WE need a new Politics!
I must admit, I cannot personally remember when it was that I became ‘politicised’, but I most certainly have never thought the current ‘democratic’ political system in the United Kingdom to be fair and to represent me, or even anyone that I know in all honesty. It may just be because I am young and haven’t been around to witness the effects of previous governments in person, or it could be a result of the current economic difficulties which the world has faced in the last six years, but it is rare that I read about a government policy which I agree with, or that I feel would benefit the truly needy in society. In fact, it seems to be more common that we see government policy which benefits the rich and wealthy rather than the poor, who are instead subject to more taxes and less benefits whilst multinational conglomerates are allowed to avoid taxes and bankers receive huge bonuses despite causing economic meltdown in 2008 and investing in unethical companies responsible for the deaths of innocent people in the Middle East, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin being prime examples.
Obviously, it is argued that we all get a vote every five years to choose which political party we feel represents us to form a government. However, voter turnout in the last three general elections is the lowest it has ever been, the lowest being in 2001 when only 59.4% of the UK population turned out to vote. There was a slight increase in the 2005 election when 61.4% of the population voted, and then again in 2010 when 65.1% voted, although these figures are still the lowest in UK political history. Low turnout is not the problem itself, the problem is that it is the lower classes (D and E voters) where turnout is at its lowest, and it is the higher classes (A and B voters) where turnout is at its highest. For example, 76% of A and B voters, who make up around 21% of the UK population, voted in the 2010 general election, whilst only 57% of D and E voters did the same, consisting of 33% of the population. Therefore it is clear to see that the smaller amount of wealthy voters had more of a say in the 2010 general election than the larger amount of less well-off voters.
Low voter turnout is not only present in recent General Elections, take the recent European Elections as an example. Twitter in particular was amass with celebrating ‘Ukippers’ claiming that the British public had made a clear decision in the election, with UKIP receiving over 4 million votes, hogging mainstream media coverage, and being described as creating a ‘political earthquake’. However, voter turnout in the recent election was just 34.19%, a figure which in my opinion renders the recent election undemocratic as the majority of the electorate failed to vote. How the results of an election where only 34% of people voted can be thought to represent the views of the UK as a whole is indeed bewildering. The UK has consistently been below the EU average in the European Elections, often in the 30-40% range, which is evidence to suggest that UKIP's apparent appealing to those who have never voted is nonsensical. Also bearing in mind that UKIP dominated the mainstream media's coverage leading up to the European Election, with Nigel Farage managing to appear on BBC Question Time more than anyone else other than David Dimbleby, whilst other alternative parties such as the Green Party remained in the shadows even after them beating the Liberal Democrats in the election.
Many people will argue that the answer to this problem is to go out and use your state-given right to vote, even if it is just to spoil your ballot paper. Others will argue the Russell Brand view not to vote, mainly due to the belief that voting will not change anything echoing the Mark Twain quote that “if voting really made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it”, but also as a form of disobedience and to demonstrate the working class’ discontent toward the current political system. Although, the issue with not voting is that it also doesn’t change anything. Nonetheless I reject the idea of a compulsory voting system and removing people’s right NOT to vote and instead feel that it is not our voting system that needs to change but our Politics which needs to change. The current plutocratic system which is in place is run by the wealthy, for the wealthy and needs to be completely overturned in order to represent all social classes of this country, whether this can be achieved electorally is debatable due to the understandable mass disillusionment with the current political system. The more realistic approach would be by peaceful revolutionary means or by mass civil disobedience by the working classes. The idea of revolution is not uncommon in modern Britain with activist groups such as Anonymous and Occupy which have helped to bring the notion further into the limelight of public attention with the help of alternative media.
When or how this new Politics would be achieved I do not know, nor do I know what this new Politics would entail, I'm just an 18 year old writing amateur articles on the internet. What I do know is that the majority of this country do not feel fairly represented in our current so-called 'democratic' system controlled by rich, middle-aged, white, men. It is time that the voiceless were given a voice.