If you’d applied for a job that paid £67,000 and was funded by the public, you might expect to have to provide a CV proving that you’ve got the qualifications and experience necessary – or at least explaining what you’ve been doing for the last few years. When it comes to MPs, though, all you need to snag the gig is the ability to give a good speech without seeming too smarmy. Heck, sometimes if you seem smarmy, you’ll still get it. (In a lot of constituencies, the phrase ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ springs to mind.)
To try to remedy this situation, The Democracy Club, a group of activists who want more openness and accessibility around the democratic process, has developed a web app so members of the public can ask MPs to upload their CVs. The idea is that this will allow voters to more easily weigh up their specific priorities and achievements. (L’il tip for politicians that we picked up in year 11: ‘socialising with friends’ doesn’t count as a hobby.)
Of course, like all CVs (um, except mine), they’ll surely involve a lot of upselling and spin. But it would still be worth knowing what local candidates have been up to, and which of their party’s policies they’re on board with. Francis Irving, who coded the project, told The Guardian, ‘People are disillusioned with politics, and we find this a fun way to engage with that positively to try and improve it.’
So far only 6% of MPs have responded, including mine, Nick Clegg – perhaps you’ve heard of him? (Turns out, he loves football). But not one of his opponents (all men, I can’t help but feel demoralised about) has followed his lead.
If you want to ask your local candidates to upload their CVs, go to the website and select the option to contact each one via email or Twitter. You can also watch the ongoing Twitter stream of voter requests.