Alix Mortimer rightly bemoans the quantity of idiots in parliament, but it should be obvious why there are so many of them: the political skills required to get selected then elected are nothing like the skills required to be a top-class legislator.
Ideally, legislators should have a sharp eye for detail, excellent reading comprehension skills, an excellent grasp of statistics, an understanding of history and political philosophy and a set of novel personal background experiences to bring to the table.
In contrast, parliamentary electees must convince 35,000 skeptics to give them a job, through awareness-raising campaigning, doorstepping, local problem solving, successful media interviews and appearances, and being able to recall and reframe the main planks of their party's brand identity at will.
These two skill groups are so different it should really be a surprise that there are any smart people at all in parliament. And while the media insist that everyone's special and everyone's opinion is important, and while political parties are built on strong brand identities, and while the electoral process only allows one candidate of each political stripe to stand in each constituency, this will continue to be a problem.
What can be done to change things? STV would help a little, I think, because only the "best" tranche of each existing party's candidates would get elected, and would potentially allow smaller parties with more focussed branding to pick up 1st preference votes ("Smart Labour", anyone?).
I would really, really like to see all PPCs take an apolitical statistics and reading comprehension test, with their scores marked on the ballot paper next to their name. That way, voters can actually decide in a meaningful way whether they do want smarter politicians.