So many people hate politics.
David Cameron, on the news, using words we don’t understand and refusing to just answer the question. Yawn! This is what many people think about when they hear the word ‘politics’.
Before I was even born, politics was impacting my future. My grandparents moved here from Jamaica because of British foreign policy — that’s politics! I was born in Queen Elizabeth Hospital NOT on a beautiful island with sunshine and mangoes because of POLITICS!
Years later, when I was at Sixth Form, Tony Blair, the Prime Minister at the time introduced the ‘Education Maintenance Allowance’ which gave students from lower income backgrounds £30 a week for staying in college (this is a myth for some of you, sorry about that…). That kind of politics… I liked.
So what can we say then? Is politics good or bad? When people in Parliament make decisions without considering the impact on everyday people, the effects can be devastating; but when MPs listen and take our stories seriously, Parliament can have a huge positive impact.
But, who really wants to wait around for politicians to get it right…? Some people spend all of their time trying to get voted into Parliament to change these laws, but other people see politics in a different way…
Politics, when it first became recognised as ‘a thing’ was all about making decisions to help the city and its citizens. Aristotle first talked about it, and he believed that everyone was political. Why? Because as human beings, we all want to create the life we want for ourselves. No one really wants other people (especially complete strangers) to decide where you are going to live, what school you are going to, what kind of job you are going to do or what you deserve to get paid!
If we think about politics in this way, then we realise that is much bigger than being an MP or Prime Minister.
Politics, in its truest form, is not just about voting, its about influencing the life of the city. The good news is… ANYONE can do that… including you.
That is why I work in politics, as a community organiser, with schools, churches, mosques, colleges, unions and housing associations. WE decide the agenda, WE tell our stories and WE make change happen…
That is the kind of politics I can go for….
So what’s the deal with the EU?
Time and space does not allow me to explain all the details of the EU, but there is information online here and some quick videos here.
The EU referendum is going to be all over the news from now until we vote on Thursday 23rd June. We will be asked: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”
Every British citizen aged 18 and over can vote but you must register if you haven’t already.
The first thing you need to know, is that every newspaper or media outlet has an angle, and they want to persuade you to agree with them. There are many different aspects to the debate (trade, immigration, security etc), and there are good arguments on both sides. Take your time to understand the facts, do some google-ing and get a better picture of the different sides of the debate.
The second point to remember is that this is about people not just numbers. Many of the arguments will be put in terms of money and economics, because everyone is worried about that, but also remember that our political decisions can make or break other peoples lives (think about the mangoes and the sunshine). Look out for stories of how the decision will impact everyday people here and in Europe, not just politicians and business people.
Final Thought… Before the referendum gets here, and after it is gone, what are YOU going to do with your political self? How are YOU going to shape your community and country? What are YOU going to do to help your city and its citizens?
People are bored with the same old thing when it comes to leading our communities and our country. Society is desperate for creative souls who will see a new way of doing something good and important. Communities need imaginative minds who can see a better world than the one we are living in right now. Our nation depends on determined people who will not give up until change happens.
Change doesn’t happen by one person standing alone, but when one person finds another person, and they become a group, and the group becomes a movement. Join in. There’s work to do.
For more information about community organising visit www.citizensuk.org or contact me.
Want to write a guest blog? The theme for March is ‘Politics’. Send your blog to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact for more information.
Aston University and European Commission have partnered up with Beatfreeks to hold a series of free events giving young people the opportunity to voice their opinion on political topics. Don’t Shout You’re Out is a poetry slam on Tuesday March 15th which will comprise of one spoken word artist that’s in support of staying in the EU and one spoken word artist that’s against staying in the EU. Who’s right? You decide. Come on down to Millennium Point, listen, learn, voice your opinion and enjoy a unique take on the EU referendum.