Biggest problem with politics right now?

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LiamHolt
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So politics has never been a straight forward matter but right now I think we're in one of the messiest points we've been outside of wartime in a fair while and there are so many factors that are contributing so I want to know what you guys think is the biggest problem in UK politics is right now. Is it out of touch politicians? Brexit? The snap election? Immigration concerns? Terrorism concerns? NHS concerns? Divided political parties? The FPTP voting system?

Those are just a few of what I consider to be the main issues right now (not in any order). I personally think our voting system needs some serious adjustment and believe that it would actually help with many other issues; A more representative voting system could potentially lower problems with out-of-touch politicians and mean elections would be less of a dramatic worry and more of just a natural part of the system taking place in turn making decisions easier to be made in parliament as politicians will focus more on the issues at hand than getting re-elected since strategic voting and the two-party system would be gone.

I also think politics needs to put into the National Curriculum as a mandatory subject; You cannot have a functioning democracy with a politically uneducated populace; How does having people who know nothing about politics voting in elections help? Look at why Socrates hates democracy and you'll understand what I'm getting at here.
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Arran90
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(Original post by LiamHolt)
I also think politics needs to put into the National Curriculum as a mandatory subject; You cannot have a functioning democracy with a politically uneducated populace; How does having people who know nothing about politics voting in elections help? Look at why Socrates hates democracy and you'll understand what I'm getting at here.
I believe that (lack of) education about politics is the biggest problem. The younger generation just hasn't got the foggiest idea about politics which explains the high level of apathy and it amplifies the power of the older folk at the polling station.

There was once an optional O Level called British Constitution which went into detail about the workings of the British Government and also touched on the legal system. I have the textbook by Kobrin and Scott at home. Sadly the subject never made it into the GCSE era after 1987. Perhaps it was a deliberate decision by Thatcher's government to make the future generations ignorant.
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Reformed2010
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Proper, Political education.

If I was given a £ every time my political-related conversations were reduced to me having to explain very basic political concepts and facts. Such as the fact that the EU parliament is directly elected, or that it in many ways has more democratic mechanism than the UK for example because it uses a PR voting system and no law can be passed without direct or indirect input from the voting citizen. I would be on the Sunday Times rich list. All the things you list, like Terrorism or Brexit, will never be debated properly because people will be debating them from a position of sheer ignorance. Take the issue around Scottish Independence. How on earth do you expect to have a serious debate on the issue and apply a reasonable solution when you have this happening:

(based on a real conversation)
Friend: But it's our oil. Our resources! we should not have to share it with the UK
Me: But you are happy to share resources with the EU through the fishery and agriculture policy?
Friend: Yeah because tories are bad! that is why I want Scotland to leave the UK but Remain in the EU!
Me: You dislike the UK right-wing so badly that you want to leave the British Union but then have no issue with being in the EU with the Far-Right?
Friend 1: What Far-Right?
Me: (kill me)

I never grasped the full understanding to the quote that suggested Democracy is the worst system but the best we have. Until living through the AV referendum, Scottish referendum and Brexit referendum. Millions of people are not just ignorant but they are willfully ignorant and we fail to address this in our education system. I believe there is enough evidence to defend voting, protesting, petitioning etc as an absolute right. However I equally believe it's important to see it as a responsibility for the state to at least ensure there is a decent ability for one to exercise that said right. Which can be achieved not through denying people their right through a test but at least educating them of local, national, european and global politics.

How many people Brits knew half of our legislature is unelected? While they watch on Question Time as Farage blast the EU for being undemocratic. Despite him being an elected MEP and the EU Council being made up for elected governments.

I despair.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by LiamHolt)
I also think politics needs to put into the National Curriculum as a mandatory subject; You cannot have a functioning democracy with a politically uneducated populace; How does having people who know nothing about politics voting in elections help? Look at why Socrates hates democracy and you'll understand what I'm getting at here.
Totally disagree. Politics should be open to all regardless of education. It is for politicians to stand on a manifesto that resonates with the voters. However, they should be held to account if they lie to get into power or win their argument and then rescind on their promises.

Where I think things get messy is that the press are neither impartial and neither do they report each candidate wishing to stand fairly or objectively so as punters we don't really stand a chance.
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LiamHolt
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Totally disagree. Politics should be open to all regardless of education. It is for politicians to stand on a manifesto that resonates with the voters. However, they should be held to account if they lie to get into power or win their argument and then rescind on their promises.

Where I think things get messy is that the press are neither impartial and neither do they report each candidate wishing to stand fairly or objectively so as punters we don't really stand a chance.
Politics should be open to all but when you allow decisions to be made without any knowledge on the subject whatsoever you cannot be surprised when the decisions aren't the best, teaching kids about politics would at least give them a foundation on which to build political ideals with some merit to them.

The mainstream media are owned by a tiny handful of right-wing billionaires and while they don't make it completely one sided you can clearly see the right-wing bias when you look at how much slander Corbyn has received in papers and on tv despite him being perceived as an absolute godsend by some. I'm not saying there's any of the big conspiracies that they're controlling politics, only that they're far from impartial. Why do you think you have working class people voting right wing despite 'working-class' politics typically being left leaning? It's because for most people who don't really take much interest in the goings on of politics, the only knowledge they have comes from newspapers and TV where this right-wing bias is lurking.

While I don't think there should be an education wall people have to surpass before they can vote they should be given some information in order to make an informed decision when the time comes.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by LiamHolt)
while they don't make it completely one sided you can clearly see the right-wing bias
You can't. People can't. That is how propaganda works. It is no surprise that the Sun always backs the winner of an election.

What would you teach in politics. Any learning you did 5 years ago wouldn't prepare you for the current state of politics.
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Dysf(x)al
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I think it's education and clarity. We had the Brexit referendum and then the next day, the most Googled term in the UK was "What is the EU?" Seriously? If you're going to vote on something that important, at least find out what it is? Then there's the problem that people who voted leave (or remain for that matter) had no idea what it would mean because... we weren't told. We were basically told that we could be in or out with some very misleading information (where's that £350 million a week gone?). We didn't know if we'd stay in the Single Market.

The other problem is that a lot of people, especially young people, choose not to vote. They become under-represented and so the eventual outcome ends up not being in their interest. Come on - people fought and died for your vote, whether it was the civil rights movement, women's suffrage or setting up a democracy in the first place. The least you could do is appreciate that by going and making use of it.
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LiamHolt
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(Original post by ByEeek)
What would you teach in politics. Any learning you did 5 years ago wouldn't prepare you for the current state of politics.
Teach the basics; How parliament functions, how a government is formed, how voting actually works. If people knew what their vote was going to do maybe they would use it differently; I know I would if the reverse were true.

If we had said yes to the alternative vote back in 2011 I would be voting differently to what I currently do purely because FPTP requires strategic voting to get the best out of a bad batch of results and this forces a two-party system which pretty much means you don't vote for the party you want to, you vote AGAINST the big party you disagree with more

If more people knew how voting systems worked I can bet you we would've switched to AV in 2011 and most people would vote differently now which means if people were a bit more informed just a few years back the political landscape could potentially look completely different - That's why it's important, we've stagnated with conservative rule through ignorance and denying so much opportunity.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by LiamHolt)
Teach the basics; How parliament functions, how a government is formed, how voting actually works. If people knew what their vote was going to do maybe they would use it differently; I know I would if the reverse were true.
I think that is where we differ. You are assuming the population is ignorant when it comes to voting. I disagree. I think people understand very well what their vote means and I think they cast it carefully.

Sure, people may not understand the issues in as much detail as you or I, but it is for politicians to explain them properly.
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LennyBicknel
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Killing the two major parties through PR would be a nice start. But as long as politics remains a power, money orientated career, we are always going to be governed by inept individuals.
People remain blissfully ignorant because there's no incentive. The two establishment parties are institutionally engrained in our politics now. This is not how our, supposed, 'democracy', should operate, nor is it how parties should exist.
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RuneFreeze
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(Original post by Reformed2010)
Proper, Political education.

If I was given a £ every time my political-related conversations were reduced to me having to explain very basic political concepts and facts. Such as the fact that the EU parliament is directly elected, or that it in many ways has more democratic mechanism than the UK for example because it uses a PR voting system and no law can be passed without direct or indirect input from the voting citizen. I would be on the Sunday Times rich list. All the things you list, like Terrorism or Brexit, will never be debated properly because people will be debating them from a position of sheer ignorance. Take the issue around Scottish Independence. How on earth do you expect to have a serious debate on the issue and apply a reasonable solution when you have this happening:

(based on a real conversation)
Friend: But it's our oil. Our resources! we should not have to share it with the UK
Me: But you are happy to share resources with the EU through the fishery and agriculture policy?
Friend: Yeah because tories are bad! that is why I want Scotland to leave the UK but Remain in the EU!
Me: You dislike the UK right-wing so badly that you want to leave the British Union but then have no issue with being in the EU with the Far-Right?
Friend 1: What Far-Right?
Me: (kill me)

I never grasped the full understanding to the quote that suggested Democracy is the worst system but the best we have. Until living through the AV referendum, Scottish referendum and Brexit referendum. Millions of people are not just ignorant but they are willfully ignorant and we fail to address this in our education system. I believe there is enough evidence to defend voting, protesting, petitioning etc as an absolute right. However I equally believe it's important to see it as a responsibility for the state to at least ensure there is a decent ability for one to exercise that said right. Which can be achieved not through denying people their right through a test but at least educating them of local, national, european and global politics.

How many people Brits knew half of our legislature is unelected? While they watch on Question Time as Farage blast the EU for being undemocratic. Despite him being an elected MEP and the EU Council being made up for elected governments.

I despair.
I agree with you in that pretty much all my friends are politically illiterate and I find myself explaining the most basic things which can be frustrating when your such an obsessive...
With regards to the EU parliament, why are you ignoring the fact that it's literally the only "democratic" parliament in the world that cannot propose legislation, only vote on legislation proposed by appointed commissioners? Now sure, you could probably find some democratic pathway by saying that the people who are appointed are at some point there because of elected politicians, but the EU mechanisms operate in a way that is fundamentally different from how we expect our democracy in the UK to function.
Half our legislature is unelected, but that's just a sleight of hand. Of course the House of Lords should be abolished, but it's largely symbolic and/or just slows down the passage of legislation. It really doesn't make any difference to how an elected government can function. The biggest problem with our democracy isn't the House of Lords, but the voting system to the House of Commons. Nick Clegg betrayed everyone who wanted a proper PR system, because he essentially settled for a worse option that was too complicated and was always going to get rejected.
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prazzyjazzy
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You can't have a meaningful debate without it being reduced to petty name-calling.

Rather than different parties trying to do what's best for the public, it's more a competitive circus of people with overly rigid views who refuse to compromise.
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username2228735
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(Original post by LiamHolt)
Teach the basics; How parliament functions, how a government is formed, how voting actually works. If people knew what their vote was going to do maybe they would use it differently; I know I would if the reverse were true.

If we had said yes to the alternative vote back in 2011 I would be voting differently to what I currently do purely because FPTP requires strategic voting to get the best out of a bad batch of results and this forces a two-party system which pretty much means you don't vote for the party you want to, you vote AGAINST the big party you disagree with more

If more people knew how voting systems worked I can bet you we would've switched to AV in 2011 and most people would vote differently now which means if people were a bit more informed just a few years back the political landscape could potentially look completely different - That's why it's important, we've stagnated with conservative rule through ignorance and denying so much opportunity.
You are assuming that the majority of the populace is ignorant and unable to understand the political system that governs them.
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Arran90
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(Original post by ByEeek)
You can't. People can't. That is how propaganda works. It is no surprise that the Sun always backs the winner of an election.

What would you teach in politics. Any learning you did 5 years ago wouldn't prepare you for the current state of politics.
I suggest you read the book by Kobrin and Scott. You can still find copies on e-Bay every now and then. It's a bit dated in places but it describes the structure and the organisation of the British government and legal system.

The election system for general elections hasn't changed much in centuries apart from the abolition of twin and university seats after WW2.
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Reformed2010
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(Original post by ByEeek)
I think that is where we differ. You are assuming the population is ignorant when it comes to voting. I disagree. I think people understand very well what their vote means and I think they cast it carefully.

Sure, people may not understand the issues in as much detail as you or I, but it is for politicians to explain them properly.
It's not an assumption, it's based on evidence gathered by countless organisations and academics. You're putting an impossible task on quite frankly a bunch of people who are not in the best place to be held responsible for political education. Why on earth are SNP or UKIP spokespeople who either dislike the UK or EU going to ever give a fair and balance explanation of the UK and EU? that's like saying the board of directors from oil and gas companies should be told to inform the public of the environmental and health damage they are committing. Yes, in an ideal world people would have the sense of decency and do such a thing. But in reality, human beings a corruptible and that is why we have the damn Police, Military and regulatory agencies.
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Reformed2010
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(Original post by RuneFreeze)
I agree with you in that pretty much all my friends are politically illiterate and I find myself explaining the most basic things which can be frustrating when your such an obsessive...
With regards to the EU parliament, why are you ignoring the fact that it's literally the only "democratic" parliament in the world that cannot propose legislation, only vote on legislation proposed by appointed commissioners? Now sure, you could probably find some democratic pathway by saying that the people who are appointed are at some point there because of elected politicians, but the EU mechanisms operate in a way that is fundamentally different from how we expect our democracy in the UK to function.
Half our legislature is unelected, but that's just a sleight of hand. Of course the House of Lords should be abolished, but it's largely symbolic and/or just slows down the passage of legislation. It really doesn't make any difference to how an elected government can function. The biggest problem with our democracy isn't the House of Lords, but the voting system to the House of Commons. Nick Clegg betrayed everyone who wanted a proper PR system, because he essentially settled for a worse option that was too complicated and was always going to get rejected.
The House of Lord's regularly block laws and amends routinely, it does it often.

Also the EU Commission is appointed by the same process the UK Cabinet is. We do not directly elect our Executive, elected representatives appoint people to become the Executive. The UK Defence Minister is appointed by an elected MP, the Prime Minister. The EU Commissioner is likewise appointed by elected representatives, the 28 elected governments of the EU.

Lastly you need to understand the historical context of the EU Parliament. It has been calling for the right to propose legislation. It has constantly called for it and who has stopped such a thing? not the EU Commission or the EU Parliament itself. It's the 28 elected governments, like the UK government. Everytime the EU has tried to become more democratic, more accountable to the European public, it's been national governments like the UK who has blocked this reform. I know it fits some people's fantasy of the EU being this almighty anti-democratic blue blob. But it's not true. It's made up of different institutions and politicians from different political parties, just like the UK.

For example, the EU Commission President is now thanks to the EU Lisbon Treaty chosen by the same process that the UK Prime Minister is selected. The EU Parliamentary parties pick their candidate for the Commission, they campaign during the European election period and then the party with the biggest majority in the Parliament has their candidate become the EU Commission President. Just like a Prime Minister. Fantastic right? the voter has now the ability to influence who leader of the Commission. Hooray for democracy!

Who tried to block that democratic reform? oh yes, David ****ing Cameron. The UK Prime Minister.

The majority of the House of Lords want to keep it unelected and do the Tories, so I blame the House of Lords and the Tory party. The majority of the EU MEPs want more democracy. It's the national governments that like to block this from happening. So no, I don't blame 'the EU' for it. I blame the people responsible.

Basically, look at the pic in my signature.
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LiamHolt
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(Original post by Aceadria)
You are assuming that the majority of the populace is ignorant and unable to understand the political system that governs them.
Not unable, there would be no point trying to teach if they were unable to learn. There's just a very large amount of the populace that doesn't know how our political system works and it's not due to ignorance it's due to the fact that it's not taught and people don't just magically come to know how it works by themselves.

Yes, people could educate themselves but where's the incentive? It's ignorance in a way but I don't think it's got any malice to it; only that they feel so far removed from the goings on in parliament that they fail to see just how big a part every person actually can have in a democracy (even one as ****ed up as our own).

With some real political education in schools people will be able to have far more meaningful discussion on political matters and it will take alot of political power away from the media as people won't be blindly relying on what they see and hear in the news for 100% of their political beliefs.
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Chichaldo
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Tories have a chance of winning. Big problem.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by Reformed2010)
It's not an assumption, it's based on evidence gathered by countless organisations and academics. You're putting an impossible task on quite frankly a bunch of people who are not in the best place to be held responsible for political education.
Do you not think that is an elitist thing to say? How does one judge that the decisions taken by an electorate were ill informed or badly judged? Was Brexit an example of a bad decision of ill informed opinion? Was the election of the Tory party based on a bad decision? How would you ever know? How can you measure such a thing?

People have their opinions. We may disagree with those opinions and argue that they are based on poorly understood ideas, but can we really say that someone's opinion is wrong and cite ignorance for that? Since we all see the world differently is this not a case of the Elephant and the Blind Men where we are all blind to an extent?
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Reformed2010
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Do you not think that is an elitist thing to say? How does one judge that the decisions taken by an electorate were ill informed or badly judged? Was Brexit an example of a bad decision of ill informed opinion? Was the election of the Tory party based on a bad decision? How would you ever know? How can you measure such a thing?

People have their opinions. We may disagree with those opinions and argue that they are based on poorly understood ideas, but can we really say that someone's opinion is wrong and cite ignorance for that? Since we all see the world differently is this not a case of the Elephant and the Blind Men where we are all blind to an extent?
I think you misunderstood my comment. I was arguing that it was highly idealistic to expect elected MPs to be able to objectively inform the public on political issues. I also dislike this lazy response to a observable reality. Most people are ignorant to medical science. It's not 'elitist' to admit this, it's honest. Most people are ignorant to environmental science. That's not elitist. At all. It's likewise not elitist to state, most British people have no clue how the EU works and thus should be given a formal education on it. We all have opinions but not all opinions are based on evidence and thus will not be equally valid.
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