Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Why I Fear For My Generation

by Alex Gibson

Bland leading the bland?
In a time where politics is constantly changing there is still, in my opinion, a group of people who are still all too often alienated by the subject. This is, of course, the younger generation.

The fact is that young people have a lack of knowledge, which is not through ignorance but a level of fear of and intimidation by politics. In topical programmes such as Question Time, newspapers and radio programmes, statistics and information appear to be thrown around like insults on the Jeremy Kyle Show. How are we expected to take an interest when the subject is, quite frankly, scary? As politics is a complex topic, when someone, especially from my generation, does not understand a certain topic, they turn off the television and move straight back into their comfort zone.

I also believe that part of the problem is, as you would expect, with the parties and the politicians themselves. If you ask the average teenager who Theresa May, Philip Hammond or even their local MP is, the likelihood is that they will not have a clue. This is because it is extremely hard to distinguish one politician from the other. This shouldn’t be the case as it is vital young people take an interest as it will affect them in years in come. Unfortunately, we are in a time where completely un-relatable political leaders, especially in a time where we will soon be voting on the EU, don’t tell us why we should vote for their side, but why we shouldn’t vote for the other; they resort to trying to scare us into making a decision. Political parties say they focus on the next generation, but is this really the case when they’re shouting down a microphone telling us that we’re all doomed if we vote for the other side?

What I do find interesting is the fact that there is still an interest in the subject, but it is conveyed in different ways. Frequently, I hear jokes relating to Farage, Cameron and, of course, our friend Mr Trump. This clearly shows that there is an interest, despite people’s opinions. However, as we are younger, our thoughts are not respected or treated in the same way as the opinions of elders. Perhaps there is a degree of ageism and we are not taken seriously. This angers me as I strongly believe that our opinions should be valued the same if not more as it will be my generation who clears up the mess that is currently being made. Another factor that leads to interest in politics is through comedians and entertainers constantly raising the issues, putting a ‘comedic twist’ on the subjects. This can be positive in the way that it encourages young people to show an interest and think for themselves. However, it can be negative as these people may just ‘jump on the bandwagon’ and not do any research for themselves, so they can just stick to what they find amusing and repeat the information.

It is all well and good me stating this, but is there a solution? 

My reply is: yes, of course.

Naturally, I’m not saying that all young people should instantly spend their time researching and becoming experts in the field of politics. However, I believe that much more could be done by the education system. I’m still in school and we have already been educated in the dangers of drinking, drugs and so on, but the topic of politics and current affairs has not been raised once. If PSHE (or an equivalent) spent some time on these subjects, students might be more prepared to deal with the situations they will face later on, such as voting. I also think that the jokes and remarks made by students should be channelled into deep thinking and intelligent discussions. In the eyes of young people, politics should no longer be considered as eating bacon sandwiches badly and building walls.

1 comment:

  1. I'd quite like to know the author's opinion on lowering the voting age to 16- with greater education and awareness, is it inevitable?


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