If you’re considering a career as a politician then firstly, you’re brave. Secondly, there are many areas of politics in which to practice and for some, the natural progression into politics comes from many different places.
Those who have studied law are often seen in frontline politics. Barack Obama is a lawyer and in the UK, over 80 MPs are qualified lawyers. There are distinct differences between US politics and UK politics. Yet many who are considering a career in either country have little idea of such differences. In the UK, you do have to display a degree of patriotism but not as much as you do in the USA where cries of “My country” can be heard quite frequently from politicians.
In the UK there would be no such behaviour the most common term heard from a patriotic stance would be that of “Our Country” or for the benefit of the “United Kingdom”. The US national flag is often displayed at political conferences, in the UK the Union Flag is never displayed as being representative of a group of politicians being in debate.
The biggest difference in terms of politics between the UK and the US is that of democracy. This is where the UK is quite unique in terms of the House of Lords as these seats are by appointment and not by election.The House of Commons are elected by the voters as are The Senate and the House of Representatives in the US.
Studying politics is a wide and varied area and there are many entries into politics that can come from a number of vocational courses. Researchers, economists, political historians, philosophers and scientists have entered politics both in the UK and in the US. Quite frankly, the US had an actor who was well-known for appearances as a cowboy in his younger years and for Americans today, the Reagan years are well remembered and not often too favourably.
There are few bars into entering politics in both countries. Many MP’s in the UK often have other full-time careers as they represent their constituencies of which has to be declared for tax-liability purposes. Entering politics in the UK is easy, you simply join your political party and you could soon find yourself heavily engrossed in social and economic debates. The House of Commons in the UK is full of debaters shouting at each other, in the US, there are more public speakers who lead the nation and their “fellow Americans”.
The UK House of Commons is comedic in comparison with scenes of what must look like Brits simply brawling to their US counterparts. The US education system encourages entry into politics by enabling students to be president of the Student Union: this is a position which requires a balanced individual and is usually the link between the students and the faculty. In the UK, there are fewer of these opportunities within secondary school education. Debating societies are available in American High Schools and this is usually a good starting point for would-be politicians.
If you’re going to get on in politics in the US, college and joining High School groups such as Model United Nations is a great way to work your way into politics. In the UK, joining a political party is necessary with the hope of winning a seat in Local Government elections. Often in these instances, there is no pay-scale in this line of politics until you actually become a Member of Parliament. This is why many UK MPs still retain their original career as the pay-scale is relatively low to begin with(despite the expenses scandals in recent years).
Broadly speaking, politics is an easy entry process in both countries despite the significant differences between the two. Law school is often the starting point for many politicians but that is not all that is required. In the UK, book authors and TV presenters have often fallen into politics during their careers as certain interests become apparent to them in the course of their daily work.
If a cowboy can run the biggest and most powerful country in the world, then there’s every chance that any person can enter the world of politics.