To Sever for Years

Allegedly there is a severance between people and politics in this country: but is there really?

Perhaps politics has become disengaged from us? Admittedly we as a nation have changed significantly since the 1950s when political engagement was at a high, however, has politics itself evolved alongside us? I don’t think so.

In an article written by the Chairman of the U.K Youth Citizenship Commission, Jon Tonge, he attempts to claim that youth disengagement is due to a lack of understanding of the term ‘good citizen’ leading to a separation of the ‘good civic participant’ and the ‘active political contributor’.  Maybe that is because these ideal do not exist? Surely creating a generation of ‘good citizens’ would derail the need for different political parties altogether, as by being a ‘good citizen’ everyone would have the same ideals?

These terms mean nothing to me. A ‘good civic participant’ arouses an image of homo-idyllic-duplicates, in which becoming an ‘active political contributor’ merely gives politics more power. If everyone adhered to these ideals, then there would be no disengagement from politics, but a lack of individualism and priority only to the masses; with everyone voting and participating politically this gives those at the top more power, removing the need for parties as surely the ‘good citizens’ would all advocate the same policies.

But realistically this is not ideal for ‘us’. Who wants to become a homo-idyllic-duplicate? Not me. What must be strived for within politics is the enhancement of individualism: making politics important for the individual, making it personal rather than addressing people as a ‘target group’.

But do all politicians want the masses to engage?

In some respects this could have a negative influence on party popularity, for instance, many of those labelled as ‘disengaged’ from politics are also ‘disadvantaged’ and therefore are hardly likely to vote Conservative and become increasingly deprived. Therefore, why is it such a surprise that political disengagement is at an all-time high when the party in power does not desire increased participation?

Rather than focusing on ‘disengagement’ solely, firstly all the ‘dis-‘ needs to removed from society; ‘DISadvantaged’ should not be a term used to describe anyone living within the U.K, a first world country. At the very least people should not be DIScriminated for being DISadvantaged. How can the ‘disadvantaged’ be criticised for ‘disengagement’ when they have no trust, and no reason to trust the political sphere?

Clearly disengagement with politics is ripe, however this is not wholly due to the current idea that ‘people don’t care any more’  or that ‘people don’t understand’ it’s because politics no longer understands the people.  Arguably, the right to vote also entails the right not to vote and the right not to politically participate and therefore political disengagement, rather than being inactive, may be an active stance against the current political climate.

If this continues to derail then politics and the people may sever for years to come.


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