My first book, The Political Class: Why It Matters Who Our Politicians Are, is under contract with OUP and will be released in 2017. A summary of the rationale for the book is below:
The British people don’t much care for their politicians right now. Although it hard to say with any certainty whether or not these feelings of dislike have intensified in recent years, it is clear that this dislike permeates not only the discussions that surround our politics, but also the practice of politics itself. Much of the complaint focuses on the so-called ‘political class’, a group of self-serving individuals, mostly career politicians, who are not particularly interested in the needs or desires of their constituents, and who additionally have no real life experience beyond politics (or Westminster) to speak of. Politicians seeking to gain votes now rhetorically place themselves outside of the Westminster bubble, and go to great pains to emphasise how distinct from the political class they are. These attempts have moved almost beyond pastiche during and following the 2015 general election.
So we are in a position whereby this amorphous political class are seen as having a negative effect on political trust at the same time as being a seemingly empty category, with no politician actually wanting to be associated with such a class. To date, no one has really considered the arguments on both sides. Is the political class, and the political professionalisation with which it is associated, an inherently bad thing? Is it even possible to make a defence of the political class? If it is, is it a defence that it should be heard? These are the questions that occupy me in this book. By collecting the arguments together in one place, and offering both some definitional clarity as well as a tentative proposal as to how we should seek to treat the imagined and real effects of the political class, I hope to make some progress in both academic and real-world terms. I hope that readers can walk away from the book with greater clarity on what the political class might be, what is good about it, what is bad, and what might need to be done about it, if anything.