Politics made simplish.
Bird chats with Tatton Spiller, one of the founders of SimplePolitics.
Firstly, please just tell us, how did you come to start SimplePolitics.co.uk … was there any particular political event that triggered it, as it were?
I was just very frustrated that it didn’t exist! I was teaching politics at the time and was always asked where to go for clear, accurate and impartial information, and I never had anywhere to direct people. So I went part time and set it up. SP launched soon after the 2015 election, as a website, with no social media. It soon became clear, though, that I needed to put the updates where people were already hanging out, rather than trying to entice them over to my website. In the 3 and a half years since we’ve now got over 200,000 followers.
A lot of people probably think politics is opaque and beyond understanding… what do you say to that?
The procedure may be complex. There is a lot of nonsense spoken and plenty of people being competitive about how clever and informed and connected they are. And, yeah, that really alienates people. But the basics of politics? They aren’t opaque and beyond understanding. The basics of politics are people considering their solutions to the problems that we all face. WHo makes sense? Who do they agree with? What arguments can be made? That’s true at any level of politics and it’s these arguments that I find fascinating and when it’s done well, it’s hugely engaging.
Politicians … God help us. Name some Good ones please, past and present, and help us have some faith in the system?!
Not a chance – your opinions of individual MPs are up to you, I’m afraid.
Is democracy ‘broken’?
In what way might it be broken? We’ve got politicians talking about their ideals and their visions for the future in order to win people’s votes so that they can form a government. That’s exactly how representative democracy is supposed to work. I think some people who say that democracy is broken are upset that their vote doesn’t count for more. ‘My candidate didn’t win the election – democracy must be broken.’ There are conversations to be had about electoral systems and all that, but that’s something that’s included in party manifestos. So if the people want PR, they have to vote for a party that advocates PR. That’s how it works.
I wrote an article for the Yorkshire Post suggesting an App based political party..! I’m serious! Would it work?! A ‘swipe right / left’ system!? A totally different way of democracy? Creating policies by consensus?
Sure, that would help create a list of promises. But what would that list achieve? And it wouldn’t be the consensus of the entire constituency, but the tech friendly app users, who I’d imagine are more male, younger, maybe more wealthy than the rest of the constituency. So you would end up with a group of policies that may make no sense together that has been created by a group that doesn’t represent the constituency. It would be an interesting experiment, though.
Why are Political ‘leaders’ these days so utterly disappointing ?!!
You are, of course, free to believe what you like about the leaders. We are here to bring you thier actions and their words to help you form those opinions.
Thank you Tatton. I’ll try take on board some of what you’ve said there. Maybe I’m a tad cynical, I’ll have a look at that. And you know I’m going to ask you to try and simply what’s happening in Brexit at some point, right?!
Pleasure. Good luck with EthicalMuch.