As a young person interested in politics, I found it disappointing that, whilst looking for schools to attend to do my A Levels, only 2 of the many I looked round offered politics as an option to take. One of these schools was 24 miles away. The closest I’ve ever come to studying anything explicitly political is my English literature texts, two of which focus on the concept of socialism. Most of my friends aren’t interested in politics, so this doesn’t bother them. But it bothers me.
Politics is everything, and everything is political. So why is it that it’s not a mandatory subject? Why isn’t it regarded as highly as Science, Maths and English? Politics is so important to our lives, and because it’s never explained to us as youngsters, it can make it hard to grasp as you get older.
That’s an excuse I hear a lot: “I don’t get politics”. And people genuinely mean it. It worries me that some people, through no fault of their own, don’t even know the name of the person or people who run their country. It scares me that people don’t vote because they don’t understand, or worse, don’t care. If we were taught about parliament from a young age. People should know who the foreign secretary is, who the shadow cabinet are, and what role the different parties play in influencing our lives.
Of course, there’s always a chance that there’d be biased teaching. But that’s a risk we should take. Young people aren’t as easily influenced as people think; that’s become clear enough as we’ve gone completely against the media, and older generations’ expectations, to vote in masses for the Labour Party. Politics is as important as any other subject and it needs to start being treated as such.
If we want people to be voting in masses in elections and referendums, we need to be informing them in detail about their options. Politics is so important and I can’t understand why it’s not mandatory in every school in every part of the globe. We’re taught things to better our life experiences and extend our general knowledge, and help us prosper in life. Politics is such a large part of all those things it seems ridiculous it’s not taught in schools.
So, perhaps, if more people understood the parties, and understood the system, more people would vote. Democracy only works if people are willing to share their opinions, and people can only be confident in their opinions if they feel well informed enough to make them.