Vote for me

Looking at Esther Rantzen's recent decision to stand in the next General Election, Lynne has decided she is also at the right age to consider launching a political career...

I wish to declare my candidacy for the 2010 General Election.

Inspired by the example of knobbly carrot publicist Esther Rantzen, who has announced she will be standing in Luton, I feel it is time for even more ordinary citizens than she to put their heads over the parapet and be prepared to snatch power away from the dreary ranks of the career politicians.

There have been some odd rumblings from the likes of Edwina Curry who, having turned herself from and MP into a celebrity uttered the sentiment that Esther should not become a politician but should “learn to knit”.

I'm sure Miss Rantzen will even now be coming up with some inventive uses for a pair of no.8 knitting needles and a ball of four-ply.

The mere fact that Esther Rantzen's decision to stand is news sparks a tiny flash of interest in politics which has been sadly lacking since the drab day that all politicians became the same.

What we need in parliament is real characters - people who have done something other than complete a politics degree, worked as a political researcher for their party of conviction and then done the rounds for selection.

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Not that the current brand of new MPs isn't clever. They have very keen minds but what do they actually know about how real people live?

Ok, they probably worked in a factory during a school vacation to raise money for their gap year doing voluntary work in South America posting 2,000 heart-rending pictures on Facebook. But what life experience do they have - except theoretically?

Most newcomers of all parties appear to have rolled off the conveyor belt at the MP manufacturing plant. Here, at a hidden facility somewhere in the former industrial North, they make politicians who rate spin over substance; people for whom politicking is an in-House activity all about pleasing the whips, getting themselves an office and advancing their political careers within their party.

They fall off the production line into three bins - one red, one blue, one yellow - before being delivered to Westminster where they are given a set of coloured felt-tip pens and carry out research projects while they await their chance to be a contender.

My husband wrote to our MP when the Government did away with the 10p tax rate, thus throwing our hard-working but low-earning single son (no dependents) into an even more precarious financial position.

What we got back was a letter than merely extolled the move, telling us that many lucky people would be better off following the tax changes.

There was no mention of our son's predicament. He was clearly a margin note; an acceptable casualty.

Most of the missive comprised a standard document of facts and figures, none of which addressed our son's circumstances but most of which were probably collated with the help of multi-hued felt-tips.

You may be thinking, how can you possibly expect your MP to answer your particular concerns when so many people are writing to him? Well, the fact is, I do. That's the job.

(When the Government later altered the policy our son was still worse off and we got another b***** letter telling us how many more lucky people would now benefit.)

I'm starting to think the only way we're going to reinvigorate Westminster is to be a little less censorious about people's private lives - if we can't have saints in parliament, let's have reformed sinners. Let's pay them enough to get by so they don't start getting creative with the expenses and see if we can't subdue the attack of the political clones.

You don't have to be crabby and menopausal to see what's happening, although it helps. Banks clutching their money to their corporate chests to recover the financial status they squandered with no thought for the future; people losing their jobs and homes as the recession bites; tumbleweed High Streets; heaps of unopened mail collecting behind the shuttered doors of empty stores. Meanwhile the surviving shops cut back.

And while the economy stagnates, pensions and savings are eroded by low interest rates which don't seem to be passed on to small business borrowers. For most of us it is a lose-lose situation.

So what can be done? Don't look at me…

I don't have any solutions but you can vote for me with confidence because at least I am prepared to admit it.

Ron Longland, who writes to me from the rural idyll of Clare, reckons I left out the best advertising slogans and jingles in my column last week.

“I remember, as a school boy, the Murray Mints tune, still one of the best. Then there was the Esso Extra jingle, the “change up to BP Super” one and the “Esso sign means happy motoring” with a tour around the British Isles, including Llanfairpwll .....(etc).

“Of course, all of these were petrol adverts, long since abandoned, not for motor vehicles. Apart from one (vorsprung), you ignored all of them, very much to your credit.”

“Currently the worst adverts of all, boringly so and badly put together, are those for cars of any sort. They are just plain stupid and fail to sell anything to me. So are those for insurance although I appreciate meerkats! Anything to do with hygiene is also rather silly. Have you noticed that anything to do with women seldom features anyone over twenty-five?” (Unless it's anti-wrinkle hydropeptimide re-plenishing gel, Ron)

“There are very few adverts now which have a decent jingle. There are also few which have a storyline. Do you remember Cinzano and that coffee advert? So do I. Fun, weren't they, unlike anything today.

Oh, my, with all that nostalgia I feel another grey hair coming one. Anyone for Philosan?”

That would be Philosan for the over Forties…