What price for engagement?

There is a lot of talk at the moment about how disengaged certain sections of society are from the political process. You can’t go to a conference or read a paper without hearing that much rolled out phrase – ‘more young people vote for Big Brother/ X Factor than vote at the elections’.

Today I was sent this Youtube video and it got me thinking about how far we should push methods of engagement. The election in America has captured the imagination of the voters in America and beyond. There are Facebook groups supporting Obama, Clinton with people who cannot vote in that election as they are citizens of Norway, the UK, France etc. This worldwide election campaign has led to much analysis of why people are turned on to politics when they have previously been classified as dis-engaged. From the Youtube video, it is clear that there is a healthy amount of charisma involved in the election but it also shows politicians are willing to try to connect with the voting audience ‘by any means necessary’.

Is it really necessary to turn a campaign speech in a MTV like video to get people to turn their attention and passion onto politics? I am a firm believer in using a variety of methods to engage people in politics but I would argue effective engagement/ participation is not borne out of packaging the same old message in a different format (e.g. using an MTV video to communicate your manifesto) but out of an awareness that current messages do not work and need new methods (e.g. looking to get local people involved in allocating budgets on community priorities i.e. affecting the political decision-making process)

Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

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