If you tolerate this, then your children will be next.

So, we had elections. Two sets on one day in some areas, while others only voted for MEPs. (The European parliament.) And afterwards I happened to be in a fb group where someone asked what happens next, does their MP change?

Several of us explained. And went on explaining. We explained the different levels of government. We explained different parties. We explained proportional representation. We attempted to explain media manipulation and spin and UKIP.

But the answers that came back and the questions that kept coming.

Like the comment that said there aren’t enough houses in this country, there are 60 million people and there aren’t 60 million houses.

Well no. There wouldn’t be really, as at the very least children under 18 tend to live with their parents.

Do you know what? I do blame the schools. Show me where on the national curriculum politics and economics and citizenship actually engage people and let them know how voting works and why it’s worth it.

There was one person who said about the Euro election that she wanted to vote for a small party and they never get in. But it’s PR, proportional representation. There is a point in voting for small parties.

And now we’re hearing about the ukip earthquake. And not a whisper about the greens. Is the media scared of the greens? Why are they so rarely mentioned?

More and more and more I think that whatever the headline says, we should be looking the other way.

1 in 10 of us voted for ukip. But nearly 6 in 10 of us didn’t vote at all, in some cases because “politics doesn’t apply to be”. Oh it does. And if you do nothing, don’t even turn up, then you will find that when you’d like it to, it won’t.

What do we do? How do we reach that 60%, before they let us drift to a place we don’t want to go?

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for ten years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

Comments

  1. headinbook says:

    “What do we do? How do we reach that 60%, before they let us drift to a place we don’t want to go?”

    Just this. I don’t know the answer. I just wish I could convince people that failure to engage is not like changing channel if you don’t like what’s on. It’s more like handing over your TV set, and your sofa and – in some cases – your front door keys too.

  2. 6 out of 10 people didn’t vote?! That’s ridiculous. I hate it when people say “my one vote isn’t going to make a difference”. Well everyones vote makes a difference, that’s the point of democratic elections. This whole UKIP craze needs to stop now before we end up entering WW3.

  3. My pedant self wants to point out that there are at least 75 million people in this country now, but given the high numbers who didn’t fill in the census the figures arent accurate, and I believe are estimated to be nearer the 80 million mark.

    The greens scare me, socialism under the guise of saving the planet (the planet will be fine, it’s just us humans who might not be!) The UKIP hype has been spun in a way that isn’t truly representative of their voters IMO – given the high numbers of nationalist type parties that received high votes across the continent, it makes sense that the ‘majority’ arent happy with the power Europe has and are trying to make themselves heard, but no one is listening, or perhaps they might be thinking about it now they’ve been given a fright, most likely not though.

    Re not voting… What’s the solution? Compulsory voting? Not in a ‘free’ country surely? We have the freedom to choose to vote or not, and for many people not voting is a political act, not an apathetic one. It’s my belief that if everyone refused to vote we might actually get some change, but I’m an idealist and I know that fear ties too many people to the status quo and what they’re used to. Perhaps though, if no one voted and there was zero mandate, then we might be able to get a system along the lines of the citizen’s income…. Just a thought…

  4. Ps…. What is ‘the place we don’t want to go’? Genuine question.

    • Jax Blunt says:

      I don’t want to continue down a path of division and suspicion which is where we seem to be headed.

      • But aren’t we there already? And isn’t it also part of human nature to a large degree? Couldn’t it be said that when the majority aren’t voting then they are in agreement (so not divided), at least over the lack of feeling represented, which surely must be a good starting point for discussion? I just feel that the ‘don’t vote don’t have a right to complain’ argument (which is SO prevalent on social media that it feels akin to bullying to me) is part of the smoke and mirrors used to continue with the status quo that suits those in power.

        When I was 18 I was excited to vote for the first time; I had the choice of labour, tory or liberal. I didn’t want to vote for any of them, but if I was going to vote I had to pick one – liberals got it purely because they were the lesser of the three evils. It was a wasted vote, it didn’t represent me, but yay I had my say, according to the argument that I see time and time again. And were the liberals to have gained power, and implement policies I didn’t agree with, where would my conscience have sat then? Not to vote is to say ‘not in my name’, and to refuse to give a mandate to the atrocities that are often carried out in the name of the electorate. It’s no different IMO to the conscientious objectors who refused to go to war.

        To take this back to your original point… The media casts the none voting public as apathetic, perhaps the truth lies in a completely different direction, but the media and the powers that didn’t ought to be are all too aware of consequences of peering beneath that particular stone, and it scares them, because they can see the days of their power over coming to an end.

        I would like to see more independents. I would like to see an end to people being able to stand as an indie or a party member and then changing to another party once in office – That should automatically trigger a by election. I would like to see ‘none of the above’ on the ballot papers, but without compulsory voting tied to its inclusion. And I think I would like to see PR in all elections. I also think that I would like to see some kind of system similar to jury service within government, and possibly the use of referenda, so that we have a much more hands on system of local and national accountability and responsibility. For starters ;-)

  5. Pps… You can’t blame the schools but you can blame the government because they dictate the national curriculum…. Wonder why labour was so scared of home educators who have the freedom to create their own, which can include politics? ;-)

  6. I remember when I was 17 that it was something we all looked forward to, being able to vote. And then when I became a teacher, I was astounded that these 15, 16, 17 year olds couldn’t care less about voting. Those who were old enough had no interest in voting and that scared me. There wasn’t much on the curriculum about politics and certainly not in the subject that I was teaching. Myself and many of colleagues went “off piste” and talked to our A level students about politics, about why it’s important to vote. They became interested. But the thing they all noticed was that none of the parties were prepared to be upfront and honest. None of them could campaign on real issues without blaming someone in society or another party. So much negativity in politics, and it put them off.

    • Absolutely. Every piece of election propaganda that was pushed through my door contained more bitching and back biting about the other candidates and parties than it did about policy. It is vile and a sorry indictment of 21st century British politics.

  7. We could argue that not voting is political in that non voters have expressed lack of confidence in the political system. That says a lot about our political parties and politicians who, I think, have failed to engage properly with the electorate. As a young person said to me recently “I can’t vote (EU elections) because I’m not informed enough”. In my opinion that is the voice of someone who is taking politics seriously not someone who is apathetic. It makes me wonder how many non voters feel the same way, in which case, we should look more carefully at the reasons for non voting and address those reasons rather than insulting non voters.

    Certainly, for me, I think one of the reasons is the behaviour of politicians. They are so preoccupied with arguing between themselves that they’re failing to engage with the public properly. In my opinion they’re frightened of talking honestly in case it undermines them and their party but the side affect of this is that its putting voters off.

    The worst thing of all is when I hear politicians (and the media) insult the voters and call them names because of how they have (or haven’t) voted. Is it any surprise that people don’t want to engage? Politicians are servants of the people (not the other way round) and they should do a better job of listening to the people and responding intelligently to their concerns. Perhaps then people like the young person above would feel more able to vote.

  8. As one of the 6 in 10 this time round, I only missed the MEP vote as we didn’t have local election ones, but still, it felt wrong not to vote. My kids know the reasons for it, yet aren’t interested really. Politics aren’t exciting enough to keep their attention.

  9. Glad you chose the Manic Street Preachers words to head your post. They were highly political and changed views with their lyrics as much as any votes can do. I struggled to vote in Euro and local elections this time. Genuinely found it hard to do, but as ever, walked away from the ballot box feeling that much taller. Good post.

    • Jax Blunt says:

      Thanks Jo. Anything that gets the point across, right? And actually, music has a good chance of that.

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