You can’t help but have noticed that we seem to be in the middle of a political frenzy. There is no way of escaping the debates, discussions and reports about politics that are filling the news programmes. The EU Referendum, Police and Crime Commissioner elections and other elections are all the focus of the media. But politics seems to have drifted further away from most people.
There have been some campaigns in recent years focusing on encouraging people to vote in local and general elections. They have centred on the details of how politics affects all our lives. However, with the voting turn out still unacceptably low I would suggest they haven’t really hit the mark. So what do we do?
One of the biggest issues for me is that communication about political issues is not inclusive. The media focus on elements that are of interest to them but not necessarily to most people. Only very occasionally do they try to involve people in the discussion about the issues and when they do they often speak to the minority of politically active and interested people.
Politics is increasingly distant from our daily lives, and this is a real challenge for the EU Referendum. How do you get people interested when each day their real focus is on paying the bills, working and trying to find happiness in what they do? Connecting to people is about more than a few walkabouts and ‘grip and grin’ photoshoots. It has to be at the heart of the communication approach of elected members.
After all the people we elect are supposed to represent and speak on our behalf and if they continue to be distant from the average person then where is there legitimacy? This is going to be an interesting political year and I will watch with interest to see if any of those involved can find a new way of communicating, engaging and connecting with people.