What a great service the Flying Scotsman from Edinburgh to London is. You can get on at Newcastle just after 7 o’clock and be whisked non-stop to your destination before 10. The people you get on with are the people you stay with for the whole journey. So it was last week when when we made our way to visit the London Office for Rapid Cyber Advancement at the site of the 2012 Olympic Park.
It was the day that the vote for the European Elections took place, the vote that was never supposed to happen and on the table next to us were three young people, presumably from the same organisation. I say they were young but most people look young to me now. I think the two men were apprentices and I would put them in their early twenties, while the women they were with was slightly older.
I try not to listen into others conversations but it is hard not to overhear, especially when you are in the quiet coach. Eventually their conversation got around to politics. One of the young men, who claimed to be a labour supporter because his dad was, was unaware that there was an election that day. He was not going to vote as he had no knowledge of what it was all about.
His colleague, who was of a conservative persuasion, tried to bring him up to speed but was seemingly as equally unengaged in the process. Farage’s name was inevitably mentioned along with his likely success in the vote to which the labour leaning man asked if he would then become Prime Minister.
I know that this was one small incident, a chance overheard conversation, but if this represents the level of political understanding in the population at large then we are doomed. Something needs to be done about public apathy towards politics as well as the apparent blind adherence to the party system.
How could the young man not know there was an election? How could he not know what the outcome of the process? Politics should be taught in school so at least young people have a modicum of understanding.
At least they were talking about it. Perhaps all is not lost after all.