How do we increase participation levels in national Politics?
We’ve got the following going on:
- single issue campaigns e.g. environment, anti-war
- international campaigns e.g. Live8, Trade Justice, white band
- decreasing Political party membership
- decreasing voting
- decrease in student activism (they have to work to pay their way at uni, so maybe it’s not just apathy)
- failure and mistrust of Politicians
- failure and mistrust of big Political ideologies like socialism, old Labour, free market conservatism
- increasing gap between rich and poor – nationally and internationally
- failure of established religions to connect with the world as it is, and young people
I feel the answer has to lie at the grassroots level, where Community Development operates. But, although you can get people and even young people interested in helping their communities, how do you connect this with the bigger picture of having your say across all the issues that Politics has to face?
Trying to get people to vote more is not going to work: Community Development says this is not starting where people are at, and isn’t listening to what they want or how they want to go about things.
Trying to get people’s opinions on every single issue and every single proposal is not going to work: statisticians say opinion polls don’t really give you the complete picture of what people think, and Politicians say constant referenda don’t work either.