Callum Taylor

The Game of Politics

by Callum Taylor on 10 October 2016 at 09:07:48

Preface: I try not to write about politics in this kinda way, note that this is my opinion, it's probably flawed or incorrect, so take it at face value.

Students and young voters are hindering progress in politics.

Let me take you back to the 2010 general election in the UK. A new generation of voters were now able to vote, many of which were students (and obviously young people). A lot of these students were in university and after the global economic crisis, things were incredibly slow to recover, and we're still facing the harsh reality of it even today. It was the worst economic crisis since the great depression and a lot of the focus was on bankers, how banks were regulated and why they were not held accountable by our countries leaders. There was a LOT of backlash toward our politicians by lots of people, many of which hold left, or liberal political views, many of which, were also students.

Sstudents are a very vocal group of people. They can afford to demonstrate, hold protests, and general speak their minds as they are given more of a platform to do so being in a university environment. This was great, we finally had a powerful movement emerging to finally reform politics into what it needs to be in the 21st century. There was dropping support in both Labour and Conservative parties, partly because of new right-wing parties like UKIP gaining more traction (albeit more from the older generation who were fed up with the Torries), but mainly left-leaning parties like the Liberal Democrats (at the time led by Nick Clegg) and the Green Party (Natalie Bennett) and the SNP (Alex Salmond) were gaining lots of traction by students, and in LARGE numbers. The result of the 2010 general elections was huge. There was a hung parliament, one we havent seen for over 30 years (since 1929) and a coalition government was formed between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Something very obvious happened during that time. Nick Clegg sacrificed a few of his key policies in favour of comprimise for the new government (understandable), whether he chose the right points or not is another question. One of those points was not rising tuition fees which was one of his main political agendas that gained the vote of lots of students. When that was given up and the Conservatives raised the cap from £3,000/yr to £9,000/yr, understandably a lot of students got pissed off. This kills the Liberal Democrat party.

Come the general election of 2015, even more young people can now vote and the Conservatives win an unexpected majority. And the reason is very simple. Due to the lack of votes for a single party (i.e. the lib dems), the tories managed to win with a majority. And the reason for the alienation of votes for the lib dems was because of what happened during the coalition government. Students couldn't forgive Nick Clegg for alienating them and turning his back on them. A very good example of how a lot of people felt about Nick was during one of the 2015 election debates where one person heckeled that he would be out of a job the following day, and sure enough, he was.

I do feel bad for Nick though because he was in a very difficult situation where he had to bargin with the devil.

Now, onto my point. The reason why the Tories won was because the votes that would have gone to the Lib Debs, now was distributed across other smaller parties. Simple math. Whether that was the Tories plan all along (wouldnt surprise me) or not, we'll never know, but what we do know is that once that trust was 'broken' students will look else where and that stubbornness cost our country greatly now with the Brexit vote, and what is happening in America with their elections. I have no doubt in my mind that if everyone forgave Nick and still voted for them, there would have been another hung parliament, and another 5 years of keeping the Torries out of complete power.

I've noticed this kind of thing happen with American politics. Bernie Sanders is the equivilent (in my eyes) of the Lib Dems (they may have slightly different policies, but they both attracted the same groups of people). After Bernie lost the DNC leadership bid, all hell broke loose. The people who supported him can no longer vote for him, and will instead have to vote for Hillary Clinton. A person that pretty much everyone who supported Bernie, hates (and understandably). They wont vote for Hillary, and they definetely wont vote for Donald Trump, so now they will vote for a third party instead.

This is where it gets interesting, Bernie came out in support of Hillary. The problem with politics is, its a game. You have to play the game to win, and you certainly have to play the game to change how the game works. People in position of power will do anything they can to prevent change. Protesting doesnt work, signing petitions doesnt work. Getting people in government that support your movement, works. And this is what Bernie is trying to do.

He knows that he cant get elected, he knows that if Trump gets elected then lots of bad things will happen, he knows Hillary probably sabotaged his chances of getting the nomination, but he also knows that the only way to keep the movement going is to get HER elected instead of HIM. And that's the key.

Just read the replies to that tweet, plenty of people are mad at him for the endorsement, but these people dont understand how the game of politics works.

And so I predict that Trump will either win, or be very close to winning because of the people who would have voted Bernie, now voting for a party that will never get enough votes to win the presidency.

And that's the state of politics.

Its no longer "vote for who you believe in", its "vote to stop the crazy guy getting in". And until we swallow our pride and do that to get the right people in to change the fundamentals of our political system, we will be stuck in the same cycle.