I was a bit bored and watching BBC Parliament earlier when I noticed how few non-male or non-white MP’s there were, sat on the side of the government. So it got me thinking… I’m going to write quite possibly the dullest blog I’ve ever contemplated.
So, I had some spare time and decided, lets look at the data taken from here, (if you’re interested).
DISCLAIMER: Its at this point I should point out that I am dyscalculic and a bit useless with numbers so statistics may well be wrong but should be roughly correct, cos I is dead good, innit.
According to the site above, the list of Government Departments and Ministers suggests there are 96 ministerial positions in total, including the Cabinet consisting of 23 full time members (plus 6 others). I didn’t take into account whips, assistants, junior lords of treasury or those “in waiting”.
Of those 96 ministerial positions, 83 (or 86.5%) are held by men and 13 (or 13.5%) are held by women.
80 ministerial positions are held by MP’s elected by their constituents – that is, 83.3% are elected by the British public while 16 positions or 16.7% are held by unelected Peers – of those 12 are men, 4 are women.
69.2% of women, or 9 females, holding ministerial positions are MP’s elected by the public.
30.8% of women, or 4 females, holding ministerial positions are unelected.
85.5% of men, or 71 males, holding ministerial positions are MP’s elected by the public.
14.5% of men, or 12 males, holding ministerial positions are unelected.
98.96% of government ministers are of white European heritage.
1.04% of government ministers are of non-white European heritage.
0% of minority ethnic government ministers were MP’s elected by the public.
0% of minority ethnic government ministers are male.
100% of minority ethnic government ministers are female.
According to the 2001 Census, 92.1% of United Kingdom identified as white with 7.9% (approx 4.8million) identifying as belonging to minority ethnic groups. In a 2004 study (forgot to copy link sorry) this had risen to over 9%
Looking at these figures, it shows quite clearly that minority ethnic groups are under-represented in the government (tell us something we don’t know, sunshine).
1% of the government to speak for almost 8% of the population.
In 2009 it was estimated there were just under 62 million people living in the UK. If we then consider that there are approx 31 million women and almost 30 million men in the UK.
Looking at our government representatives, the almost 50:50 ratio of women to men in the general public is not reflected, as noted above its 13.5% women to 86.5% men.
So with 8% of the population being represented by 1% of government ministers and over 50% of the population being represented by only 13.5% of government ministers, its hard to say that they are representative of the general public.
Of course we already knew that educationally they did not reflect society…
Out of 23 main cabinet ministers:
- 52.1% or 12 cabinet ministers were educated at private schools
- 21.7% or 5 cabinet ministers were educated in the state grammar system
- 21.7% or 5 cabinet ministers were educated in the state comprehensive system
- 4.5% or 1 cabinet minister had a mixed education
And financially, 18 out of the 23 full time cabinet ministers are millionaires that is 78.3% of the cabinet.
In 2009 there were thought to be approximately 242,000 millionaires in britain (a considerable drop from the previous account in 2007 of 498,000), which works out at around 0.39% of the population
So while 78.3% of the cabinet accurately represents only 0.39% of the population, that leaves 99.6% of the UK populations being economically under-represented by our *cough* chosen government.
Now its taken me a while to source all these figures and I don’t actually remember why I started doing it, but its interesting to see in numbers just how unrepresentative “our” government actually is.
I’m not saying that people cannot accurately represent people with which they have little or no experiential connection. There are many good, hard working MP’s from drastically different backgrounds to their constituents but there are many more who just don’t seem to understand or want to understand.
I wont suggest they don’t care because that’s unquantifiable but put a child who lives with all mod cons in an environment without tv, internet, playstationX and waitrose home delivery etc and they’ll be more than a little lost. Ask the child to improve their new environment, they will generally do so according to their own desires, wants and experiences; cue addition of exorbitant material commodities, often at the expense of necessities.
Its important to have skilled, ambitious and wise people in the government but we also need average joe who can connect with people through experience and understanding. There is no reason why average joe cant fulfill the position of someone with skill and ambition or be wise.
How can a privileged, well educated, in good health, never known unemployment, white millionaire know the REALITY of living in a slum, having to leave education at 16 due to finances or marriage, being unable to find a job, surviving on benefits, having a disability, NHS waiting lists or refusal of treatment, institutional or street racism?
Interestingly there are no official figures for MP’s with a disability.
I don’t think I’m alone in preferring to have people who understand my financial, educational or employment experience representing me in government. Obviously we will never all have adequate representation. There are almost 62million individuals in the UK and only 650ish MP’s legislating on our behalf. Surely, however, the numbers of MP’s should be more representative of their constituents and their constituents experiences?
Governmental priorities should reflect those of the British public more and as is being seen politically and economically by our current government in particular this is not the case. It’s not surprising looking at the figures above, I just wonder if such a scenario can be considered right by anyone?
This isn’t about Labour vs Conseravative… its about how the voters are represented.
References I remembered to keep: