Tom Pride writes: Here’s part of my interview with comedian Jolyon Rubinstein (The Revolution Will Be Televised), who has just completed a documentary to be shown tomorrow on BBC 3 – An Idiot’s Guide To Politics – about why the Facebook generation is so disengaged from politics.
TP: On a scale of 1 to 10 – where 1 is completely and utterly out-of-touch and 10 is incredibly and unbelievably out-of-touch – how out-of-touch with young people would you say UK politicians are?
JR: The thing I think we need to be careful of is lumping them all together. People like Zac Goldsmith (Con), Caroline Lucas (Green), Paul Flynn (Lab) and Tim Farron (Lib Dem) are very in tune with what the younger generations make of the Westminster and more than that they are actively engaged in challenging the perception. However, I think the party leaderships of all the big 3 are on a 14 or 15. They don’t give a toss. They recognise they don’t need young people to vote for them to maintain the status quo. In a way it’s better for them that young people aren’t engaged. They are analogue leaders in a digital age and are about as exciting as a Commodore 64 for kids who are used to playing Playstation 3’s.
TP: Young people (and older too) often say that their vote doesn’t count because big money dominates politics. After talking to disillusioned young people, do you think restricting the funding of political parties in some way would make young people more likely to vote?
JR: It would help yeah, but honestly there needs to be a movement that demands a completely new political culture. I still think we are a way off a time where young people really can feel, in a tangible way, that politicians are screwing with their lives directly. It’s ironic really because with tuition fee increases, cuts in benefits for the under 25’s, rising rents, rising house prices, the end of the EMA and the closures of youth centres (and a certain BBC channel which made programs for them) that’s exactly what’s happening. My film tries to draw a lot of the threads together and tries to say voting takes 5 minutes, if we all did it they’d pay far more bloody attention to what we actually want.
Jolyon’s documentary – An Idiot’s Guide To Politics – went out on Wednesday (February 11) on BBC Three.
Perhaps the most optimistic part of the doco was the segment on the Scottish referendum campaign, which showed that young people could be engaged by politics, and indeed took part enthusiastically, when they believed they had a real chance of making a difference.
Of course, they have a real chance of making a difference in the UK general election but it seems they’re just not seeing it through all the claims, counter-claims, spin and flat-out lying that is going on. Who can blame them?
But there can be no doubt that David Cameron’s Conservative-led government of the last five years has changed the UK for the worse, in order to suck up money from the workers and the poor and dump it on rich people who donate to his political party.
That’s not going to change unless British citizens – including the young – realise that they are the ones who have to change it.
Let’s hope films like Jolyon’s help get the message across.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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