Monday, 16 March 2009

For those who don't get politics...

Ever met those people who say "oh you work in politics, I'm not really interested in that" then go on to spout opinions on everything from climate change to public transport to the World Bank to recycling?

Recently I went away for a weekend with a group of university educated women who were "not interested in politics" but little did they know that they were really.
They talked avidly about political issues relating to foreign and domestic policy regularly during the day, but were quite proud about not knowing members of the cabinet or the name of their local MP.
For them, and for other people who don't think they care about politics, we need more articles from the left that show how politics relate to people's ordinary lives - without carrying a big flashing sign saying "politics, politics".
The newspapers of the right are much better at doing this than the left, it seems to me.
But I have started compiling my own top five list of great, engaging writing or broadcasting that have a sense of politics without being overtly "political".

Top five (in the making)

David Mitchell's excellent and funny Observer column

Oliver Burkeman's "All the President's Emails" in G2

Stephen Fry on Twitter

Mock the Week

The Now Show




Other recommendations to me....just here.

6 comments:

Jim Jay said...

I'd recommend the Daily Show with Jon Stewart - absolutely incredible and probably the best source for following American politics

wg said...

My God

Just by looking at this list I suddenly realize, as an everyday Joe on the street, how disconnected people like you actually are. I thought you are for the Left and therefore the 'working class'.

All of my working friends would not read the Observer, wouldn't know Oliver Burkeman if he sat on them, wouldn't know how to find Stephen Fry on Twitter, may titter at Mock the Week, and as for the What? show.

Sheeeesh

Calix said...

I think everyone (or nearly everyone) is interested in politics as your friends proved Rachael - their problem is with the political world. We have quite a boring and uninspirational political enviornment at the moment with parties that too often strive to look and sound the same. All of us on NextLeft know that in reality there are differences, but these are not very apparant unless you are involed in the political world.

Nobody now really talks about political ideology (apart from a few academics) or what really distinguishes one party from the other. Everyone crams into the same middle ground with the same hair-cut. This issue was brought up by Hattersley at our Webb conference. There is a lack of passion and people seem to be in politics for the sake of being in politics, rather than being in it for what you believe.

I suppose what really inspires people to become interested in politics is a campaign that presents distinct alternatives - I'm thinking of the US in the Autunmn and Italy a couple of years ago.

Rachael Jolley said...

Jim Jay I think you are absolutely right The Daily Show has really done the business and taken politics out of its domain and opened it up to a whole new group. WG - not sure what your point is, except to be pointlessly divisive. You don't seem to have suggested anything. If your friends don't read the Observer/watch TV or use Twitter - feel free to nominate something you do think hits the mark. That was the point really.

Alex said...

I subscribed to Fabian blog to find out about Policy.
Instead, it's all politics.

People do genuinely care about social issues- and the role of government in tackling them.
What people don't want to partake in is the infantile tit-for-tat between parties (and even think tanks).

And I'm really sad to say: Fabians, you're letting the side down. This blog is full of swipes, hacks at individuals (most of whom I've never heard of) or parties: politics with a little p.

I wanted Fabian Soc. to sound like intelligent discourse on potential policy. Instead it sounds like the canteen at Labour HQ.

Tomorrows piece on Obama and Britain will entirely miss the point- what united people beneath Obama was (at least a promise of) non-partisan politics. Instead the blogosphere is full of gash about how Labour needs to dupe his online network.

No-one (who isn't involved in politics) gives a flying dingo about Labour's online strategy, or which backbencher is the biggest goon. Because it's playground chat we can get by the water cooler at work.

Fabians: use your privileged position to espouse wider involvement in policy formation, greater awareness in society of the role of government, or even coming up with good ideas.

You guys do have good initiatives and amazing events- but take a lesson from other think-tanks' output which focusses on the policy, and not the politics which disenfranchises the public politicians are so inadequate to woo.

Jim Jay said...

Alex - did you cut and paste this from somewhere else? I can't think of a less appropriate response to a light post on amusing, politically minded media.

If you think this blog has been involved in tat for tat, or any of the other accusations that you've flung around, why didn't you post this rant on that post rather than this one, which signally does none of those things?