Wow! People are interested in politics after all! Well, duuuur…

Our political and media establishments seem absolutely astounded that the people of Scotland are hugely engaged with the Referendum debate. In practically every TV and Radio news report in this last week of the hustings reporters have expressed complete surprise that over 97% of the Scots have registered to vote and that ‘ordinary people’ are even talking about the issues in the pub!

All this actually demonstrates is how out of touch our politicians and journalists are with the people of Scotland, England, Wales & N. Ireland.

The simple reason why people don’t vote much or seriously discuss politics any more is because with all the three mainstream parties in the UK signed up to basically the same ideological territory, IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE!

Which is exactly what every apathetic voter you ever talk to says,”What’s the point in talking about it?” they say, “It won’t make any difference, they’ll just do what they want anyway.”

And they are of course right. Thatcher and then Blair after her, perfected the strategy of completely disregarding public opinion between elections. And even at election time all the parties are crammed into such a narrow ideological band that there is really nothing of substance to argue about.

For example this week the Labour Party is arguing about whether or not Ed Balls should commit to keeping to the Tory NHS budget if Labour are elected! I mean ffs a Labour Party in opposition after these years of austerity should be shouting to the roof tops that they will roll back the Tory commercialisation of the NHS, not worrying if they should stick to the Tory budget!

Russel Brand got absolutely hammered by the press for saying something similar but he was absolutely right. What’s the point in putting intellectual, physical and emotional energy into ‘politics’ if your efforts make no difference?

What the Scottish Referendum proves is that if there is a real choice, if something substantial is genuinely at stake, then ordinary people are perfectly capable of and enthusiastically willing to engage in the democratic discourse.

It’s not rocket since ffs Scottish people are engaged with the referendum because it offers them a genuine choice that will lead to very different outcomes – in other words, it matters.



About I Am Not A Number

I Am Not A Number is written by Chris Jury. For 30 years Chris Jury was a TV actor, director and writer best known for playing Eric Catchpole in over 60 episodes of the BBC’s antique classic, Lovejoy, and for directing over 50 episodes of Eastenders. In 2008 he was appointed as the Senior Lecturer in Recorded Media in the School Of Music & Performing Arts at Bath Spa University. He currently presents, Agitpop, a pop & politics radio discussion programme on North Cotswold Community Radio He is currently the Communications Officer for UCU at Bath Spa University and a UCU SW Regional Rep at SWTUC.
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2 Responses to Wow! People are interested in politics after all! Well, duuuur…

  1. 77notout says:

    I find myself in 100% agreement with the sentiments expressed here. I happen to live in the ‘next door’ parliamentary constituency to Clacton and we are starting to see some unusually lively debate on how the political establishment has failed ordinary people. The potential for change following next month’s by election is at least a realistic possibility, starting in North East Essex!

  2. Steve says:

    Your lines:
    “IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE!”, & ”What’s the point in talking about it?” they say, “It won’t make any difference, they’ll just do what they want anyway.”
    Are exactly the problem, here in California. The ‘electoral college’ controls who gets the nod for our president. As this is an overwhelmingly Democrat state, the Republican candidate will never get votes from here. People across this country feel that they can’t be trusted with an imortant vote. Yet, Soctland trusts the people to an incredibly important vote. Well, that may be the reason today’s Referendum has been kept off most of our media.

    Whatever the outcome, I wish them well!

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