When was the last time you watched Prime Ministers Questions? Or any debate in the House of Commons for that matter? Never you say? You turned it on and realised what a huge mistake you were making and turned it over? I don’t blame you, I’m a politics graduate, and even I don’t watch it. In fact I bet the only time most people see it is when snippets are shown on the news, and what do we see? A bunch of mostly public school/Oxbridge educated over grown children loudly arguing and insulting each other. Yawn.
Every time I see Prime Ministers questions on the news I’m struck by how silly, petty and childish it appears. The two sides sit opposite each other, shouting, gesticulating, insulting and behaving like a class of 6 year olds arguing about who kissed who in the playground. Whenever someone makes a crap joke or comes up with a ‘hilarious’ put down the whole house erupts like a bunch of drunken apes, any grown up watching this show can’t help but think ‘yeah that’s not for me’. I know politics is very emotive, and the people in there care about the things they discuss, but can they not do it in a more civil, grown up manner? Why is one party pitted against the other? Why can’t they work together?
There’s no denying politics has a massive image problem, people are increasingly turned off by it. When people ask what I did at uni and I tell them I did politics, the most common reaction is ‘why? It’s boring!’ when I then relate politics to their daily life they suddenly become engaged and have an opinion again. It’s not that people don’t care, it’s that people feel detached from it, like it’s not something they can get into. The confrontational style mud slinging may appeal to supporters of the parties, but they are losing the interest of everyone else. Its time we ended this pantomime style politics for good. We need politicians to have a grown up debate, and engage with people on an adult level, unfortunately I can’t see it happening any time soon.
This week signalled the start of campaigning for the General Election, and predictably it followed a very negative route. Labour said ‘don’t vote for the Tories, they’ll take us back to the 1930’s!’, then the Tories came out and said ‘don’t vote for Labour, they have all their sums wrong and are going to ruin us!’. Claim and counter claim seem to be the way this election will be fought, the ‘everything we say is right, everything they say is wrong’ attitude is so depressing. If this turns you off, like me, then I urge you not to just give up your vote, instead engage with people who want to have a positive, adult debate about politics. I’m a supporter of Yorkshire First, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re putting together a positive vision for Yorkshire and one that is free of traditional party squabbling. Let’s leave the children to their games and leave politics to the grown ups.