So, the tricky second blog. As the title suggests, I have recently been looking at some of the Parliamentary sessions in which our MP’s have a calm, considered and informed debate on important issue (does sarcasm come across through blogging?). I use the phrase ‘our MP’s’ quite deliberately as to be a member of parliament is in essence a civil service job. These people work for us.
I’m aware that to many I am pointing out the obvious yet, particularly in modern British politics, I believe there is too much separation between MP’s and the public or at least their constituents. Two recent events have lead me to this conclusion.
The first is that over the christmas period I was made aware that my political activity had been broadcast on social media. The first was a meeting I had with Ed Miliband, where the photo (which is my profile on this page) was put on the youth Labour party page, after eating a meal that did not by any means involve a bacon sandwich. The second was a picture of me supporting the remain campaign, which was posted on the remain in the European Union Facebook page.
The second event which made me think of the connection, or lack of, between politicians and the people, was an Oxford Union talk from John Bercow (the speaker of the House of Commons). I initially watched this because I go to Essex University, as did John Bercow and on the train it was either this or staring at a man repeatedly smacking his head against a window as he fell asleep. I believe that John Bercow has reformed the position of speaker of the house, as he has taken his job to beyond a chair in Parliament into schools, colleges and universities. Yet when asked what his online presence was, he was clear that he wasn’t and isn’t interested in being on twitter. His reason for this was because he didn’t feel there was anything to be gained by him, a middle aged politician, having such a raw form of online communication.
This really surprised me. When I think of the qualities that an efficient politician should have, communication would be at the very top, so surely to have such a modern form of new media which has a mass audience, would be the ideal tool. Indeed I could go one step further and suggest that having a social media presence should be in the job description for a modern politician.
Now these two events made me question why people vote for people if they don’t know them on a personal or online level. Through my research it still remains that most of the public make their decision at election time because of a) party loyalty or b) party leader image. I’ve found myself becoming increasingly angry at people who voted a certain way recently, whether it be in the European referendum, for Trump or general elections. I have come to terms with the fact that humans are political beings and that a difference of opinion is not just inevitable, but essential. Our society can’t function on acceptance and agreement alone. I just hope that politicians and the public alike make use of modern communication so we don’t elect people on a face or a name basis but for a message or a moral.
P.S Ed (first name terms obviously) was actually a really nice bloke who seemed to talk frankly on most things.