Opinion: Ed Fordham’s Career Choice

Last night my Dad rang me all concerned about my career choices. I stood in the general election of 2005 and am planning to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn at the next election – whenever it comes.

My Dad’s concern was pretty simple: why would I want to join a club of such scoundrels, hasn’t the career of politician been devalued and he was concerned that people get caught up in the maelstrom of the noise and the club-atmosphere and accept as the norm what in fact is wrong.

I believe politics is a calling – that the opportunity to represent your area and the people in it is an amazing honour. And there is so much I want to do in my community – so many people who want help, assistance and advice and the office of local MP enables that to happen.

But right now it feels like the most stupid option available.

I understand that when you are elected to represent your area and yet the office is in London then you need somewhere to stay. I understand that mortgage payments work out cheaper than hotel payments, that the cost of maintaining two homes is high. Indeed when I currently go out of London to work work pays for the hotel and I get a meal allowance each day. But the distinction is that I don’t own the hotel at the end of it!

In 1997 when several Labour candidates were elected in the tide of change there were a few low level muttered comments about some people having to take career changes unexpectedly and by association pay cuts. But what none of us fully twigged was that in fact whilst salaries for MPs were reasonable for London and indeed high by the national average, the real income was disguised by the practise of allowances and claims.

My Dad has joked in the past that at least if I was elected I would become wealthy. My response has always been that the salary was good but not on the scale of the city, that I wouldn’t be employing relatives to do no work (I won’t employ relatives at all) and that it was huge role with serious responsibilities.

Having become politically active in the Thatcher years I had always assumed that the wealth that appeared to flow to some MPs came from previous business interests and subsequent board-room appointments – it’s clear that was the case. But it’s also clear that the expenses regime has been a cover as well and that reform is long overdue.

So I’m going to be ringing my Dad back. I’ll tell him about the attempts at reform, I’ll talk to him about Sarah Teather MP and Norman Baker MP, I’ll seek to reassure him that if elected I’ll seek to do what they do – what they think what is right rather than what they are allowed to do by the rules. The House of Commons has been a club with the rules established by the two old parties – I’m a liberal, I believe in reform, I believe in the power of people and the rights of man, I believe in fairness.

I hope to win, I’m going work hard for the prize – but the prize is not my becoming an MP, the prize is my chance to help the area I live in and assist the people I would represent. I hope that this spectacle of humiliation and disgrace doesn’t damage the calling – democracy matters – at least in this country we can vote scoundrels out and replace them with our own alternative.

Ed Fordham is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn at the next general election. You can find him on his blog, website, youtube account, twitter account, flickr account, facebook or Newsnight, later this evening.

Read more by or more about , , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/14461 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

3 Comments

  • I hope you talked to your dad before you told the rest of us!

    Ed I have huge admiration for you and like you politics is and should be an admirable profession.

    It needs more people with your thinking (I hesitate at saying more people like you as I am hoping you are unique!)

    Good luck in the campaign ahead

    And tell your dad not to worry so much – there are worst things we could be 😉

    Mark

  • Martin Land 13th May '09 - 9:41pm

    Well, Ed, you’ve made your trough…

  • As Mrs Merton might have put it:
    “What first attracted you to a profession which allowed you to claim £20k+ expenses with loosely regulated and generously interpreted rules” :-)

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 1st Jul - 5:14am
    I used to be an OU tutor, and I had during that time I had two students (different years, different prisons) who were prisoners. This...
  • User AvatarSammy O'Neill 1st Jul - 2:37am
    Vote still in decline then. Amazing that we're at the point of viewing parish council results as even remotely important. Fact is the national party...
  • User AvatarJohn Innes 1st Jul - 2:26am
    Good question Alastair - deserves a response!
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 1st Jul - 2:15am
    By the way, I don't want to derail, so keep on the topic of the veto. But the point remains the same: if things change...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 1st Jul - 2:11am
    What happens if the Lib Dems need to change policy at short-notice? Organising a conference to vote on things often takes too long. Surely it...
  • User Avatarkevin 1st Jul - 1:53am
    'We can all but honour ours and face a massive trust issue.' Get real, we didn't please stop deluding yourself it's ridiculous.
Wed 1st Jul 2015
Thu 2nd Jul 2015
Fri 3rd Jul 2015
Sat 4th Jul 2015
10:00
10:00
Sun 5th Jul 2015
03:00
Mon 6th Jul 2015
Wed 8th Jul 2015
Thu 9th Jul 2015
Fri 10th Jul 2015
Sat 11th Jul 2015
Sun 12th Jul 2015
Thu 16th Jul 2015
Sat 18th Jul 2015
Sun 19th Jul 2015
Thu 23rd Jul 2015
Sat 25th Jul 2015
Sun 26th Jul 2015
Mon 27th Jul 2015