Sunday, 17 November 2013

You Won't Get People Interested In Politics By Berating Them

After finishing a full day's work and a 3 hour stint manning the phones for Children in Need I got in the car for the journey home tired but satisfied with a good day's hard labour. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond the understanding of us mere mortals, LBC was on the radio.

As there were 5 of us in the car we were all, at first, too polite to ask to have it turned over. And so we were forced to listen to some very miserable men discuss why so many people were not interested in politics and especially not interested in voting.

The consensus, it would seem, came to be that young people are awful citizens who are more interested in fun than in politics and that this was a crying shame. Ultimately, they felt, the elderly good citizens would die out leaving a rotten population of do-nothings. It was at this point I piped up and suggested we turn the radio over to be greeted with sighs of "Thank God, YES!"

How many generations do we need to get through before we realise that older people always think young people are interested in the wrong things and will never be as good as they are? I look around me today and find there are plenty of young people who don't remember "Trapdoor", "Fun House" nor even "Knightmare". It's the bloody end of civilisation as we know it, and no one seems to care.

The political class need to remember some important points.

1) Politics is not the "real world" to most people. We all have lives, interests, personal dramas and life goals that, in terms of personal importance, far outweigh the fleeting careers and promises of politicians.

2) The citizens of this country are not meant to serve politics. Our political system was not designed as a prison from which no one has the right to escape. Our political system is meant to serve the needs of the people.

3) None of the non-political folk in this world (for which read "most people") care one iota about the debates, policies or dramas that us political folk obsess over. I know people who don't even know equal marriage passed or even know about the income tax changes that have happened in this current Parliament. And that is just fine. It is not the end of the world. Our debates are often unconnected to reality anyway, just think about how often the Israel/Palestine issues are discussed over the far more damaging events that have been ongoing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We're delusional and most people know it.

If you want to engage with people then criticising them for doing things that satisfy them or are important to them (like having fun or living their lives peacefully) is not going to win you many converts. How about, crazy idea, we accept politics is not the most important thing in the world and move from that position in thinking of ways to help improve this country and help those who need assistance?

The arrogance and the self-entitlement of the snobs who think politics is the be all and end all of life in this country is probably the many reason it isn't the be all and end all of life in this country.

Now I'll stop berating people and instead return to obsessing over the next episode of Doctor Who. The really important stuff in life.

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