I'm not a particularly political person. I am not a Marxist, a Socialist, a Conservative, a Liberal...I find it all a bit bewildering to be honest. And I'm not alone. For though most people have a plethora of views about the huge problems facing the country at the moment - indeed often they can also list a host of solutions - party politics is a bore... most people don't vote. They, like me, are fed up with the esoteric jargon, bored by the way politicians play to the gallery and frustrated at how easily ministers renege on their promises.
There is no meaningful discussion anymore: the point of parliament, of government, surely, is to come up with solutions to problems. But this isn't happening. Politicians come into power and do as they please, actively seeking to avoid accountability.
Photo: Bobby-Jo Dearnley
There is also an increasingly worrying trend of politicians duping the public by enacting legislation that makes good headlines, when really what they are proposing is either very ineffective or secretly upholding the status-quo. Let's take a particularly relevant example from the Queen's Speech just gone. A new bill is to be introduced, we are told, which will allow us to sack our MPs half way through a parliament: the long awaited power of recall. It sounds good, until you look at the detail. As Zak Goldsmith, a Conservative MP, points out, for an MP to be recalled there must be evidence that they've committed 'serious financial wrongdoing' and this can only be decided by parliament (or to be more precise the Parliament Standards Committee). So what is the point in holding a referendum if parliament has already passed judgement on that MP? The referendum would be irrelevant; it would merely reinforce a pre-determined outcome. More to the point, if an MP really has committed 'serious financial wrongdoing' they are probably going to be getting a call from the police and perhaps even a spell in prison, which would render them unable to perform their duties anyway.
But this is just one way in which representational democracy in the UK is failing citizens of the United Kingdom. In fact, over the past four years, the whole system has now become so broken we have to ask the question, is there any point to voting anymore? David Cameron promises a referendum on whether we should remain in the European Union if you vote for him, but do you believe him given that he promised one before in 2009? Ed Milliband says vote for him and he might re-nationalise the railways, he'll reduce tuition fees to £6,000 a year and he'll eventually bring in a graduate tax. Will any of this happen? Let's be honest, probably not... nothing Cameron nor Milliband and definitely not Clegg says has any political currency. We all know that once they get into power they will just pursue their own agenda, regardless of what they said in their manifestos.
And I feel so disappointed. I never thought it would be like this. Though I didn't get the vote as I was only seventeen, there was excitement and discussion at school in May 2010 as the results trickled in.
And then several days later, as I ate dinner and watched The One Show, politics was once again thrust in front of me and it was dramatic and fast paced. For shortly into the broadcast, Alex Jones and co were interrupted by David Dimelby and I watched, first as Gordon Brown resigned, and then as David Cameron stepped out of his car and onto the steps of Downing Street for the first time. He told the world how he hoped to combat the 'deep problems' that he saw around him. Our political system needs reform, he said, and it was for those reasons he and Nick Clegg 'wanted to put aside political differences and work hard for the common good and for the national interest.' I felt I was watching history unfold in front of me. I thought all the jargon I didn't understand, the banality, the tautology; all of it was about to come an end. In parliament perhaps we would see not MPs planting self-congratulatory questions on cabinet minsters and shouting, hollering or inane bickering about Labour's record in power, but sensible, reasoned and pragmatic debate about how to go forward.
But how wrong I was. If anything this government has upheld this ludicrous bi-polar system as well as any other ministry. If you only vote for Labour at the next election we are told they will 'do things differently' when in fact they probably won't at all.... as a student I have not forgotten it was the Labour Government in 2009 that commissioned the Browne review which suggested lifting the cap on tuition fees.
So what to do then? Voting for The Green Party is one option, they certainly seem the party with the most integrity and its politicians come across like they have the courage to make parliament work properly for people. But voting for them is still buying into party politics. To really stop this nonsense and save the country we need a new system of governance that is fit for the twenty-first century. It should be issue based and focused on solving specific problems one at a time rather than this tired ideological nonsense - nothing will ever get solved if people keep on supporting Labour and the Tories as if they're football teams, riding out a rough season when they do something they don't like by obediently turning up to vote. The system should be far more open to scrutiny and debate: forget Prime Minister's Questions, let's have a compulsory debate for the PM and the Leader of the Opposition in the style of BBC Question Time in front of the public. But the biggest thing politicians can do is to get the Internet involved. Most people have access to the Internet and I'm sure those who aren't can be given support to get online so why can't it be used to give us all more of a say in what goes on? The way forward is clear but will anyone in Westminster listen? I wouldn't bank on it...