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Politically engaged?

June 23rd, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · No Comments · Politics

I’m still not sure whether I count as politically engaged.

I always vote in general elections, which should put me in the top 70%. I also vote in local elections, which probably makes me more engaged than the 60% (?) who don’t. I belong to a political party which must indicate a fair level of political engagement. As a party member I have delivered leaflets, knocked on doors and gone to meetings in the past, and also stood as a candidate in borough, county and parliamentary elections and even got elected twice in council elections.

But a lot of that is in the past. I am still a member of a party and still deliver leaflets, but not a lot more than that. The is partly because I got out of those habits when cancer recovery overlapped with the pandemic lockdowns. This is not really for health reasons any more, so much as re-assessing my life priorities after it – and getting used to having leisure time. I’ll be honest though, a lot of my enthusiasm drained away when Corbyn became party leader.

So if you judge by activity and involvement, you could say I am politically engaged, but on the other hand…

…I do not really engage with the news. Certainly not the the obsessive level that you might assume. I do not watch the TV news. I do not watch Question Time. I went to a recording once and didn’t even watch that one when it was shown. I do not watch the election debates on TV.

I do not read a newspaper. I used to get the Guardian every day and a couple of Sunday papers, but I don’t think I have bought an actual paper newspaper for about 15 years. I do subscribe to the Times online, but only read the news section if I have already done all the crosswords and other puzzles, and read the lifestyle/culture sections. I look at the BBC website and subscribe to a few news sources on Twitter – but usually just scan the headlines and only click-through if something looks interesting. My younger self would be scandalised, but it turns out that you really do not need to read so much news.

Overall I think I am ill-informed but, in a sad indictment of modern society, probably in the top quartile of political engagement.

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