Politics and Me

When it comes to UK politics I often find that, at best, I’m apathetic and, at worst, I’m very pessimistic about the whole thing. Take, for example, the views of Russell Brand that he expressed passionately in a recent interview with Jeremy Paxman (link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YR4CseY9pk&sns=fb). He argues that we need a change, that the political system that we have is screwed up, that the poor in society are disregarded. To be honest, there’s not much that I’d disagree with there. But then he calls for a revolution. That’s all well and good, but what would that revolution look like? What can we actually do to improve this system?

No matter who’s in power, someone moans. That’s democracy – the majority decide, but the minority are always unhappy. The party in power, whoever they may be, always gets blasted. It happened with Labour, now it’s happening with both Conservatives and Lib Dems. But, at the end of the day, it seems that democracy is the best system we have. There aren’t many people that would call for a return to the days of a monarchy with any sort of real power, and the presidential systems of countries like France and America don’t look a whole lot more attractive than what we have. We’re stuck with this system of petty arguments and insult matches. We like to think of ourselves as superior to earlier cultures like that of the Old Norse, but at least they got things done!

I don’t attach myself to any political party because I don’t want to run the risk of compromising my own beliefs in order to bring them in line with those of one political group. I follow all three of the major parties on Twitter, but, to be frank, they all annoy me. They seem to spend more time telling us how they’re better than each other than telling us what they can actually do for the good of society. When my first opportunity to vote comes around, I genuinely don’t know if I’ll even vote, let alone who I’ll vote for. I just can’t see it making much of a difference whoever’s in power.

As for my own political views, according to an online political compass test thing I did, I’m quite left wing socially, but quite conservative morally. Unfortunately, as left-wing seems to go with liberal morals and right-wing seems to go with conservative morals, I’m in a bit of a tricky situation anyway. I suppose that, in terms of politics, I see the social side of things as more important. After all, no matter what the laws are with regards to moral activity, morality is a personal thing that cannot be dictated by a government. I guess I’m more left wing in the sense that I don’t like the gaping class gap in our society and the hording of resources by a privileged few. Maybe that makes me an idealist, but I also don’t see much opportunity, or hope, of an effective change to that. Like Russell Brand, I don’t know what a revolution would look like. I don’t even know if I want a revolution, because they tend to be very messy things that don’t actually improve the state of a country. As I said, I have the potential to be very pessimistic.

I also feel that I need to mention my faith, because that has a massive impact on my worldview and, therefore, my political leanings. It is because of my Christianity that I am concerned with social inequality, and, more indirectly, why I don’t think we can do much about it on a political level (that’s not to say that individual people can’t make a difference). As a Christian, my ideal political situation is a world under the rule of a single king: Jesus. Anything short of that just isn’t going to be good enough. Yes, that also means that my ideal situation is one with an unelected, supreme ruler. Deal with it (my A level English class didn’t really like that suggestion when I made it in lesson). Of course, as I can’t predict when the second coming of Christ will be, or even whether or not in my lifetime, I realise that it would be silly to refuse to take part in politics based on this hope for the future. As I hope I’ve started to make clear, my attitude towards politics is based on more than this.

I’ve often heard it said that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about whoever’s in power. That’s fine by me. I’ve also heard that you should vote, because that’s the only way to make a difference. Unfortunately, I just don’t see that much of a difference whoever’s in power. I’d rather focus on the smaller scale, the individual/community level. This is the level where you do what you can to treat people equally and well, to model in your own life the things that you value on the larger scale. No matter what the politicians are doing in Westminster, it’s what you do that makes the difference in the lives of people around you.

I’m not perfect. I don’t get it right all the time. But I’d rather work at this than waste my energy endlessly debating with people who see the world differently. I like words (I’m an English student), but there are too many of them in politics. I’d rather just live what I believe, rather than trying to convince people to vote for it.

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