There are no shortage of decent (and also, lamentably, atrocious) political blogs for the discerning voter to get their teeth into – so why I am producing this one?
To answer that question, I will go back to a series of conversations I had with my friends immediately after the May local and European elections. Where I was rather understated in my modest involvement (I believe the expression I used was “first of the losers”) I was struck that talking about my experience of standing for office, even at the district council level, made political life seem much less distant to my friends. Few if any of them are especially politically minded, but they are sincere and conscientious, and aware that their vote ought to be used well.
And so over the course of several conversations we got to discussing some of the issues of the day, and there was a definite shift as we spoke. Nobody minded that I was approaching it from my decidedly partisan viewpoint, but was glad that I was at least giving a perspective, raising the issues, and striving to get a good balance between opinionated perspective and space for thoughtful consideration. In short – I sensed by the end that by talking about politics in the first place, it acted as a catalyst for fruitful and accessible discussion that helped inform subsequent opinion forming and (hopefully) shape subsequent political action.
So if I had to give an overall aim for this blog, I should say that it would be just that – I hope as I pose questions, offer opinions and highlight issues, it acts as a catalyst for anyone reading the blog to be resourced to engage with the 2015 General Election. I’m hoping also that it will be participation heavy in terms of comments, questions and requests – I firmly believe that an engaged electorate makes for a healthy democracy, and a priority as I take my own first steps in political life is to play my part in making politics more accessible to everyone. You can contact me through the blog, my Twitter account (@dsonpolitics) or my Facebook page.
In the coming days I plan to do some initial posts on exactly what is at stake for GE2015 – and not least addressing the key question of why there is so much antipathy to the traditional parties of government.In time I will post on some of my own enthusiasms, which include electoral politics and faith in the public square. You can also expect occasional commentary pieces where I either remark on news items of the day, or on issues local to Oxford, and I very much hope I will have the opportunity to respond to reader’s requests as they come in! I hope that whatever your own political leanings, you will find my modest contribution helpful in some small way, and that by 7th May 2015 you and your circle of friends feel better ready to cast your ballot.