It's really only in a minicab that I occasionally catch ten minutes of Iain Dale on the radio these days; too little, for I genuinely enjoy listening to him and radio is a natural medium for Iain. Alas, unless he moves to Radio 4 (taking over Jim Naughtie's spot on 'Today'?) I must make a special effort to tune the computer to LBC for particular shows or debates. I write this by way of preface as I am out of touch with Iain's views on certain subjects these days, and indeed his views may have shifted, just as mine have done, on various topics in the years since his diamond blog ruled the political interweb. However, back in the day, one of my most fundamental points of disagreement with Iain was over his support of politics as a profession, for career politicians, with a career structure, professional standards, education and training just as for barratry or medicine or pest control.
The idea of career politicians has always been anathema to me; though not quite as far as the Chartists, who would have limited individuals to a single year in Parliament with no return visits. Parliament, I've always held, is somewhere a person should end up after having achieved something elsewhere in life, not instead of. And MPs should be rooted in their constituencies, not blow-ins such as the truly revolting Luciana Berger. And they should all be able to claim, as Sir Patrick Cormack did, that it was 'Country, constituency, party. In that order.'
Of course a month ago Andrew Burnham declared on live TV that 'The party always comes first' (to be corrected by a quick thinking Elizabeth Kendall 'Er, the country always comes first'). Here I think Burnham was being honest and Kendall the disingenuous SpAd. Isabel Hardman has a good piece in the Speccie as to why this sort of political professionalism is a real turn-off for the public; we simply don't want 'professional politicians' and we prefer ordinary folk with feet of clay and just a single kitchen.
It's not just in the UK that we're fed up with professional politicians; just look at the rise of the amateur insurgent parties across Europe - Podema, Syriza and all the rest - and of course this is a major attraction of Farage. We are seeing, to their shock and surprise, the professional political class being turfed out of office from Scotland to Slovenia. Corbyn is perhaps the most cathartic manifestation of that trend in the UK; his support is not support for his daft Socialist Worker nonsense manifesto but because he is not Yvette Cooper or Andrew Burnham or Elizabeth Kendall.
The Indie's daily cartoon is well worth reproducing. But who's surprised? After the previous whitewashes, the British public were promised an enquiry under a Chairman who would represent the British people. John Chilcot is not that man. The delay - wholly avoidable - means that whatever he now produces is tainted by our perception of him as representing not the public but the Establishment.
Have a good weekend all.