Yesterday Christopher Chope MP, referred to staff in the Commons restaurants as ‘servants’ in a House of Commons Commission debate. Leading to several Labour MPs, taking to social media to admonish him and present him and the Conservative party as out of touch. But is the Conservative party as out of touch as they claim?
The Sutton Trust, published a report following the 2010 general election, entitled The Educational Backgrounds of Members of Parliament in 2010. Which shows that despite only 7% of the population attending independent schools, 35% of MPs were educated at a independent school. In terms of Conservative MPs, 54% of Conservative MPs were educated at fee paying schools. Since 1951, the percentage of Conservative MPs who attended a independent school has decreased from 73% in 1951 to 54% in 2010. This is not to say that attendance at independent schools means that these MPs are out of touch with the general public.
In selection to become an candidate, applicants would have to demonstrate awareness of issues relevant to that area. Coupled with regular constituency surgeries following election I feel it is unlikely that MPs would be out of touch with the concerns of their constituents.
The usage of language such as calling staff, ‘servants’ enables the Labour party to portray Conservative MPs as out of touch. As Lee Atwater, the late Republican political consultant and strategist said ‘Perception is reality’ and when we present the opportunity to our opponents to portray us as out of touch, we only have ourselves to blame.Blue Collar Conservatism is the means to fight accusations of being out of touch. At present, Labour say we are the party that looks out for the 1% but in my mind we are the party of the working class, those who aspire to build a better life for themselves.