One of the earliest things I can remember learning about British politics was that the Government are supposed to represent the people. That’s it stripped right back. And right now people are saying a lot about the politicians and how they’re a mud-slinging, lying, abusive set of people (that’s the abridged and clean version) and how horrified they are that they represent us. You know what? Take a look on social media today and I really don’t think politicians are far off in a representation of the British population.
And the future politicians – the children of today – are watching us react and learning how ‘politics’ work.
They are seeing that name-calling is ok, that completely slamming people without understanding two people can actually have differing opinions and it doesn’t make one of them a ***** is ok, they’re discovering that verbal abuse is ok when discussing politics. Someone right now is raising the future prime minister of Great Britain. It might be your kid. It might be a child you have contact with and they look up to you. It might be a younger sibling. Trust me, they are watching how you react, how you deal with this. They are watching you crow over people who have (supposedly) been proved wrong. They are watching you start shouting at people who are crowing. They are watching you type words into Facebook, snap pictures of your angry face on Instagram, they’re taking note of your hashtags. Is that really the kind of politics you want the future politicians of our land to engage in? What words and arguments are you teaching them to hurl in people’s faces?
Is this not an opportunity to demonstrate to a younger generation, who will one day be running this country, that passion is good but so is being kind? Is this the time you can demonstrate to those watching future politicians that when an opponent is ‘beaten’, that is the time to be gracious? No, don’t say you’re happy if you’re not, but don’t call someone a bigot just because they disagreed. Teach those future politicians sentences like: “That’s a fair point – I disagree but I understand your concerns. Let’s see if we can calmly address them” or “I disagree but I honour your point and aren’t you glad we live in a country where we can openly disagree?” Let your younger sibling, your son, your daughter, the toddler who waves to you at church when you walk in – let them see that politics is capable of being a respectful debating situation. Demonstrate it to them.
I’m not asking you to lose your passion. I’m not asking you to pretend you’re excited if you’re not. I’m not asking you to not debate. I’m just asking you to consider the watching eyes and listening ears and realise that if you want politics to change in the future, you’d better start investing in the future politicians and demonstrating to them how to not be a lying, self-seeking, fingers-in-ears person.
I really don’t care which way you voted in the Referendum, honestly. You had a right to vote ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ and that was your decision, your choice and none of my business. So I’m not going to write about that. But you are raising, or influencing, the people who will impact my country in the future and I would really really appreciate it if you could raise some future politicians of integrity who know how to be kind and how to fight fair.