Politics: personality or policy?

6 Mar

Parliament at night We've published an Election Special at Behind the Spin – with thanks to Darren Lilleker of Bournemouth University who commissioned and vetted the articles.

In overview, the articles belong in one of two camps. Those written by professionals are concerned with the process of elections: campaigning tactics and issues of electoral reform. Those written by students are primarily interested in the personalities of political leaders.

It's hard for someone of my generation (my first election as a voter brought Margaret Thatcher to power) to view politics from the perspective of the post-Cold War generation. Left-right no longer has any meaning, and there are few clear ideological lines between the main parties. What's a young voter to do? Turn off politics and turn on The X Factor.

If there's no longer meaning in left-right, here are some issues that should cause young voters to be concerned or angry:

  • The previous generation have borrowed and spent to such an extent that they will most probably be poorer than their parents. (This could even be the first generation in seven centuries to be poorer, less healthy and to die younger than their parents). Money matters. The coming election will be about finances more than anything else.
  • Previous generations have been taking natural resources from the planet with no thought for the future. There will be a price to pay. The environment is a major issue that sits outside conventional left-right party politics.

I'm still accepting articles for publication on politics, political communication or the other issues we cover. Please keep sending them to editor@behindthespin.com

4 Responses to “Politics: personality or policy?”

  1. Penny 06/03/2010 at 12:55 pm #

    I think you’re right about the issues although I think should cause everyone to be angry, not just young voters. What worries me is the lack of courageous ideas on offer to deal with them. No party is rising to the scale of the challenge we’re facing, and with the system we have it’s hard to see where dynamic leadership is going to come from. The real danger is that everyone disengages from politics and lets the party pole-climbers get on with it by themselves.

  2. Jack Adlam 08/03/2010 at 5:05 pm #

    I think the reason those articles written by students are more concerned with personality is because for many young people that is the only way they feel they can judge politics.
    Because young people are not engaged in politics, they cannot make a sound judgment, based on policies or the electoral process, all they have to go on is personality…and that is a real shame!

  3. Paul Seaman 11/03/2010 at 6:42 am #

    It is the adults who make the biggest deal of personalities – is that not the main pitch of both Brown and Cameron when they talk about character?
    As to taking too much of the world’s resources without worrying about tomorrow – I don’t buy it. The real problem here is that too many PRs loathe the modern world and loathe their clients’ role in it. That’s a major problem.

  4. Richard Bailey 11/03/2010 at 12:45 pm #

    My intention, Paul, was to anger a few of my students rather than to annoy you with those comments. But you’re right, it’s good to debate and challenge ideas.

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