Political Personification
Are the British public disengaged from thepoliticsor the politicians?
The GuardianNewspaper
5th
...
GreenParty on 4%6
. These pollscanbe linkedwithrecentlackof political participation,asthe
smallerpartieshave takenadvantag...
“The truthis we needtovote because itisour democraticdutyto be in control of whoisin our
government.WorkingasaYouth MP, I ...
betweenthe agesof 18-24 chose to vote inthe 2010 General Election14
,itisobviousmore politicians
shouldlistentothe views o...
BBC (2012), ‘SeniorLibDemsapologise overtuitionfeespledge’,BBCNewswebsite,20thSeptember
2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk...
YouGov (2010), ‘General Election2010 – YouGov/The Sunsurveyresults:17th- 18th April’,YouGov
website, http://iis.yougov.co....
of 6

politics essay

Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - politics essay

  • 1. Political Personification Are the British public disengaged from thepoliticsor the politicians? The GuardianNewspaper 5th May 2015, Jonathan Davies As the 2015 General Electionfastapproaches,the issue of political participationisonce againbeing criticallyanalysedbyjournalistsandtheoristsalike. Withjusta65% turnoutforthe UK General Electionin20101 , the absence of votesfromthe UK electorate is becomingahuge issue forBritish politics. Political issuessuchasthe increase intuitionfeesandzero-hourcontracts,alongwith policiessuchasthe BedroomTax,have ledto more of the Britishpopulationgrowingdisenchanted withBritishpolitics.However, the lastgeneral electionsaw anincrease inturnoutfromthe previous election,hintingthatthe issue maynotbe as bad as firstthought.Despite this,the factthat35% of the UK populationregisteredtovote are choosingnotto,suggeststhat more needstobe done by all partiestomake politicsaccessible andengagingwitheveryone. The issue of makingpoliticsengaginghasbeenaconstantstruggle forpoliticians.Statisticsfrom parliamentaryelectionssuggestthatpeoplefeel theiropinionscountforlittle inthe runningof government.The Europeanelectionsin2014 saw just 42% of the electorate turnouttovote2 ,witha similarpercentage turnoutcominginthe 2011 Welshelections3 .While the reasonsbehindthese low formsof turnoutremaincontrastingwithdifferentindividuals,the factthatin bothcasesoverhalf of the electorate chose nottovote showsthe vast scale of disillusionmentfeltbythose with political interests.The fall inmembershipof the mainUK political partiesof Labour,Conservativesand Liberal Democrats suggeststhatthe landscape of Britishpolitics ischanging,withthe rise of smaller partiessuchas the GreenParty,the UnitedKingdomIndependence Partyandthe Scottish NationalistsPartyshowinghowthose who’ve growndisenchantedwiththe mainpartieshave movedtheirsupportelsewhere.Withresearchshowingthatall three smallerpartieshave seen increasesinmembershipinthe lastfive years4 ,thiselectionmayyetbe the mostchallengingtocall ina generation.Witharecordnumberof parties involved,the chancesof anoverall majorityfor any one party lookslim,withthe likelihoodof anotherhungparliamentloomingominously. The opennessof thisyear’selectionshasbeenreflectedbyopinionpollsandsurveys.Atthe time of the lastelection,followingthe firsttelevisedelectiondebatebetweenthe leadersof the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats,the opinionpollswereasfollows: Liberal Democrats(33%), Conservatives(32%),Labour(26%) and otherparties(8%)5 .The opinionpollsshowedhow the three mainpartiesdominatedBritishpoliticswithotherpartiessuchasUKIPand the GreenParty struggling. Contrastthatwiththe opinionpollsgatheredfromthe firsttelevisedleaders’debate from2015, (unlike 2010, the Greenparty,UKIP, the SNPand PlaidCymruwere all represented) and we can see that the rise of the smallerpartieshave ledtosupportdwindlinginsome casesforthe largerparties.Anexample of thiswouldbe UKIP overtakingthe Liberal Democrats.Followingthe ITV debate, opinionpollsshowedUKIPon13% with the Liberal Democratsbehindon10%, aheadof the 1 UK Political Info (2010) 2 European Parliament(2014) 3 Jennings (2011) 4 Keen (2015) 5 YouGov (2010)
  • 2. GreenParty on 4%6 . These pollscanbe linkedwithrecentlackof political participation,asthe smallerpartieshave takenadvantage of people’sdisengagementbyprovidingalternative policies directlyaimedatthose Britishpeoplewhohave refusedtovote inpreviouselectionsafterbecoming disillusionedwiththe mainparties.While Labourandthe Conservativescontinuetodominate inthe polls,the factthat one of the mainparties(LibDems) have become lesspopularthanone of the so- calledsmallerparties(UKIP)indicatesthatthe monopoly of the mainpartiesmaybe a thingof the past. The lack of political participationinthe UKremainsa difficultissueinBritishpolitics.Arguablythe mainreasonfor membersof the UK electorate refusingtovote isbecause inmostcasestheydonot trust politicians. Brokenpromisesaswell aspolitical misconductbyMP’shave ledto manyvoters turningtheirbackson politicsgiventhe behaviourof some of the mostprominentBritish politicians. An example of thiswouldbe the LiberalDemocratleaderNickClegg.Atthe time of campaigningfor the 2010 general election,one of the LibDems’ chiefpolicieswastoscraptuitionfeeswithinsix years.The policyunderstandablywentdownwell withstudentsandparents,andwasa keypolicy whichboostedsupportforthe party.At the time withLabourand the Conservativesrefusingto make any promisesnottoincrease fees,the policyledtoincreasingsupportforthe LibDemsinthe lead-uptothe election.However,onformingacoalitionwiththe Conservatives,the Liberal Democratsfailedtomeettheirpre-electionpromise withuniversitiesinEnglandraisingtuitionfees to £9,000 a year, followingbudgetcutstoinstitution’steachingbudgets7 .The controversial decision was a PR disasterforthe Liberal Democratswithconfidence inthe partyat an all-time low.The decisionbyNickCleggtopubliclyapologiseontelevisioninapartypolitical broadcastproveda damningindicatorof justhowfar Liberal Democratsupporthadfallen8 .Caseslike this,alongwith the coalition’scutstopublicservices,have ledtoanunhealthydivide openingupbetween politiciansandthe peopletheyare representing. Speakingin2013, Prime MinisterDavidCameron’s admissionthatcutsto publicserviceswere permanent,didlittle towinoversupportonthose who have become frustratedwithausteritymeasureswhichhave leftmanyjobless.WithCameron statingthat cuts to publicservices wereameansof creating“a leaner,more efficientstate”,this quote hasfurtherexacerbatedthe issue of publicmistrust,followinghisdeclarationafterbecoming Prime Ministerthatcuts were necessary“totackle the deficitandnot outof some ideological zeal”9 . Someone whoisall tooaware of voter’sfrustrationsisstudentCarneyBonner.AsaformerYouth MP and current UK YouthAmbassador,Carneyisone of many youngpeople tryingtomake a difference inpolitics. “Ultimately,there isthisperceptionthatyoungpeople are notinterestedinpolitics.Yetfromtalking to friendsandotherstudents, Iknowthatyoungpeople are interestedinpolitics,yetchoose notto vote because theyfeel theirvoicesare neverheard.” As a studentwithadeepinterestinpolitics,Carneydecidedtorunas a Youth MP, andafter being votedinfollowingalocal electioncampaign,haslookedtouse hispositiontoofferavoice tothose youngpeople who feeltheyare beingignoredby seniorpoliticians. 6 YouGov (2015) 7 BBC (2011) 8 BBC (2012) 9 Cameron in The New Statesman (2013)
  • 3. “The truthis we needtovote because itisour democraticdutyto be in control of whoisin our government.WorkingasaYouth MP, I was particularlyinterestedtotryand understandwhysome membersof the UK populationrefusedtovote.Manyof them toldme,that theyfeltthattheirvote oftendidn’tcounttowardsanything,andthat theyfailedtotrustseniorpoliticiansonthe big issues.” Askinghimwhathe feltneededtobe done toencourage more people tobecome interestedin politics,he replied,“Ithinkwe needtostartto incorporate politicswithreality.We needtoshow it has an everydayrole bypossiblytargetingsmaller,more directissues.Parliamentitself alsoneeds reinventingtobringitcloserto the modernworldandwe needto change some of the outdated language usedbypoliticianstoday.” As I wasinterviewingsomeonewithexperience of workingwith politicians,Iwasparticularlykeento gethis opiniononwhetherpoliticianswere trustworthy? “I do trust politiciansingeneral,butitsometimesdepends.Some peopleonlywanttogetinto politicstoserve theirownneeds,sotransparencywithinconstituenciesisimportantwithinlocal politics.Overall,fromworkingwithseveral seniorpoliticiansIbelieve thatcontrarytowhat most people think,notall politiciansare deceitful liars,butare hard-working,caringpeople whoare passionate aboutlocal issues.Sadlythough,youhearmore aboutthe bad politiciansthanthe good ones.”10 As Britainheadstowardsanothergeneral election,the solutionstothisissue of constituentsrefusing to vote mustbe addressed.Sowhatshouldbe done?Withvotersgrowingdisillusionedatnothaving theirvoicesheard,greatersocial interactionbetweenpoliticiansand the publicisvital toattracting votersback.With the likesof DavidCameron,NickCleggandEdMilibandappearingontelevision programmessuchas the BBC’s QuestionTime specialon30th April 201511 -wherebytheyanswer questionsfrommembersof the publicaudience –stepsare beingmade to make sure that politicians interactwithmembersof societyinhealthydebates.However,thisalone isnotsufficient,andwith the rise of social media,more needstobe done tomake politicsaccessible andengageabletoa populationwhoare becomingincreasinglytech-savvy. Alongwiththis,the commonpublicnotion that youngpeople are notinterestedinpoliticshasbeenprovedfalsewithresearchfromopinion polls.A SkyNews survey of 1,003 16-24 year-oldsshowedthat47% feltsomewhat engagedwith politics,although59%of those questionedhave little ornoconfidence thatpoliticianswilladdress the issuesthatmatterto themmost12 .This againhighlightsthe issue of politiciansnotdoingenough to engage voters,withthe researchshowingthatyoungpeople are interestedinpolitics,butfeel that theyare constantlybeingletdownbypoliticiansthatdon’ttackle the issuesthataffectthem. ThisviewisreinforcedbystudentsthemselveswithA Level student,JamesSweetland, winningthe ‘2014 NewStatesman/Intergenerational Prize’foranessayonhow to get more youngpeople interestedinpolitics.Aspartof a youthmanifesto,Sweetlandputsforwardpoliciessuchas abolishingunpaidinternships,establishingequalminimumwage ratesforall agesand ensuringthat all youngoffendersreceive educationandtraining13 .Withresearchshowingjust44% of voters 10 Bonner (2015) 11 BBC (2015) 12 Survation (2014) 13 James Sweetland (2014)
  • 4. betweenthe agesof 18-24 chose to vote inthe 2010 General Election14 ,itisobviousmore politicians shouldlistentothe views of youngpeople toallow those youngpeople tohave greaterengagement withmainstreampolitics. Anotherissue thatneedssolvingtoengage more peoplewithpoliticsisto make politicsopentomore social classes.Asof August2014, 33% of MP’s were privatelyeducated, incomparisonto just7% of the general publicandalthoughall partiesseemcommittedtomaking parliamentmore representative,modernBritishgovernmentisstill dominatedbyprivately-educated white men15 .Alongwiththis, the factthatthe three mainparty leadersare all Oxbridge-educated men– DavidCameron, EdMiliband(Oxford) andNickClegg(Cambridge) 16 - once againreiteratesthe lack of diversificationineducationalbackgroundswithinmodernBritishpolitics. The ideathatthe only wayintopoliticsisthroughprivate educationisfranklynonsensical,yetthe alarmingnumberof prominentpoliticianswhohave beenprivatelyeducatedis astatisticthatsadly,dissuadesthose frompoorerbackgrounds,fromfeelingtheyare capable of makingasubstantial contributiontotheir countrythroughpolitics. Bymore politicianscomingtopubliceducational establishmentssuchas secondaryschoolsandtalkingtopupils,more peoplefrommiddleandlower-classbackgroundswill become interested inpoliticsandmaylooktoforge a political career,whichmayhelpinmaking Britaina more well-rounded,betterrepresentedandmostimportantlyfairerplace tolive. In conclusion,the disillusionmentof the general publictowardspoliticsisacombinationof factors. From brokenpromisesandhard-hittingausteritymeasures,tothe elitistupbringingof many politicians;manypeople believe theyare unfairlyrepresentedbyagroupof over-privilegedliars whodiscounttheiropinionsand continue withpoliciesthatfavourthose fromthe same classsystem as themselves.Notonlyisthisopinionwrong,butitisalsoan extremelydangerousview totake, giventhatmany whoshare these viewschoose tonotvote onwhorepresentsthemingovernment. By doingthismanypeople are choosingtoignore a democraticdutythattheyare luckyto possess, giventhe strugglesof peoplefromothercountrieswherecivil rightsare abusedbynotallowingthe populationtovote fortheirgovernment.However,inmanywaysit isthe politicianstoblame,for creatinga political systemthatfavoursthe privilegedandisun-engagebale forthe majorityof the population.Atatime whenissuessuchasImmigrationandthe efficiencyof the National Health Service are growingoutof hand,itis upto today’spoliticianstoencourage voterstohelpmake a difference bypersuadingthemthatdespite widespreadbeliefstothe contrary;theyDO have a voice. Word Count:2,191 words Bibliography Barkham,B (2010), ‘Identikitleaders:David Cameron,NickCleggandEdMiliband’,The Guardian website,1stOctober2010, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/oct/01/ed-miliband-david- cameron-nick-clegg,date accessed2ndMay 2015 BBC (2011) ‘Q&A:TuitionFees’,BBCNewswebsite,14thSeptember2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11483638, date accessed30th April 2015 14 IPSOS MORI (2010) 15 Grice(2014) 16 Barkham(2010)
  • 5. BBC (2012), ‘SeniorLibDemsapologise overtuitionfeespledge’,BBCNewswebsite,20thSeptember 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19646731, date accessed30th April 2015 BBC (2015), ‘Leadersgrilledonpost-electiondealsinQuestionTimespecial’,BBCNewswebsite,1st may 2015, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32533048, date accessed1st May 2015 Bonner,C (2015), Direct face-to-face interview withUKYouthAmbassasorCarneyBonner’,1stMay 2015 Eaton, G (2013), ‘Cameron'sdeclarationthatthe cutsare permanentrevealsthe Tories'true agenda’ NewStatesmanwebsite,12thNovember2013, http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/11/camerons-declaration-cuts-are-permanent- reveals-tories-true-agenda,date accessed30thApril 2015 European Parliament(2014),‘Resultsof the 2014 EuropeanElections’,EuropeanParliamentwebsite, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/20150201PVL00021/Previous-elections,date accessed27th April 2015 Grice,A (2014), ‘Oldboy'sclubstill dominatespubliclife,accordingtomajornew report’,The Independentwebsite,28thAugust2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/old-boys- club-still-dominates-public-life-according-to-major-new-report-9695229.html, date accessed2nd May 2015 IPSOSMORI (2010), ‘HowBritainVotedin2010’, IPSOSMORI website,21stMay 2010, https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/2613/How-Britain-Voted-in- 2010.aspx?view=wide,date accessed1stMay 2015 Jennings,M(2011), ‘2011 AssemblyElectionResults’,National AssemblyforWalesResearch document, http://www.assembly.wales/Research%20Documents/2011%20Assembly%20Election%20Results%2 0-%20Research%20paper-18052011-216014/11-023-English.pdf, date accessed28th April 2015 Keen,R(2015), ‘Membershipof UKpolitical parties’,UKParliamentwebsite,House of Commons Library, http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN05125/SN05125.pdf,date accessed28th April 2015 Survation(2015), ‘YoungPeople andPolitics –pollingonbehalf of SkyNews’,Survationwebsite, 15th September2014, http://survation.com/young-people-and-politics-polling-on-behalf-of-sky- news/,date accessed1stMay 2015 Sweetland,J (2014),‘A manifestoforyouth:how dowe getyoungpeople interestedinpolitics?’, NewStatesmanwebsite,17thNovember2014, http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/11/manifesto-youth-how-do-we-get-young-people- interested-politics,date accessed1stMay 2015 UK political info,‘General Electionturnout1945-2010’, UK political infowebsite, http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm,date accessed27thApril 2015
  • 6. YouGov (2010), ‘General Election2010 – YouGov/The Sunsurveyresults:17th- 18th April’,YouGov website, http://iis.yougov.co.uk/extranets/ygarchives/content/pdf/YG-Archives-Sun-trackers- 18.04.pdf, date accessed29th April 2015 YouGov (2015), ‘General Election2015 – YouGov/SundayTimessurveyresults:3rd-4thApril’, YouGov website, https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/mms0le3g9r/YG-Archive-Pol- Sunday-Times-results-040415-Final.pdf,date accessed29thApril 2015

Related Documents