Column One: Politicians? Some of them are almost human

"DON'T TELL my mother I'm a politician, she thinks I play the piano in a brothel." So runs the old joke. And, given the publicity generated for their trade by the likes of Geoffrey Robinson, Neil Hamilton and, of course, Jeffrey Archer, we might be forgiven for thinking that most of our politicians would, as Mohamed Al Fayed claimed of Mr Hamilton, sell their mother.

Yet there is evidence that most of our MPs are, if not entirely wholesome, then a little less venal and a little more like the rest of us than we might give them credit for.

The revelations come not from the Today programme or select committee grillings but from the Tesco schools website, (www.tesco.schoolnet2000.com). Pupils in trainee Paxman mode have coaxed revealing replies from MPs. For example, the favourite school memory of the Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes: "Becoming head boy and telling others what to do - like making them clean the toilets". Or the confession by the Tory Oliver Letwin that blowing up the physics lab has a special place in his memory. The incendiary Mr Letwin also wishes to see "the Millennium Dome blown up".

You may be relieved to learn that many MPs still rate Jesus Christ as "the person in history who has made the most contribution". The Tories like Winston Churchill too, but more original inspirations come from the former secretary of state for education Gillian Shephard who nominates Napoleon, Labour's Ben Bradshaw who rates Elizabeth I and Martin Bell, the Independent MP, who rightly recognises the contribution of the inventor of the flush lavatory, Dr Crapper.

The Welsh First Secretary, Alun Michael, makes an especially audacious suggestion for his person of the millennium: "Phil Dunleavy, a postman who set up community and youth centres in Cardiff. He went on to be a councillor, the Lord Mayor and earned the CBE. People like him are the glue that keeps society together." Well said, Alun.

And in case you thought our law makers had lost sight of those ideals that brought them into politics, examine the responses to the question "What would you like to see changed in the millennium?" These range from the purely frivolous - Stephen Pound's "my underwear" - to the tediously on-message Yvette Cooper's "cut child poverty".

When it comes to the mundanity of life they're up there with the dullest of us. Bob Russell's favourite meal? Sausage, eggs, chips and beans. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown's top car? A Peugeot 406. Sleaze? Graft? Corruption? No. Our MPs are more like us than we care to admit.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Businessman at desk circa 1950s
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Partnership Sales Executive - TV

competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global multi-media...

Sauce Recruitment: Account Director

£26017.21 - £32521.19 per annum + OTE $90,000: Sauce Recruitment: My client is...

Recruitment Genius: Linux Systems Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of UK Magento hosting so...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Development Manager - North Kent - OTE £19K

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea