spiked proposals: Youth apathy
Politicians concerned about young people's disengagement from politics should talk politics, practise politics, and allow politics to be taught.
Politicians concerned about young people’s disengagement from politics should:
- Talk politics
While politicians continue to refuse to talk to young people about politics, they have no chance of engaging them in political discussion – let alone getting them to vote. Politicians should talk to young people about the key issues of the day. Instead, they patronise them with endless discussions of issues they assume to be ‘relevant’ to young people (like sex, drugs…and sex and drugs), or flatter them, through highlighting the importance of the ‘new politics’ of direct action and small-scale protest.
When party politics degenerates to the level of petty personal accusations about character or sleaze, or when political issues are discussed in the most banal therapy-speak, is it any wonder that young people do not get excited about what happens in parliament? If politicians brought some ideas, debate, courage and convictions into politics, who knows what might happen?
If the problem is that young people do not know enough about political history and institutions, they should be provided with a decent political education. The vague, contentless lessons in ‘citizenship’ to be made compulsory in schools seem designed more as lessons in morality and life-skills than as lessons about politics, and seem likely to turn young people off contemporary politics even more.
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