One of the stand out messages from the evidence we received during the course of The Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy last year was that everyone was very disillusioned with politicians, and wanted to vote for policies not people. Great!! We cried, and then Representative Democracy (and the fact that we don’t actually all want to vote on all policies) came into play.
One reason why we all want to be politicians:
WE WANT TO VOTE ON POLICIES WE CARE ABOUT
Five reasons why we don’t:
1. We don’t have time to hear all the arguments for and against, we just want to say what we personally think
2. We quite like our privacy
3. We don’t want to stand up and yell at people surrounded by green leather, mahogany and gold (well…)
4. We don’t like being generally judged because of our job (parking ticket inspectors notwithstanding)
5. We want to do stuff we are good at – usually not politics (politicians take note) and we prefer job security
There are many more…
In representative democracy we vote for people and we have to trust them to vote generally in line with what we believe, or we toss out representative democracy. So this year when you are working out who to vote for, use one of the very many apps and websites out there that will tell you which way party politicians vote for in areas that you care about – and bite the bullet (ballot). I like using Vote for Policies https://voteforpolicies.org.uk/ but I have to say, I have done this a couple of times in the last few months, and I always get different results! My views are not changing, but the party politics are – nothing stands still. (This is kind of why it is so important to sense check who you are voting for and stop calling yourself a Tory or a Liberal – or whatever, because you might just not be!).
Also, get engaged with consultations on topics you care about when they are at the stage that you can influence the outcome.