Getting in the politcal loop: a five point plan

Published On 23 October, 2012 | By Abi | Articles, Politics, Students/Education
E2E’s political editor Abi gives a five-point plan for young people wanting to get in the ‘political loop’.

As the future leaders of tomorrow, young people should be more engaged with politics. This is the point (more or less) that I made in my last blog post. However, after writing it, I realised that for a lot of us, this can be much easier said than done.

To learn about the political system works, it can be hard to know where to start. However, getting your political know-how up to scratch doesn’t mean trying to cram two years worth of A-level politics into your head over night. While being able to quote Karl Marx and knowing the difference between left and right-wing can be useful, they are not essential for navigating the politics of daily life.

So I’ve put together this simple five point plan to make your journey to political enlightenment that bit smoother. Use with caution: completion of these steps could lead to spiritual awakening and general greatness.

Step 1) Know the news:
Its sounds obvious, but I’m always surprised at how little people – especially young people – know about current affairs. Ignorance is most certainly not bliss. It is powerlessness. If you don’t know, you can’t act. It’s a lot easier than you think: tune in to the BBC 10 o’clock news, read the paper on the way to work/school/uni, download a news app on your phone (I recommend the guardian one), or have a scroll through Google news. Sorted.

Step 2) Watch Question Time:
This show is underrated. If you’ve never watched it, you’ve missed out. It has given us many memorable moments, from Nick Griffin’s public parring by a 17-year-old schoolboy, to lead singer of The Sex Pistol’s Johnny Rotten’s infamous ‘I don’t want my drugs taxed’ quote. This show takes banter to a new level, and you learn stuff in the process. Quick tip – always watch with twitter on in the background. The banter levels increase exponentially.

Step 3) Get on Twitter
Do it. The Facebook ship is receding faster than Prince William’s hairline! Twitter is where it’s at. The great thing about Twitter is that you can filter the info you want to read about. The ability to see what’s trending also alerts you to hot topics of discussion and allows you instant access to millions of opinions. Also, you can follow MP’s, journalists, and NGO’s and news channels and have direct access to their information.

Step 4) Get interesting friends
It might sound weird, but this is definitely something to work on. The ‘cool kids’ at school who sit around talking about how drunk they got on the weekend won’t necessarily be the cool kids in a few years time. There’s nothing wrong with having mates who you know you can have a good night with; but if you allow yourself to mix with a variety of people, you have access to a more diverse range of ideas, interests and information. Get involved with an organisation such as The Political Academy, Lives Not Knives or Bite The Ballot (check them out online) where you can meet other young people with amazing talent and big opinions.

Step 5) Repeat all of the above
The world is always evolving; new ideas are being born, old ideas are being challenged, and we’re all just trying to make sense of it. So it is important to always stay linked in to what’s going on and not to treat ‘political awareness’ as a destination you just reach; it’s more like a journey we’re always on.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to number 10.

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