Today I was asked: “Now the election is over, don’t you think it’s time to let politics go and move on?”
This is an idea that worries me. We live in a democracy. The country has elected a government to represent the views of the people. That doesn’t mean that we say “there you go old chap, do what you will with the place we will vote again in 2020.” Politics is an ongoing thing. We have the democratic right to lobby our mps on issues in parliament, we have the democratic right to peacefully protest and we still currently have the right of free speech (although with the snoopers charter this is looking more threatened) and I certainly intended to use those rights. There’s also far too much voter apathy, and perhaps conversations can help with that.
Elections are not just every five years, there is local elections, I’ve a feeling another referendum on electoral reform is brewing, there is likely to be a referendum on EU membership by 2017, there is the upcoming police and crime commissioner elections. Then there’s two of the main parties running leadership elections. These are issues that can directly affect all our futures.
On top of that, I realise that in an ideal world everyone would read all the manifestos and choose the one they agree with. In practice the media whip up a storm over a few issues and a lot of people decided based on a single, or a few issues. Further still, even those people who have read the entire manifesto may have chosen the best fit to their view, but may still vehemently disagree with some of the policies in there, or policies that are not in there and come after. This is why the democratic process exists, why you have a named MP who you can write to an explain your views and urge them to express them in parliamentary debates and urge them to vote for or against certain pieces of legislature. The petition is another part of the democratic process, it shows parliament the state of public opinion and when enough signatures are gathered it puts an onus on parliament to at least commit to discussing the issue raised.
These are the democratic processes that we have to hold our government to account. Not everyone realises this, and not everyone realised they can make a difference. This is why conversation on the topics can be imperative.
So no, I don’t think it’s time to let political updates go and move on. I think it’s time to mobilise, and lobby hard, to ensure the government is working for, and accountable to, its people.