As you’re probably aware, we are in the middle of the political party conference season and, as someone who sees themselves as an engaged citizen who cares about what our political parties have to say, I’ve been paying attention, or at least trying to because truthfully, how clued in am I really? How clued in is anyone for that matter?
Political debates have always seemed to me to be shrouded in a thick fog that is scarcely penetrable. No sooner has one side made a case that seems to be valid and of the utmost importance, the other disparages it, all of it covered gleefully by a media that feeds off the bickering of a group of people who bandy about facts, figures and opinions that leave most people floundering as to who to believe; well, anyone who is trying to be unbiased and come to carefully thought out conclusions anyway because it seems to me that most people simply choose a party based on social class or who their parents vote for. Of course there is the young vote, the ones spectacularly duped by the Lib Dems last time around.
But really, what does the normal person truly understand about what goes on over there in Westminster? The older I get the more I am staggered by why the teaching of politics and the political system, with real examples of how different policies affect real people, is not something that underpins our educational system, alongside the more traditional core subjects. The same goes for economics, which surely can be fitted into and around existing maths lessons; how anyone is really supposed to understand the astronomical figures used in relation to the budget and deficit is simply beyond me.
Considering the soundbites that get trotted out about the sheer importance of our democratic system, and the social upheaval that is still seen the world over as different societies chase the gold standard of how to govern people, I once again have to say that it is staggering that the language and understanding of the functions and purposes of the glue that supposedly holds us together is not second nature to us from a young age.
For now, that’s all.