Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Next Leader of the BC NDP, another middle aged university educated white man?

As a member of the middle aged university educated white male tribe it guess it should be heartening to me so see that realistically this tribe will once again be the source of all the serious leadership candidates for the BC NDP.   The problem is not just with the NDP but with all politics within Canada and it is not fair of my to pick on them from the same failing all parties suffer.  The NDP leadership really speaks to an ongoing problem in politics when such a small tribe of people retain so much of the power.

I know this is not a news flash, but I had expected things to change faster than they have.   I think it is important for people to understand how small the group is from which most of our political leaders come from.

There were 757,045 middle age men in BC as of 2011 of which 75% of them are white and 30% university education leaving us with 170,000 men from this this tribe.  This is only 3.9% of the population of BC.

Yes, realistically the leader of a political party is going to be middle aged and maybe we should only look at middle aged people.  When we account for that the percentage that comes from the "power tribe" is still just 8.9%.

As a member of the middle aged white men with university education, I like most of us do not feel like I have any easier a path to power.  Most of the 170,000 of us are not in positions where we could realistically be elected as MLA or MP and certainly not within the crowd that has a chance to lead a major political party.  The reality is that most of the political leadership is from the richest 1/5th of the population.  The main political class comes from a small group of 34,000 people in BC.

It is not good for the political process when the core of the political class comes from such a small part of the population.   We elected MLAs as representatives of people but the MLAs are not representative of the population.  How can we govern well when so many of the people in power have no personal connection to the reality of the most of the population?  The lack of lived experience will always handicap the political class from making the best decisions.

How do we change the world of politics and have a broader set of people in the leadership?   How do we make it possible for a early 30s barista living under the poverty line with kids to become a political leader?   There are intelligent and capable young women working two and three jobs to make ends meet who are as able to lead in politics as the leaders we have now but there is no path to how they can get into power.

Maybe the time has come to think outside of the box.  We need a fair and democratic mechanism that will represent the people better.  Maybe we need a second house of people selected at random from around the province, a jury like structure to keep the elected house in line?  A jury is a legitimate and accepted form of democracy.   I would much prefer this any system of quotas.

Whatever the solution is, we do have to do something different because the status quo has been a failure.


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