I took part in a live Q&A for The Guardian’s Public Leaders Network (28 March 2014), alongside David Blunkett and a range of other experts in the democracy field, discussing public involvement in politics and policy-making. Here is a summary of the discussion.
Why are so many people disengaged with politics?
Those who vote have their voices heard: The budget offered proof in spades that this is the case. The more disengaged, the less likely that political parties will believe that a vote will be cast and therefore will seek a response from those in marginal seats who they are almost certain will vote – the better off, better educated and the older cohort of voters.
– David Blunkett, former home secretary and Labour MP for Sheffield
Politics has never been popular and never will be: It is about conflict and about power. It will always disappoint someone. It affects us all, we all have our view.
– Cristina Leston-Bandeira, a politics lecturer at the University of Hull
The language used by senior politicians in the media is absolutely dire: There seems very little effort by the media to explain political decisions, rather than just jumping on any perceived gaffe or conflict. The way many politicians cope with this – by being incredibly boring – creates further distance with voters.
– Richard Berry, a researcher for the Democratic Audit
Image: Dominic Campbell