The political system is subject to much scrutiny. Remember when Nick Clegg made that promise? No, not the one where he said he wouldn’t let tuition fees rise. The one where he planned out the biggest political reform plan since 1832. Course, that was four years ago when, according to him, the Government wasn’t ‘insecure about relinquishing control’. My, my how the times change.
Numerous reports and social commentators, including muggins here, have highlighted how disenfranchised politics is leaving people, particularly those who will vote for the first time in the General Election of 2015. Yes, there’s a serious disconnect between politicians and anyone who doesn’t have a second home paid for by tax payers, but I’d wager that there’s actually some sort of, whisper it, mini-revolution going on. It’s just that it’s a bit different to the ones you might have seen on TV and in films – think Les Mis without the guns and blood and with an Instagram account and a Freepost address instead.
Political revolution hasn’t been the same since the days of Oliver Cromwell. Sure, we tried with the London riots in 2011 (don’t do that again, please. It was scary and didn’t achieve very much), but we know that Britain is up there with Canada as a place where even unhappy people are steadfastly polite. Queuing during a tube strike, anyone?
Saying that, we do love a bit of off-the-wall political activism and so the news on Twitter that people are using UKIP’s freepost address to send their leaflets back to them was good. The fact some people took it a step further and decided to send boxes of junk from around their homes to the same address just for cheap LOLZ amused us no end. Whilst we’d love to send Farage & Co a packet of Colour Catchers (if they shudder at mixing races in a country just imagine what putting whites in with colours on a hot wash does to them) we’re not sure what it would achieve. But is that a problem? Twitter says yes. More Nanny State than Cameron himself at times, the Mums and Dads of Twitter have decreed that we should all stop sending packages to Farage that he has to pay a fiver for and get off our backsides and vote instead. And we, begrudgingly, are inclined to half agree with them.
It’s a marked change of mind since Russell Brand gave us his version of ‘We’ll fight them on the beaches’ speech and told us not to vote. Twitter loved him for that and we finally found a voice for our underlying political discourse. It became fashionable not to vote. As a woman it went against everything I believed about voting thanks to the suffragette movement that fought so hard for me to have the vote, but even I considered it a possible move. But now we’re voicing our discontent in a different way. Using social media to call preening politicians twats, celebrating Ed Balls day, using Boris memes to offer ways of avoiding the tube strike. Politics has become the laughing ground of social media fodder – but what does it mean and can it achieve anything? The short answer is no. In a world where Nigel Farage is leading in recent polls despite being a laughing stock online obviously something’s not going quite right.
The short answer – it’s okay to send UKIP their leaflets back at a cost to them but in the end, if you don’t put your mark on that slip of paper on election day, it’s going to mean jack all that you didn’t like them because whilst we were all busy laughing at how ridiculous they are they somehow weaseled their way into power. And that’s something you can’t send back in the post.
Angharad is a former radio journalist balancing a career in PR with an insatiable writing habit that spans more topics than she can count on her smaller-than-average hands. She's passionate about the media, women's rights and politics with a love of travel, culture, entertainment and all things lifestyle on the side. Interests include prolific online shopping (bit of a reputation in the office), musicals, dinosaurs (be honest, they're awesome) and tweeting anything and everything from @Welsh_PR