Cornwall Postman Scott Mann is New Conservative MP Hopeful
By Dominic Gover | February 2, 2013 5:13 AM EST
Think of a Tory MP and a local postman who lives in a small house paid for by an affordable housing scheme is probably not the first image that springs to mind.
But Conservatives in North Cornwall have picked just such a person to run for parliament at the 2015 general election.
Scott Mann, 35, appears on the national political stage at a time when social class is at the forefront of UK politics. The Tory-led coalition government is derided by critics as out of touch and comprised of old Etonian millionaires. Meanwhile, shrinking social mobility and growing inequality contribute to a toxic narrative of 'broken Britain.'
Even Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has bashed her party for being dominated by "out-of-touch posh boys" who are cut off from day-to-day reality. Meanwhile, the very day after Mann won the nomination contest, Labour party leader Ed Miliband delivered a speech calling for more MPs from across the societal divide.
Mann, a married father of one, does not fit the image of a typical Conservative politician. His nomination could be a tailor-made riposte to the allegation that Tories recruit only from the ranks of Eton and Oxford's Bullingdon Club. The closest he comes to contact with the "elite" is when he delivers letters to Rock, a small and wealthy coastal village.
Speaking to IBTimes UK, Mann sounded exactly like the sort of person targeted by Miliband.
"I am not one of those people who went to university and studied politics. I didn't go to university," he said. "Politicians should be drawn from across the board I'm happy to say that I come from a working background."
If Mann is successful in 2015 it will be at the expense of the Conservatives' coalition partners. North Cornwall is currently held by the Liberal Democrats and no Conservative has been chosen by voters since 1992.
"There are a lot of hard-working people out there who are struggling to put food on the table and who would appreciate a bit of extra money in their pocket, for that Chinese meal at the end of the week or the gym membership," he said. "I think it's about time we got out there. I can relate to the people whom we have not reached in the Tory party.
"I've spent my whole life growing up in Cornwall and to be nominated like this is a very big thing for me. I'm delighted."
Mann is obviously no political naïf, plucked from his post round by a Conservative party desperate for a PR makeover. Five years serving as a councillor on district and county councils in Parliament makes him considerably more qualified than some MPs sitting in parliament.
Famous mainly to the households on his rounds, Mann would stand out against MPs whose main qualification for parliament seems to be that people who don't care about politics recognise them. Being ordinary and non-privileged could be the new zeitgeist in 2005, which could make Scott a Mann for the times.
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