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Ted Talk – An Antidote to Apathy


I am subscribed to Ted Talks (website of inspiring talks and ideas) & in my email box today, there was a talk by Dave Meslin on political apathy. He said we weren’t apathetic, its just the political elite and no, not just the ones sitting in parliament but the councils as well. He described 8 barriers and obstacle that makes us not get involved in our local communities. The full video is here:

Vodpod videos no longer available.


The 8 barriers/obstacles he talks about are:

1. City Hall
When councils take out adverts in local newspapers, they are so unappealing to read. They are long winded and the information we need is right at the bottom. The contact information so we can give our opinion or get involved is even further down. If any commercial business advertised the way councils did, we wouldn’t buy their products.

2. Public Space
Dave says “we’ve effectively put a price tag on freedom of expression.” The Tories have big cash donors, they can afford big ads, although we don’t have such a problem as the Canadians do. How do you expect councils or local campaigns to highlight issues when getting ad space is expensive.

3. Media space
When the media are talking about concerts they tell you where a band is playing and when, talking about a restaurant they tell you where it is in case you want to eat there, reviewing a movie or a book they tell you where its showing or where you can buy a copy of the book but when it comes to political issues there is no information on how to contact or get involved so of course people don’t get involved.

4. Heroes
He shows the way we portray heroes in literature and movies is wrong. They tell us that heroism has a specific start and that your chosen but in real life, leadership & heroism comes from within. It comes from following our dreams not because we are told that we are special or that we’ve been chosen to do something heroic

5. Political Parties
There is nothing really knew here because we all know that political parties focus on polling information & focus groups. They regurgitate what we want to hear. Everyone knows this but the political parties seem to ignore it and continue to do it instead of coming up with innovative ideas.

That being said, Cameron & Clegg must know that the Big Society & “alarm-clock britain” are polling flat yet they plough on with them. Sometimes it is wise to follow the polling information if your new innovative idea or phrase sucks or no one knows what it means.

6. Charitable status
Not sure whether this applies to Britain. Charities in Britain are only allowed to back a campaign if it meets with their objectives. Some charities may well be silenced by this just in case they face legal action. If anyone knows any more about this as it applies to Britain as Dave is only talking about Canada feel free to leave a comment below.

7. Our elections
Now Dave attacks the political system used in Canada which is of course First Past the Post (FPTP). This is the same system that we here in the UK use. (There is a referendum to change it to the Alternative Vote on May 5th) Dave says a system where votes don’t count, where more people voted for the opposition party is of course going to create apathy. The Canadians are having an election on May 2nd under FPTP.
On May 5th, Brits have an historic chance to change the system, I personally hope that we seize the chance because i fully agree with Meslin on FPTP. It won’t solve everything but it will help.

Dave Meslin ends on a positive saying that we can reform everything mentioned above, if we recognise the obstacles we can work together to collectively dismantle them. In Britain, we can start to do this by voting Yes on May 5th.

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  1. May 2, 2011 at 08:47

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