Some time has passed from the famous Brand-Paxman interview and I can’t help but comment on the response and debate it has triggered across the country. I myself hold the view that the only way to get things done is to fight the system by using the system, but how can we if we can’t clearly see who is doing things for political gain, or doing things to genuinely help better society? My response is, look at the people in your area. If you can see people in the local paper, online newsletter or just out and about doing things for the community who then turn out to be a candidate in the next local/general/euro/whatever election then you’ve got to ask yourself a very basic and fundamental question “to what gain is this person doing this?”
I can PROMISE you that what I do in the community comes from loyalty to where I was brought up. For too long I think that people have been trodden on, walked over and spat on by political elites. The issues are being told to us, by the media or by politicians who just want to make a quick buck off public opinions. I believe that people who genuinely take their time (no matter how inconvenient it may be to the people in the area) to go out and talk to residents in the area, no matter if they can or can’t vote yet, about what concerns them are the people who should be considered “true politicians”.
Whether we like it or not we live in a representative democracy, every so often we must do our duty as citizens and vote to our hearts content. It may very well be “the lesser of two evils” but with each cross on a ballot we are expressing our opinions without having to tell a single person. Each cross is a written bullet, fired towards whoever is in power (or in some cases in opposition) to tell them “I don’t like what you’re doing” and with that written bullet we can annihilate an entire Government without actually killing a single person. I remember hearing something similar by former Labour MP Tony Benn, who if you know me or read the Portsmouth News piece about me, is my inspiration for getting involved.
The thing that bothers me is the fact that in secondary schools there are lessons called “Citizenship”, now these lessons are supposed to educate people on how society functions and what people can do to help out and how the system works, and indeed how people can shape it. Now… did we ever learn that? I can tell you now that in my time in Secondary Education not once did I know what “First Past The Post” was or even that there were 650 MPs sitting in Westminster. We spent our time quite literally chatting about who was seeing who and watching films, a pure WASTE of taxpayer money and indeed valuable time.
I propose that we replace Citizenship lessons with Electoral Studies, something where people at a young age can learn about how they can shape society and how they can really “stick it” to the man! This is something that I have discussed with friends, family and indeed my own teachers. It’s something that people have reacted warmly to when I propose this idea and in fact something that Michael Gove should consider if he’s serious about making education better. In my opinion he has desecrated Education, I’ve stood on the picket lines with my teachers (present and former) and they have all given their experience of the last 3 years of this Coalition government and how much they have been, screwed, by the Ministry for Education.
It’s not fair that even teachers, people who have devoted their lives to shaping the minds of the young and inspiring a whole generation, are feeling alienated and disenfranchised with the system. It’s something that has been bothering me personally and quite frankly I’ve decided to try and defend the system, because it’s not too late. We can save it, we can really do something. I’m not saying “YES WE CAN” like a certain US President and then end up killing people with drone strikes, I’m not saying “We must stop the bankers” and then give them a huge bailout.
I’m saying is that, we need to get involved, really tell the people at the top that we’ve had enough. I’m only involved myself because I feel that if we are united in believing that there’s something wrong, then why don’t we do something about it? Why can’t we just pull together despite the cynical attitudes and the pessimistic viewpoints of our democracy and fire those who we feel have wiped the floor with us by going back on promises and things they’ve campaigned on!
Like in my previous post, I said “get involved” and there is a great deal of caution when it comes to that phrase. People seem to be under this illusion that it means “Stand as a candidate” or “Join a political party” and I don’t necessarily mean that (although that being said it’d be nice to see some new faces at local meetings now and again) I mean keep your ear to the ground about local happenings, find out who has said what and find out, before the official list is published, who is standing in your area. It’s all about accountability and if you choose not to vote, the turnout declines further and further. The day when turnout is below 20% nationally is a day when things start to seem a little authoritarian and we get screwed even harder. It’s something we have GOT to avoid. It’s something we must fight against and band together.
I feel I’ve said enough but I’m open to hear what you’ve got to say.
Thanks for reading,