Politics is such a mystery

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ll know that last week, Theresa May called a snap General Election, to take place in seven weeks, and it once more threw the country into politically charged chaos.

When I think of the word ‘politics’, I think of smartly dressed people behind lecterns proclaiming the ways in which they will stand up for the people of Britain, photographs of Theresa May staring sternly up at me from my online news feed, or Linda from Birmingham on Radio 5 Live angrily interrupting the presenters about why Jeremy Corbyn is a beacon of hope for our country.

The thing is, is that as much as I know how important politics is, I just can’t get myself interested in it.

When I see pictures of two world leaders in a very staged-looking handshake, or some smug man in a suit pontificating in the House of Commons, I don’t even bother to read the headline.

I just skim past it, and move on to more interesting things, like naked rioters in Venezuela.

However, even I could see the fact that we may or may or not be getting a new Prime Minister when our current one hasn’t even been in office a year, was quite a big deal.

So I turned to my phone, intending to immerse myself in the wonderful world of British politics, only to be hopelessly bewildered in about 49 seconds.

It might as well have been in another language: Despatch Box? Mandate? Seat Count? There were lots of references to Labour ‘getting seats’ and the Lib Dems ‘picking up more seats’.

I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant, but I’m sure it wasn’t about the British Government trooping through Ikea with their flatpacks.

For me, this was really quite concerning, considering I’ll be eligible to vote in just over a year, and my understanding of politics is about as extensive as my knowledge on Transylvanian Orchid horticulture.

It all left me with the ultimate question: why?

Why do schools spend years making sure we know about the Treaty of Versailles, and the formation of ox-bow lakes, and how to find angles in a trapezium, but not about how the fundamental running of our country works?

I remember once, during the 2015 election, our maths teacher cancelled our lesson, and showed us a live broadcast from Westminster, and drew diagrams on the whiteboard of things like parliamentary majorities and marginal constituencies and things like that, but I think that’s as far as my political schooling goes.

That’s pretty worrying, because it’s people like me, who are forced to read things like ‘An American’s Guide to British Politics’ and are still confused, that are the next generation of voters, and will hear things like Corbyn’s plan to provide four new bank holidays if Labour win and think ‘Oh, cool. More days off’, and unthinkingly tick the box.

For me, eligibility to vote is a symbol of adulthood, and when the day comes when there is an election I’m actually old enough to vote in, I will strut into the Polling Station and think, ‘Look at me, look how mature I am, I can vote now,’ even if I don’t really know what the vote’s about.

I won’t be the only one, either. There will be a whole generation of us, who, if the situation arises, will be able to whip out our Pythagorous Theorem, or explain about Dimitri Mendeleev’s development of the Periodic Table, but when asked about Britain’s Government?

Well, put it this way: when asked who is currently in power, one classmate responded, ‘Um… Ed Milliband?’