Following discussions which have arisen off the back of this article, something has been reaffirmed in my mind which has been blatantly clear for the last few years: Millennials have no affinity to any particular political party or movement because they feel ignored by almost every policy decision that has been made. Furthermore, there is a growing disconnect between politicians and every other generation as the working class have absolutely nothing in common with chameleon career politicians who’s slimy persona infuriates us consistently every day.
I subscribe heavily to the belief that innovation is a pre-requisite of remediating our current political system. It’s lost and broken, carelessly meandering between 5-year terms of government alternating between two parties having their fingers on the tiller leading us to an eternity of despair.
Technology must have a part to play. In order to engage a whole new generation, more exposed to information but less inclined to participate, what other option do we have? The problem runs far deeper than is publicised. To tarnish millennials as too lazy to vote is disgustingly disingenuous journalism and misses the point entirely. It is not empathetic to the plight of millennials nor does it take the time to investigate the reasons why. I’m a millennial and each election I have participated in I have never voted for the same party twice in succession. Does that speak of my indecisiveness, propensity to fully research every decision I make or something else?
I would say something else entirely, with the something else being something which would be startling to historical precedent; I have no affinity to any political party because I don’t feel like any of them are interested in listening to or helping solve any of the problems we face. Technology has ensured access to information and data in more abundance than at any time in human history meaning I have more information to research and inform every decision. I don’t have to affiliate myself with anyone in particular based on my family heritage as my parents’ generation would likely admit coloured their judgement. Unfortunately, I can’t participate without joining a specific party and even then I would have no control over policy. I want to shape the future of the country but that responsibility has been monopolised by an insular elite educated almost incestuously at the same institutions by the same teachers imparting the same ideologies.
The answer then is to embrace technology. It is to democratise decision making across the entire nation. It’s to not just canvas opinion but actively include it in so far as allowing every single person to contribute. I would advocate heavily the inclusion of suggestions and ideas from the grassroots. I’d actually invite suggestions which I’d put to the people of the country and ask them to educate us on what is wanted instead of prescribing it. I’d do something revolutionary: I’d give birth to inclusivity by actually including people instead of paying lip service to the concept. I’d welcome younger teenagers in order to engage them as part of the process, enabling an intrinsic understanding of politics and an expedited path to participation.
Smartphones have created the most powerful platform in history which has so far only been used to tell people what you are having for lunch or show people where you have been. It strikes me as a tremendous waste of potential. There is absolutely nothing stopping us from changing that. We don’t have to accept what we have inherited; we can fight to create change. We can invent and create change ourselves; the only thing which prevents progress and innovation is a willingness to participate. Watching and hoping for a new path to emerge means you have already lost. It’s a waste of our potential and will only lead to regret. The change will come but it’s up to us to decide whether it is what we impact on the world or whether it is what is forced down our throats and what we reluctantly accept.
How, what, when, why and where?
I have been unable to shake the belief that there is an opportunity for something revolutionary which leads to a paradigm shift in the way we view and engage with politics. In fact, what I foresee is the evolution of the political system to something unrecognisable from what we see now. What we have inherited is an antiquated analogue system which is incompatible with today’s digital world.
Establishment of a platform which operates in a manner similar to Reddit and Survey Monkey, while allowing the transparency of twitter and the availability of material like facebook is an inevitability. It will allow individuals to reach a younger audience with technology similar to Snapchat evolving past nonsensical party political broadcasts politicians’ parents surely can’t even stand. To engage a new audience we need to cultivate a platform which understands the world it operates within. It needs to escape the robes of pageantry that have shackled it to the past and reflect the cultural identity of who we are today.
Policies will be uploaded, crucially by absolutely anyone and everyone, to the platform and voted on by the users. Those which are most successful would be carried forward and championed by the leaders selected by the users on the platform. What will grow is an instantaneous democracy which includes users by notifying them when an issue needs to be voted on. The platform would be entirely neutral and provide every side of the argument simultaneously in articles alongside the vote creating an informed and educated opinion on each and every decision. This would significantly deter the resentment of the current political system as everyone understands the process involved. Policy wasn’t just set by one man in an Ivory tower telling us how we should all live.
The system doesn’t fit any Political Parties currently in existence, it would require the birth of a new party and a new way of thinking. The policies and decisions would not be dictated by the historical precedent set by the parties predecessors. It would not play host to any political dinosaurs with archaic views desperately trying to cling to power and shape the future.
Change isn’t just a possibility it’s a necessity. Technology and connectedness have lapped the current bureaucratic system of legislation which reacts too slowly to make crucial decisions which affect us every day and shape the future. Look at the rise of Uber and Airbnb and how governments around the world have struggled to keep up with innovation and development.
The mesh of the peer economy is going to continue to entwine itself within the fabric of everyday life. Politics and decision making can either embrace is or be replaced by something which hasn’t yet been conceived. There are no guarantees in life expect that things which fail to grow will eventually wither and die.
Fake it until you become it. Lead the way in this new exciting world or be forced down a route to slow, tedious oblivion.