Politics Can Be Confusing; Explaining It Doesn’t Have To Be

Guest Author, the views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Electoral Reform Society.

Posted on the 29th October 2015

This is a guest post from Joel Davidge. Joel is an actor, writer and lead contributor at Scenes of Reason; a new media outlet explaining the news for young adults.

It’s time for a media outlet which doesn’t assume you have a degree in international relations.

No-one likes being made to feel stupid. Most of us will know the embarrassment we feel when called out on our lack of knowledge. Yet this embarrassment means we often avoid engaging with difficult topics. So it’s really no surprise that many young people switch off when they hear the word “politics”.

This is a problem as young people are our future. They will make the decisions that will shape our planet. So how do you get young people to stand up for what they believe in when less than a third feel engaged with politics?

Scenes of Reason are having a go at changing things. We’re a new media service that explains the news. We use videos, written explainers and infographics to ask those basic questions that many may be too embarrassed to ask.

Before the 2015 general election we visited Manchester to ask students whether they would be voting. Some were; some weren’t. Two common factors stood out – an aversion to politics and a distrust of politicians.

“It’s boring; it doesn’t mean much to me”
“I just don’t find it interesting”
“Politicians are all the same – even the word puts me off”

Even the politics students we met seemed cynical about the election.

People are used to young people not being interested, but we saw this as a problem that needed addressing. So Scenes of Reason launched with a video series on the main political parties. We wanted to create an entirely unbiased platform to introduce people to the main parties. We asked young experts exactly the same questions and edited the videos exactly in the same way.

Our aim was, and remains today, to provide our audience with both sides of the story.  When covering events in the Middle East or the issues surrounding the upcoming EU referendum we always provide an alternative point of view. The arguments surrounding these issues may be complex, but explaining them doesn’t have to be.

Moving forward we’ll continue to tackle the big issues, in a way that anyone can understand. We even package all the news of a week up in one weekly email (hint, hint). There are many aspects about our political system which divide opinion. Many think we need more female MPs (there are 191 female MPs compared to 459 male MPs). Others say the House of Lords, the upper chamber in Parliament, is undemocratic as its members are not elected to govern.
Whatever your views are on these issues there is no chance of changing anything unless we get young people interested. Sure, young people are the future – but forget about the future, we want them engaged now.

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