While I don’t think we should force people to vote, surely it’s time to make the process easier? Surely we should ask Parties to make manifestos more accessible on the formats the electorate is using? Politics could and should be just a click away. We can bank on our laptops, swipe lovers into our lives on a smart screen, buy houses, and, hell, we can now even make a cinematic release on an iPhone.
The reality is that Brits, in the modern world, would do just about anything rather than engage politically.
To paint a picture, in the next second in the UK:
10,469 tweets will be tweeted.
2,926 Instagram photos will be uploaded.
2,339 Tumblr posts will go live.
And a whopping 110,740 YouTube videos will be watched (containing such enlightening things as people falling down manhole covers, babies high on hallucinogenic drugs, and, of course, cute cats doing the most ikky wonderful ‘isn’t-it-so-lolable-adorable!’ things).
In fact on average, people who use social media such as Facebook and Twitter will use 10% of their entire lifetime on these sites. And of that time, you can bet that the lion’s share is spent perfecting self-idolising, glamorous versions of their lives to hundreds of ‘friends’ and ‘followers’.
Most of whom they have never met in the flesh.
Should it be the responsibility of platforms such as Facebook to deliver facts about the current state of politics for a real, impartial, objective source of information? Or should they target Candy Crush and sugary drinks to teeny-boppers when they are feeling all alone?
While Facebook has to a large extent broadened the scope of delivering the news to young people, the sad thing is that they are increasingly pandering purely to the information that bigger news corporations expose them to. Particularly the hate peddlers who control most of the media landscape having monopolised it all a long, long, time ago when computerised connectivity was a scientist’s wet dream.
Platforms such as Facebook and Apple are expanding so much that they now have a potentially frightening dominance over our lives. Apple Pay is one such emergent factor: you could leave your house bollock naked without a penny, but, as long as you had your phone you could buy some new threads, meet your friends, Skype your mum and then share how much of a bloody LOL-of-a-time you’d just had to your ‘community’ (part made up of middle age men pretending their name is Sylvia).
Of course The Internet is already fundamentally a tool for making things easier – shopping, online banking, paying each other, repeating prescriptions, etc etc. But I now want polling stations to follow in the footsteps of everything else that’s been gazumped by a quick google. Voting must go online to fit the model society has deemed suitable. That’s how life works succinctly.
In this mould, people would not have to make a choice about whether to pick their children up from school or vote. They could do both and this might allow them to consider such (sociopathic) things such as child tax credit cuts proposed by the incumbent Tory party more clearly. Before they vote for them while thinking whether or not Timmy will eat his peas come dinner time.
People are always on their smart phones. Fact. It is so ubiquitous world-wide that in countries such as Japan there are smart phone friendly pedestrian lanes in streets. If you can walk, or talk, you can vote! That must be the message.
As stated, the 2015 election turnout saw 66.1 per cent of the electorate casting their votes. Of that number, a mere 58% of 18-25 year olds actually bothered to get involved. That, astoundingly, is dwarfed by the fact that 90% of that age group owns a smart phone. The numbers do not add up.
Facebook is already a major platform for people to mouth off politically. And it is helping to boost youth voting by 7% since 2014. But the trouble is that those opinions are tempered by megalomaniacs such as Rupert Murdoch who, essentially, seem to be turning youngsters away from the poll stations with everything negative about our political system they can dredge up (by any means necessary). And when the public presentation they get comprises of a vilified choice between a posh talking radish, a bomb shy geography teacher and the UKIP’s answer to Walter from the Muppets Movie who can blame them?
Listen up Party players the solution is clear – we need a fundamental seed change in political engagement. It is time your agenda was made truly accessible via the technology that is connecting most young people on the planet.
That way you can put the .Com into the Commons.