Letters: Political apathy, resignation, and some possible solutions

I did laugh at Gloria De Piero’s attempts to find out why everyone hates politicians (Report, 1 January). I didn’t find any comments reflecting my feeling that too many politicians only want to hear views that agree with theirs. In 2004 I refused to sign the new GP contract introduced by the Labour party, and at a meeting with my local MP, Margaret Hodge, was told by her as if by a teacher to a child: “Why don’t you keep quiet! I want to listen to other opinions. Not yours when you’ve just told me you’ve resigned.”

I was a long-term member of the Labour party until Tony Blair. I considered standing against Hodge as an independent, having grown up, lived, been schooled and worked as a GP in Barking and Dagenham. Then I thought: “What’s the point?” That wasn’t apathy, just resignation that the ruling classes of today have no intention to see any real change and are there largely to protect their own interests whatever political allegiance they claim. Only the independents have any integrity.
Ken Uncle
Dagenham, Essex

• Your article predictably focuses on issues around the MPs’ expenses scandal and the boorish behaviour on show at PMQs. This is revealing in what it doesn’t say: and that’s the commitment by all three main parties to neoliberalism, an ideology that favours big business and the super rich over ordinary people. This inevitably encourages apathy and disengagement. New Labour managerialism and its commitment to a slightly “gentler” form of austerity is no solution.

Anti-politics is not inevitable and people need to believe that they can fight for a better world. Let’s hope that 2013 sees a step-change in the fightback against this vicious government and the promotion of a genuine socialist response by Labour to the class war that finance capitalism is waging against us.
Chris Guiton
Crowborough, East Sussex

• There is the problem with many of today’s politicians on every side of the house who do not have a discernible “hinterland”. As Kitty Muggeridge said of David Frost, they have risen without trace. Younger politicians seem to have slid into politics via public relations, short-lived media jobs and thinktanks. Few of them appear to have got their hands dirty working in manufacturing, sales, accountancy, operations management, agriculture, construction, NHS, not-for-profit work or any other line of employment that produces tangible goods or useful services. This lack of real-world experience inevitably creates a lack of empathy with the electorate.

Then there’s the influence of the febrile hothouse of Westminster that develops delusions of power, which in turn corrupts sensibility.
Chris Hodgkins

• The solutions presented by Gloria De Piero will do little to address the general distrust in which both parliament and its representatives are increasingly held. Current arrangements result in a Commons filled mainly with party delegates unduly influenced by the needs of their party and its leader rather than independent-minded constituency representatives. The introduction of secret voting in the Commons would go some way to addressing this imbalance of power.
Colin Parker
Rugby, Warwickshire

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