- Labour Party and Business: A Difficult Relationship?
- Chameleon Conservative Cameron Shows True Colours
- An Election Reflection for a Majority Minority
- Mhairi Black: Giving Politics a Makeover
- Galloway Threatens Legal Action Over Election Result
- Voter Turnout: What The Numbers Tell Us About The 2015 General Election
- Looking At The Reaction to the Election Explains its Result
- The Polls Were Wrong Because People Lied, it’s That Simple!
- Russell Brand “Resigns” from Politics following General Election Result
- It’s Not The Cold War Anymore, We Don’t Need a Nuclear Deterrent
- The Future of Labour: Who Will Be The Next Leader?
- The Future of the Liberal Democrats: Who Will Be the Next Leader?
- The Future of UKIP: Who Will Be the Next Leader?
- A Tale of Three Ends
- The Tory Legacy
- If the Party Leaders were characters from Friends…who would you vote for?
- The Ten (Well, Six) Commitments: Is Stone Legally Binding?
- Tuition Fees: A Hollow Attempt to Pander to the Student Vote?
- 6,417 Ed Milligrams – What Do You Actually Vote For?
- Boris Johnson to become Gangster Rapper
- Political Engagement: The Calm After the Storm
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview: Green Party’s John Spottiswoode.
- Parliamentary Candidate Interviews: TUSC’s Sue Atkins
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview, Independent Candidate Chris Daviss
- “I don’t think the Liberal Democrats should be in government just for the sake of it” – An Interview With Nick Clegg
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview, TUSC’s Nick Chaffey
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview: Conservative’s Jeremy Moulton.
- Should Young People Be Made To Vote?
- The Nationalist Parties
- No Votes for Women?
- None of the Political Candidates Ticking Your Box? There is Another Option.
- The Other Parties
- Liberal Democrats Party Profile
- The Green Party
- Labour Party Profile
- In Defence of the Coalition
- Why Labour Should Win the Election But Won’t
- The Protest Vote: The Weapon of the Disenfranchised.
- Why Young People Must Use Their Vote
- An Interview With Natalie Bennett
- What Will a Multi-Party System Mean for Britain?
- Tuition Fees: Must Try Harder Ed
- Science and Policy
- This Election is Far Bigger Than Party Politics
- Parliamentary Candidate Interviews: Ian Callaghan, Green Party
- Parliamentary Candidate Interviews: Lib Dem’s Adrian Ford
- Paliamentary Candidate Interview – Labour’s Darren Paffey
- Parliamentary Candidates Interviews: Lib Dem’s Eleanor Bell
- TV Debates: The Crucifixion of David Cameron
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview – Labour’s Rowenna Davis
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview, the Green Party’s Angela Mawle
- Can We Trust Politicians Who Act Like Schoolchildren?
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview – UKIP’s Sandra James
- Manifesto Focus: Labour
- Why Nuclear Weapons Are Imperative For The UK’s Security
- Southampton’s Role in the General Election Should Not Be Overshadowed by a Sausage Roll
- Just When You Thought UKIP Couldn’t Do Anything Right…
- What the Hell Do You Want?
- Which Political Leader Are You?
- The EU: To Be or Not To Be
- Your 2015 General Election Candidates
- What a Silly Sausage: Southampton UKIP Candidate Accused of Bribery
- UKIP Party Profile
- Conservative Party Profile
- The Leaders Debate: The Insurgents, The Pretender & The Incumbent
- SUPA’s Short and Sweet Guide to Voting on 7th May
- TV Debate: Clash of the Titans
- Leaders Debate Brings Hope For Progressive Politics
- TV Debates: David Cameron and Ed Miliband Versus Britain
- 14,000 Voters Missing From Electoral Role in Southampton – Register to Vote Now!
- Men’s Rights Party Set To Contest in General Elections
- A Royal Coup? – Queen Guitarist Brian May Considering Standing for Election
- Debating Over Debates
- Galloway Demands Inclusion in TV Debates
- The General Election 2015 – A Disunited Kingdom?
- 99 Days To Go: The Most Unpredictable Election Yet!
- Poll Indicates Demand for Green Party to be Included in Election Debates
- Have You Registered To Vote?
- Is Sol Campbell running for Parliament?
- Salmond to Stand as MP
- Students May Hold the Key!
- The Green Party Should Not Be Included in the 2015 General Election Debates
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview: Alan Whitehead MP
- What’s at Stake for Students in the General Election?
- It’s Time For Politicians To Get Down With The Kids
- The Debates Debate
- Who Will Run The Country in 2015?
- New Year, New Government? New Politics?
- Newly Elected Itchen MP Accused of Helping UKIP Secure Labour Votes
It’s been encouraging for me as a young voter to see the debate going on all around me between my peers regarding the General Election. A large topic of discussion in the recent past has been of political apathy amongst young people; “a disengaged generation”. In the last few months this image has begun to shift.
Apathy amongst our generation is not surprising, as we’re growing up, the majority of us don’t really notice the effects of policy on our lives. Therefore, there seems to be less incentive to participate, but besides that, they do make it hard for us.
Everything about politics in Britain is boring: the politicians, the language, the tradition, the media, the processes. It’s incredible how, intentionally or not (I won’t tread into conspiracy theory territory right now), the governance of this country has been warped into something so mundane. Then again, on the surface at least, maybe it never was exciting.
Needless to say, our whole political system is broken, and often at times the mere acknowledgement of that can be depressing. Our electoral system, the political debate that takes place in the commons, political and economic transparency; it all needs reform.
What politics should be is an election of individuals from within our communities, whose general interests are the same as those who elect them. However, what we have in reality stands in stark contrast. We have a political leadership that is so far out of touch that they have to be coached in how to lie, how to avoid the question, and simply; how to seem like a normal human being.
It’s striking that politicians don’t yet understand that people would respect them much more if they told the truth (even if it wasn’t what we wanted to hear) than so transparently employing some textbook PR techniques to swerve in between. It is also striking that many things that should outrage us just don’t. Because outrageous things happen all the time it has become commonplace, and perpetual outrage is too hard to sustain.
Despite all this, and all of the reasons not to participate, and the temptation to not care, there is an incentive for the contrary that is more compelling and more important than all of those mentioned previously combined. Politics, whether we like it or not, is everywhere.
The political debate that has occurred during this election campaign has been great for British democracy and long may it continue during campaigns to come. Having said that, it’s all well and good for us to take notice now, when the politicians want us to, when they can entice us with promises and pledges and commitments and guarantees and assurances and all these other words that sound great and give us hope for the future, but we need more than that.
What really matters is what we do now the election is over. The next five years are about one thing: accountability; something that has been lacking for quite a while. We, as stakeholders of this country, have a responsibility to hold our representatives accountable, as much as they have a responsibility to act in our best interests.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that MPs are evil, corrupt psychopaths, but like most people in most jobs, if they’re not kept on their toes and constantly hassled by their boss, then they’ll likely take short cuts. It may sound cliché, but one of the fundamental aspects of democracy is that, in effect. We are their employers, we’ve merely delegated the responsibility of governing the country to them, we have the capacity to hire and to fire and we need to start acting like it.
Representing your peers is a privilege, not a burden. Of course it’s a difficult job, that’s because it’s an important job, and for the same reason, we expect certain standards of performance, and if they are not satisfactory there needs to be a proportional reaction.
I’m not demanding that we all start emailing our MPs every day asking for updates – but instead – suggest that we become conscious of the potential of our actions and for us to all do our part, whether that’s scrolling through your Twitter feed in the morning and catching up with the latest headlines, writing a blog, watching the news whilst eating breakfast, listening to the radio, discussing issues with friends, signing a petition, watch Newsnight every now and again, hey, maybe even read Wessex Scene when you get the chance!
Especially with the advent of social media, political engagement has never been easier, so we really don’t have much of an excuse. If we all start doing this consciously then maybe it will become habit, and habit does lead to change.
Forgive me if I’ve been stating the obvious throughout the whole of this article but there’s always something extra that we can do that will be to the benefit of the individual, and society as a whole. Ultimately, if we continue to turn a blind eye to the activities that occur in those offices in Westminster, where the future of our society is decided, as a generation we can only have ourselves to blame if things continue to turn sour.
Feature image Sophie Fell.