Knowledge about politics

In today's society it is easier than ever to find out any information about the on-goings of government, with internet sites, radio programs, newspapers, magazines, and now not only television programs such as 'News at 10', but entire channels devoted to bringing the general public up to the minute reports of what is happening in parliament.

With this extensive list of media outlets to educate the people of the forces that make the decisions which affect their lives, the fact that people have lost their interest cannot be blamed on the lack of resources, and the inability to know what's going on, as it may have been in the past when all of these facilities and services weren't in place. The problem may not be where to get the information, but what information is being received.

To the average person, the type of information that is presented, is highly significant in the decision that they will make to either listen to it, or ignore it, and the type of information which is presented by the magazines such as Politics Review, Radio shows like Today in Parliament, or the Parliament Television channel will probably only appeal to a very niche audience, presumably with a good understanding of politics in general, and the complex terms which are used frequently in such forms of media.

As Government and Politics is not a subject which is taught as a mandatory subject on the national curriculum, the vast majority of UK residents don't have the basic knowledge needed to comprehend the debates and the legislation which is put foreword and discussed in the houses of parliament. Should Government and Politics be a mandatory subject in the Curriculum? As a student of Government and politics of just 6-7 months, I can positively say that I have learnt invaluable information about the government, which will set me in good stead for the future, but has also given me a keen interest into the day to day running of the UK.

I am personally a great supporter of the idea to teach the students of Britain how it is managed, how the English legal system has developed, and the way in which legislation is passed. In my opinion the only way that a person can become interested in any subject is to learn the basics and then to makes their own decision as to whether they will delve deeper into that subject, and invest their own time into learning the more advanced information.

Take football for example, children are taught the rules of football at school, encouraged to play the game, and then left to their own devices, and football is the no. 1 national pastime and area of interest in this country. If the same idea was applied to government and politics, it would be almost inevitable that after a few years of implementation, the interest would once again rise.

This is just a theory, and would probably cost millions if not billions to actually put into practice, and may not even work, which would make it very risky to even try, especially with the criticism's of the education system which are already so evident, and trying to fit yet another subject into the already overpopulated timetable would be very impractical, and those who oppose the idea would use the argument that it has never been taught before, when interest in government was high, so why should it be introduced now as a solution?

Another confounding factor would almost certainly be the politicians themselves, and if huge influxes of would-be politicians are seen to be infiltrating their quaint elitist Oxbridge bubble, then pandemonium is sure to break out. If the general public are not taught in schools, and do not make full use of the other sources of intellectually rich media, how do they get their general information about the government, information on the different parties, and how do they decide who to vote for?

There are three types of media which bring the majority of the country their information about the government which are known as the mass media, and comprise of the Tabloids, broadsheets, and TV. The Tabloids The newspapers such as 'The Sun', 'The Mirror', and 'The News of The World', are commonly and collectively known as the tabloids, and are the countries main source of political news and review, as they sell millions of copies everyday and reach a lot more people than any other source.

However the fact that they reach so many people is not always a good thing, as the type of articles that is presented in the tabloid press is rarely positive towards politics, and frequently about the scandalous, and sometimes illegal behaviour of an MP, a high court judge, or someone else of that nature, putting a very negative slant on the British government, because that is what sells the papers, and from a businessman's point of view, that is the bottom line.

Newspapers like those mentioned above do not have the same kinds of rules as an institution like the BBC which has to be impartial with any stories which it covers, and any information which is presented to the nation, and therefore can be totally one sided, giving absolutely anything a negative spin if they so wish, and it is also worth noting that most newspaper have an editorial political bias, which means that they are more likely to emphasise scandals which involve the opposing party.

The only real restraints that they have are ethics committees, and the Laws involved with slander and propaganda, presenting false information to sway the views of people. I've talked about the Tabloids in some detail; however there are obviously other newspapers which are designed to bring information to the people about the happenings of parliament which are more respectfully known as the broadsheets.

The Broadsheets These are the newspapers more commonly read by those who are usually better educated and middle class, newspapers such as 'The Times', 'The Telegraph', and 'The Guardian', and their readers are considered to usually be more trusting of what is written, than those who read tabloid press, and are generally presumed to have a better understanding about politics 1 (Budge, 2007).

The readers of the broadsheets are proven, by certain surveys conducted by an 2Audit Bureau, to gain the majority of their political information from the newspaper, as opposed to the Tabloid readers, who are also confirmed, by the same audit to watch more TV, and to make political decisions through watching TV, and what is even more interesting, is the fact that the tabloid newspapers outsell the broadsheets by more than 3 to 1, meaning that the main source of political information is in fact the Television.