How do most people find out about parties, policy issues and what’s going on in politics at the moment? Well, if you’re passionate about politics you probably read political blogs. You might go so far as to join a party – and that party will keep you informed with their take on things and the work they are doing. For most people though, it comes down to the media. Newspapers, television, radio. This is how we know what’s going on, what the issues are and what our options might be.
In order to have a decent democracy, we’ve got to have good information. You can’t make a good voting decision if you don’t know what’s going on. You aren’t going to make it to a party website to check out their policies if you don’t know the party exists. If you’re not much interested in politics in the first place, you might not want to go that far, you just want enough insight to make some choices.
At the last elections for councils and MEPs, about two thirds of people did not vote. We need to be asking why. How we talk about politics and how we get political ideas in front of people who feel intimidated, bored, or despairing in face of politics, is a big issue for anyone who cares about democracy.
If you mostly followed the BBC, you could be forgiven for thinking that UKIP were the only party out there some of the time and you’d have had no idea the Greens exist, much less how good the odds were you had a Green to vote for. Is that fair? We don’t think so! If all you hear from the media is the politics of hatred, fear and despair – and that’s my personal assessment of the mainstream right now – if that’s all you hear, why would you vote? Small differences of emphasis between the main parties and no real alternatives, versus the alarming UKIP brigade. Our local example announced herself to the world in a series of letters establishing that she doesn’t understand the difference between geographical climate difference, and climate change. It doesn’t inspire confidence, much less hope!
If a desire to blame and hate other people doesn’t get you out of bed of a morning, what else is there? This is why the silence around Green politics is so troubling. You can’t have a proper debate unless there are a range of options on the table. We’re being offered the same narrow choices, as though real alternatives could not possibly exist. They do.
If you’ve been uncomfortable with recent broadcasting, you can join the thousands of people who have already signed this petition of protest. Let’s open the media up a bit to some proper debates!