As the effects of Britain’s decision to leave the EU begin to bite, I am angry that so much of history is manipulated by so few.
It seems to me that any political party that does not put education at the top of their political agenda, has something to gain from keeping voters ignorant, and that’s a party I really do not want to be in power.
Whether you voted to remain or to leave is not the relevant point here, nor indeed is Brexit the only issue. What underlies my anger is the fact that so many people put pen to ballot paper without being in possession of enough information to be able to make an informed choice, a fact that is greedily exploited by a handful of people who seek personal power and the preservation of the status quo.
I am not blaming people for being ignorant.
I am pointing a finger at successive governments who continually fail to educate people from an early age about the importance of politics and the fundamentals of the political spectrum. Why is politics not part of the national curriculum? If the vote is the most powerful weapon we have, and who would argue that isn’t true, then surely we ought to be given basic instruction in how to use it and the effect our choices have, not just on ourselves but on the communities in which we live?
And while we’re at it, let’s teach children how to research the effects of political decision making for themselves. In this information age, we have a wealth of historical precedent on which to draw, why not teach children how to find, filter and authenticate their sources? We can’t eliminate fake news but we can drastically reduce its power.
Back in 1843 Karl Marx made a casual comment about religion being the opium of the people, I would argue that today, ignorance is a greater opiate. An illiterate or ignorant electorate is easy to manipulate. Educate the electorate and the opportunity to manipulate them becomes a much harder task.
The results of any election or ballot might still be the same but at least we would have walked into the consequences with our eyes wide open.