The title is a little misleading, as part of Isabel Hardman's argument is that the popular perception (if she sets it up accurately) that the United Kingdom has the wrong politicians is mistaken, and that to some extent politicians are trapped in a system which too many people have vested interests in not changing. The bias towards people able and willing to fund their own campaigns - both to become a candidate, and then to be elected to parliament - and against women - with conservatism over women's roles rife in all parties. The book is rich in anecdotes about selection, election, bill committees, select committees, and the combined results of the efforts of the whips and the sheer weight of government business to ensure that bad bills reach the statute book. Few pages - indeed, only a few lines - are devoted to comparisons with other legislatures, and only a little more space is devoted to reform. Ideas include reviving bill committees after the passage of a bill so that members can hear evidence on how a bill works in practice, but it's difficult to see how this would provide a constructive method to improve on legislation. More concrete suggestions include salaries for parliamentary candidates, and salaries for members of select committees, as well as dedicated staff.

This isn't an apologia, even though Hardman did fall in love with one of her MP case studies which I'm sure isn't recommended practice. There is a lot of reporting of situations in recent years where MPs off and on the front benches should have done much better, being distracted by the legality of a proceeding - such as the invasions of Iraq and Libya - over the practicalities and details of the post-invasion plans, or in the case of Andrew Lansley's Health and Social Care Bill allowing it to career into the Commons without either of the Coalition government party leaders understanding what was planned. However, while entertaining it leaves one more frustrated with the state of affairs than confident about solutions.
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