What is politics for? This is the question raised by Emma when she complains that politicians are "separate and self obsessed, talking to each other in a code designed to stop [voters] understanding or getting involved." Emma's concern is, of course, not confined to the left. The desire to "engage" with voters lies behind Dorries' decision to appear on I'm a Celebrity and Cameron's "mad idea" to appear on This Morning.
But it's not just the voters that politicians are distant from. On fiscal policy, tax policy and - especially - immigration, politicians are as disengaged from experts as they are from voters. Emma is flat wrong to say that "If you don’t have an academic career or a string of publications behind you, it can be a struggle to have your voice heard." The likes of Simon Wren-Lewis or Christian Dustmann have as much influence in Whitehall as a welfare recipient.
The problem here is that, in at least some important ways, there's a massive distance between what voters want and what's good for them. Politicians cannot be both populists and technocrats, therefore, and end up being neither, disengaged from both "ordinary voters" and from expertise and evidence.
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion...
If the local constituent should have an interest, or should form an hasty opinion, evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the member for that place ought to be as far, as any other, from any endeavour to give it effect.
Against this, I fear that those who want more "engagement" with voters seem to want politicians to defer more to voters'preferences.This raises the danger of falling into X Factor politics - an ill-informed choice between a limited field of inadequate candidates, the winner of whom quickly fades into disappointing mediocrity.