In the UK there are six hundred and fifty Members of Parliament. One hundred and ninety five of these are women. Which means 70% of those seats are occupied by men wearing suits.
We all know that politicians, as people, aren’t representative of the vast majority of the population. It’s probably always been this way. A large section of society look at Parliament and think: “where am I amongst that lot?”
It’s because of the Eton boys, the career politicians, and the wealthy business people.
But it’s also the suits.
So we need a dress code.
NO SUITS (by order of HM The Queen).
Every day, in every area of our lives, we encounter people wearing clothes. And based on their clothes we decide who they are and what they’re all about. It’s not a fool proof system, but we do it all the time and we’re pretty good at it.
On the rare occasion we meet someone out and about and not wearing clothes, the pigeon holing gets even easier. A naked man walking down Market Street in Manchester is going to fall within a pretty specific Venn diagram of personality types.
The only time these skills become redundant is when we’re faced with men in suits.
What are their political beliefs? What music do they like? Are they flamboyant and outgoing? Are they conservative and risk averse? Are they a hat wearer? Do they play sport? Do they live on a council estate? Are they Dutch, Italian, or French?
They’re just a man in a suit.
Imagine a team photo of a political party, pre-season like an eager football squad, all dressed in their own clothes chosen by themselves. With no assistance from PR people or stylists.
And no suits.
You could make that instant snap judgement that serves us all so well. You could nail your colours to the mast based on so much more than the spin, rhetoric, and points scoring that we call politics.
If the line-up is all brown corduroys and grey cardigans you might think: “No! These people are not for me.”
Or you might think: “Yes! Safe, sensible, I trust these dull men.”
Either way, you’ve got a bit of a feel for them.
If they are all heavy knit patterned wool, beards, and vintage accessories, they are either left leaning proponents of Scandinavian culture, or hipsters. At best, they will agitate for a more communal, ethically responsible form of democracy. At the very worst you’re voting for the continued reliable supply of craft beer and artisan coffee.
The same team photo of men in suits gives you nothing to go at.
They are a group of men with some power.
Outside office hours they may dress as women, or rappers, or white supremacist hooligans for all you know. But you never will. They’re just men in suits. The only concession to personality is the colour of their tie.
Given the chance, whatever their true fashion sense revealed would leap out, slap us around the collective face, and cause us to vote for some people a bit more like us.