a chav and have done with it?

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3 Responses to Alan Johnson’s back story

  1. asquith says:

    It is rare for an ordinary working-class person to get promotion because the normal avenues, such as the unions & promotion within the workplace, have been closed.

    So many people mourn the tragedy that things like welfare “reform”, tax rate for low-paid workers, indirect taxes, etc. are spouted about by people who don’t know the first thing about the struggle of these people.

    My fear is now that there is no realistic way to challenge the wonk ascendancy. Alan Johnson himself said that if a youther existed in his situation today, despite being gifted, he would stay at the bottom all his life.

    • cabalamat says:

      I fear you’re right. It doesn’t make sense that many MPs whent straight from university, to a researchers job, to being an MP. They should have experience of life outside politics.

      • George Carty says:

        I would suggest that any reforms of politics should include a law which states that no-one can run for local government without at least 2 years’ work experience not in politics, academia, law or company management. And 4 years’ experience for central government…

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