Rebellion in itself is an anti-establishment act. The very word means action against what is viewed as the norm. Any form of rebellion can be classed as political action, from the obvious trade union movements, to the more subtle… refusing to wear the correct school uniform. And so it seems odd, that the most prevalent form of rebellion in the 21st century is that against the nature of politics itself.
Turnout for the 2010 general election was a disappointment. Although participation was up by 4% it still remained well below the post-war average of 78%. Only 44% of 18-24 year olds turned out to vote, showing that political apathy among the young is still prominent, and this issue needs to be addressed.“This generation has a chance to change our politics” said Ed Miliband in his first speech as Labour Leader. But before this change can be wheeled into action, “this generation” needs to realise that the future lies in their hands.
It has been a turbulent time for politics spearheaded by the expenses scandal; the general public have become exhausted by the media coverage that has fuelled new waves of apathy for the system. The audiences of such media became enraged with the system. This rage however has not turned into positive activism to change the system and revitalise British politics, but gave people a reason to sit at home on polling day. The general public and “this generation” are politically exhausted. Such silent rebellion will ensure that this anger isn’t felt, and that the energy that it generates isn’t redirected into solving the problems that lie at its core.
Rebellion is a part of a vicious circle leading back round to conformism. Take subcultures for example. ‘Emo’ teens are making a statement against popular culture, but they all end up wearing the same clothes with the same hair styles listening to the same music… out of rebellion, a new norm is formed. The British people need to realise that no vote, means no opinion, so let us break the cycle and conform to that idea, encourage activism in politics and highlight its importance among the young. Education needs to incorporate this notion, so that people across all social divides are aware of the power they can hold.
The media is a fantastic tool to encourage engagement with politics. It is a great medium to express concerns and foster activism. We live in a new age that poses new challenges and the new generation need to grab the opportunity to overcome such challenges. Without such engagement and activism, nothing will change. People need to take responsibility for their opinions and the media need to take responsibility and report rather than sensationalise politics to avoid turning our political system into a Big Brother, leaving the public on the outside looking in.
Big Brother has died, and we need to make sure political apathy sharply follows suit.