Political Participation: A How To Guide
Keeping up-to-date with politics in the current political climate can often be overwhelming and at the very least, confusing. Don’t fear! We’ve compiled a short guide on how to stay best informed and active when it comes to political participation and current events.
Whether it be the best websites, organisations, charities, Youtubers or forms of social media that provide an outlet for understanding and participation, LAPP have got you covered.
“Chescaleigh” on Youtube
Franchesca Ramsey is easily one of my favourite Youtubers of all time.
Here are some of my favourites on:
Franchesca has videos that are not only informative but also very funny. Her “Decoded” videos on race and pop culture for MTV News are incredible and she also uploads on a regular basis on her own channel with videos on a whole wealth of topics.
While this may sound a bit random, if you really want a solid foundation of background knowledge when it comes to understanding politics, Quizlet is your new best friend. It’s actually a revision resource website (there’s also an app available!) that offers flashcards, games and card matching. In our case, all you need to do is type ‘politics’ into the search bar at the top of the homepage and you’ll find a host of information on UK political parties. For example how various electoral systems work, the American political system, background info on all kinds of different politicians and definitions for key political terms that we often hear on the news, to name but a few. Because it’s designed for students taking exams, the information is current, accurate and easy to read if you want an introduction to politics or if you simply want to brush up on a bit of knowledge.
Understanding policy stances and your own beliefs
Quizzes like ‘I Side With’ (for countries around the world) will allow you to answer questions on key policy areas and will calculate a ranked list of the candidates and political parties that you side with the most in each country. This is amazing if you’re new to politics and have no idea what each of the different political parties stand for. It will help you when it comes to deciding who to vote for in an election, and will be especially helpful when we look at the next option…
Joining a local political party group
Once you’ve worked out the kind of party whose ideals and values you align with the best, you could apply for membership and join that party’s local group. This is the perfect way to not only get more directly involved with politics, but is also a great way to get involved with the local community. At the monthly meetings for the party I’m a member of, we discuss current issues, international relations and regularly debate on key topics. We also elect representatives to attend conferences and events around the country which is an incredible way to engage in political activism and to network with other like-minded people.
The final (and perhaps most accessible) means of understanding and participation we recommend is social media. It seems a bit basic, but in our daily routines, social media plays such a central role. For so many of us it can often be the most effective means of communication and education. Whether it be: finding out about a local protest (I myself actually attended one in London this year having found out about it on Facebook just after the Conservative-DUP agreement was announced); keeping up-to-date with the news; getting a new perspective on a certain issue or discussing a topic with people from the other side of the world- social media potentially holds utmost importance to our ability to become politically active. Twitter is usually the best platform for most of these concepts and LAPP often retweets perspectives and opinions from our followers.
So there you have it, a short guide on ways you can get informed and participate in politics. If you guys have any Youtubers you’re subscribed to, Twitter accounts you follow or organisations you’re a part of, please feel free to tweet us or comment them below – we’d love to hear your suggestions or even receive some article pitches on current affairs and politics from you!
Written by Ella Nevill