I know I’ve written similar posts to this before but it’s something I feel strongly about.
Politics should be taught in school. Probably from 11+.
I know you can take government and politics as an A level but I think there should be lessons covering at least the basics.
How politics works.
How politics affects everyone and and everything.
How important it is to use your vote.
How to research real information.
How laws are made.
How the House of Commons and the House of Lords work.
What a hung parliament means and what happens in that instance.
How our involvements with other countries and things like the EU, NATO, the UN etc work.
What democracy means and how it works.
Not only would this, I imagine, encourage people to engage more with politics, it would enable us to use our votes better.
For example, I’m sure I’m not alone in having very little knowledge about the EU and everything it involves, I had very little understanding of the implications of voting to either leave or remain. Only what I’d managed to research in the months that led up to the referendum, I’m a reasonably intelligent person, I’m able to seek out information and yet I actually knew very little.
We were asked to have our say on a huge issue with far reaching ramifications, when we were poorly informed.
I, personally know people who don’t vote because they feel their vote won’t make a difference, nothing changes, or they have an attitude of “well, it doesn’t affect me”. It does. It affects everything.
Knowing where to find real, unbiased information is difficult. I believe that a lot of people still look to the mainstream media for political information and the media is definitely biased.
I feel that if you have some understanding of how something works you’re more likely to engage with it. Politics is not a particularly enticing subject and if people aren’t encouraged to take an interest early on, they may never do so. I’m not inferring people aren’t bright enough to take an interest, just that it’s a bloody difficult thing to get interested in.
There’s a very cynical part of me that can’t help but wonder if it’s not taught more in schools because *they* don’t want us to know too much.
Cynical perhaps but not a wildly foolish idea.
In my opinion, and you may disagree, for a democracy to work well it’s about more than people just turning up on polling day. It’s about members of society taking an interest, knowing, as far as is possible, what the different options mean and having at least a basic understanding of what exactly they are voting for. And for that to happen I believe we need better political education in schools.