Joining the House
‘People enter politics to achieve power or control’ – or so goes the cliche. Even some MPs make this claim. At the same time, most MPs are drawn by their desire to do public service, to ‘change the world’ or correct the damage done by others. In political parties, outsiders find it hard to get selected as candidates until they have become accepted insiders. It is common in communities or organizations (and it was certainly the case in the House of Lords) that older residents/members value highly the standards and way of life that have evolved among them over a long period. They expect respect from newcomers. MPs arrive in the Palace of Westminster with their party membership, and a few ideas about how to change the world and huge ambition. It is a position shot through with contradictions. The history and ambience of the Palace inspire awe in some new MPs, but confusion in others.