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Why are people not into politics or parliament?
What is it about politics?
Most people are about as interested in politics as they are as enthusiastic about watching paint dry. That's not to say we don't all like to voice our opinions on the latest scandal, or complain about how the price of everything has gone up again, post budget announcements that have come round again all to quickly in April. However having a mild interest in political issues is not the same as being interested in politics, or is it?
Although it seems that there is never a unanimous decision about who we do and do not favour at anyone time, we do seem share at least a few common views on politicians and that is that they all lie, are hypocrites and are open to corruption. But just how much truth is there in this? I mean are they all not just people trying to do a job?
Should we believe what we hear or read?
The conspiracy theorists love a good political yarn too, anything involving the government seems to be open to interpretation of any way they seem fit. I have read that those who run the country are all part of some secret elite that only ancestors of certain families get to participate in. I can understand that it may appear that only a certain calibre of person gets into parliament, university educated people with some favourable connection does appear to crop up consistently and as a bit of a suspicious coincidence. However their have been exceptions to this rule, for instance Baroness Margaret Thatcher was the daughter of a shop owner and the first and only woman to lead the UK as prime minister. We have also had labour leaders who similarly have no apparent relationship to any kind of aristocracy or royal family member. On the other hand it could just be that we have yet to uncover it.
Personally I just think that you have to be a certain type of person to want to become a politician, just as with any job, aspects of a persons personality and preferences draws them towards certain career choices. Also we have to take into consideration, how someone has been bought up. If you are told that you are capable of anything that you want to achieve, and encouraged throughout your childhood then leading the country will be something that will always seem a realistic possibility. But if you are told that the world of politics is beyond you and you are bound by the restrictions of class, gender, colour or any other attribute then, the houses of parliament will probably be a place that is never witnessed.
I love politics, I think it's important to know how our country is run and although I was bought up being told that I should know my place and that I was nothing special. In spite of this I have none the less developed a strong sense of self and am one of the most ambitious people I know. Although I am not yet planning to forge a career in politics, I am also aware that I need not feel that I should rule it out.
Paramount to this though, I feel that it is more important to at the most educate people about politics or at the very least raise a sense of awareness about it. Our current political systems are by no means perfect and although I can't claim to be an expert in this field I do have a few suggestions, that I believe will help politics gain grater popularity or in some cases why things are the way they are and why we should keep them as such. Here are some of the most common reasons for the general disinterest in politics and apathy for democracy in our country.
Politics ain't sexy.
And nor should it be, superficial aesthetics, have seeped into every fibre of society, even sport. So I still find it delightfully refreshing that politics have not yet fallen into this dumb but pretty consensus. Indeed it should be concluded that the mind, effective leadership skills, vision and work ethic are what should be the ultimate goal. However their are certain circumstances that seem to suggest that this might be changing and that maybe this has never have been the case.
Although there is evidence that the better looking candidate wins elections, especially since the birth of our politicians being shown on television, on the whole the people who run our country are not (yet) revered for their model like good looks or brilliant fashion sense. I do fear that there does seem to be more of an image based leaning then a policy one.
Lets take a couple of fairly recent examples, when Gordon Brown (Labour) went against, David Cameron (Conservatives) and Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat). The media favoured Nick Clegg as the most attractive, even boasted headlines about him quoting lines such as 'I've had over 40 lovers' and during the first UK televised debate featuring these three representatives of their respective parties, there was an echo of 'I agree with Nick', you can still buy the t-shirts, if that's your kind of thing. , Interestingly David Cameron and Nick Clegg both have beautiful wives with very successful careers and Gordon Brown is married to a younger woman who is also pleasant on the eye. They all have children but interestingly enough Brown is Scottish, with accompanying and identifiable accent (which may also have played it's part, along with the troubled end of the blairite years) Anyway I digress.
During that election, the liberal democrats had the largest support that they have had in years and they joined the conservatives in coalition to lead the country, coincidence? I'll let you decide.
Even a political sex scandal is just thought about as a bit sleazy, a bit of an embarrassment and not at all sexy. Such is the nature of politics.
The wrong people.
An area of politics that has always perplexed me, is how they decide who to place in what position. The cabinet reshuffle is something that seems to me for the most part, unnecessary. Why is a teacher not in charge of education? Or an army personal head of the ministry of defence? Or a successful businessman (or woman) chancellor? I can't help but question the logic behind some of the decisions made during this process.
I mean does everyone just put their hand in the air who is willing to take on the job and the leaders best friends win. If we compare this theory to today's cabinet, it could well be true. Chancellor George Osbourne has been best friends with David Cameron since university and they were both part of the same click at university, along with Boris Johnson, who just happens to be mayor of London. That to me speaks volumes and could well be a matter worth an overhaul.
In my mind the system as it stands does not work, here is a radical idea, why don't we put people in positions that they might actually have some experience of or know something about?
On the plus side, I think John Bercow was an excellent choice for speaker and I think his wife Sally has done great things for political awareness. Granted some of has been vying on the controversial but I'm still her fan.
Death of democracy.
People don't feel like their voices count or that their opinions are not heard and that there is nothing that they can do to change or influence the system. This is not true, I have written to the government twice and both times had a satisfactory reply. The first letter was about the war in Iraq of which some of the points I made were discussed in the houses of parliament, just a couple of years later. The second was addressing second homes, sustainable housing and the over building of new homes instead of working on old or disused buildings. All of which has since also been bought to the fore.
Jamie Oliver and his famous school dinner petition changed school dinners for children nation wide. Demonstrations can sway opinions and striking has lead to changes in policy by the leaps and bounds. Public opinion really does have a presidency, we know this just by looking at the consistency of policy u-turns, made by all parties.
Don't ever think that you can't make a difference because you absolutely can! Even if it just means rallying your local MP on a small but significant local issue.
We don't understand it.
Political terms and jargon, leave us baffled and feeling out of the loop. Blue papers, white papers and pink papers are still a bit of a mystery to me. All I can tell you is that they are part of a process for policy change, in what order they appear and what they feature I can not tell you.
Amongst other things, cries of eyes to the right and nose to the left, seem strange and nonsensical, an outdated tradition that is irrelevant to use. What does it even mean? Well eyes mean yes and nose mean no, I'm not sure the relevance of left or right, will keep you updated when I find out myself.
The point is it seems to me that the political language and the complex systems, only serves to alienate us further.
They don't respect us.
During the recession George Osbourne and the rest of the conservatives, stated that we were all in this together. It was no wonder that people laughed and rolled their eyes at this statement, because this is clearly not the case. Our chancellor is heir to a multi-million pound fortune and the prime ministers wife owns a fashion company worth a mint. Plus a politicians wadge is significantly more then 70% of the countries workforce.
But by the same token, we can not resent them their success or fortune, after all it is a difficult job. The rich and the needy, the small business owner and the corporate owners, along with the unemployed and the voluntary sector. They all have different priorities, which leads me into my next point.
You can't please everyone.
This is a lesson I have learnt the hard way and a situation I know well. Although we are all driven by the same motivations and hindered by the same fears, our circumstances in life dictate different wants and we are all equally right and wrong in our beliefs and endeavours. I'm sure that most of us struggle to please our partners, our children, our bosses, our colleges are friends and our parents simultaneously. Because generally speaking it can not be done, or at least in my experience not for a sustained amount of time.
Similarly this is also the case in parliament, I have yet to configure a workable plan that would adequately accommodate everyone in the country and as yet it has eluded parliament too. But don't worry I'm still working on it and as soon as I come to a eureka conclusion, I assure you I will be the first to know.
We do not live in a utopian society and although a small but ever decreasing part of me still beliefs we can, as much as we should celebrate our differences we are also separated by them.
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