The Post-Internet Politician

It feels like we are at the dawn of a new type of politics, or at least that something has to give. Politics and Westminster is stuck in its ways, but change is coming and those who can take advantage of it will become the future public champions.

I think the reason for this is because we are coming out of the age of the TV-politician and into the age of the internet-politician. TV made the public appearance of politicians as, if not more, important as their actual policies. The general populous don't have the urge to research individual ideologies and will just vote for the person who seems the most likeable. This meant politicians were groomed within an inch of life to appear 'human' on TV and whenever this mask slipped it was seen as mistake, one which could end their career in an instant. Big American chat-show smiles and soundbites that had been repeated thousands of times in front of the mirror were all the rage and this swept New Labour into office.

But the cracks are beginning to show. The apathy towards politics is palpable, and this helped by the fact that the current majority government obtained less than a third of the vote in general election. Cameron, Clegg and Milliband all had the humanity drained out of them by hours of media training to the point where you could only tell which one was which by looking at the colour of their ties. But individuals and perosnalities are beginning to find their way through and internet is a large reason for this as ideas can spread much quicker than before with none of the same media gatekeepers.

First it was Farage. His everyday man schtick may have been a contradictory facade given his party benefits from billionaire donors but his willful ignorance of what politicians were meant to say got him noticed and made him stand out. His party faced countless controversy's, MP's being openly racist or homophobic, but this dampened never their popularity. A lot of this is to do with a lot of genuine bigots out there, but it is was also because it made the party seem human and endearingly amateurish not this huge great media machines like the major political parties. A lot of the reason people have been voting UKIP is because they wanted something to change and UKIP was the only one that was obviously different and had a clear ideology.

But that is the right-wing, what is far more interesting is the new found hope for the left-wing. First of all came the rise of the SNP, a party with a strong message of anti-Austerity and also the frankly quite febal response of Scottish Labour who had the biggest collapse since Brazil's defense against Germany in the World Cup Semis. One of the most interesting sub-plots of the SNP domination was the maiden speech of 20-year old MP Mhairi Black. First of all it was horrible watching that and realising I am the same age as her and rather than speaking parliament right now I am sitting in my pajamas recovering from mild stomach cramps related to the empty bag of Fruit Pastilles lying on the table in front me.

Her speech was inspiring, committed and free from the jaded tambre that comes with most 40 year old politicians and has nearly a million views on Youtube through the various different channels who have posted it. She seemed genuinely excited about getting the chance to help change the country. Even when her old tweets reveled her sweary and slightly vitriolic past, this did nothing to lessen opinion of her. It made her seem more real. People of our generation are all going to have to deal with old social media activity coming back to haunt us and this showed her to be 'normal', as much as 20 year old MP can be.

And then came the rise of Jeremy Corbyn. Surfing over the ocean of bland identikit Labour candidates with a clear vision and a clear passion. He is willfully disobedient having a reputation of voting against the party whip as well as appearing genuine in his media appearance getting riled on C4 news when being interviewed by Krishnan Guru-Murphy. Nobody thought less of him because of it. Like Black's speech this went viral and made many more people aware of Corbyn and his approach to foreign policy. His anger was refreshing. This comes in stark contrast to his fellow Labour leadership candidates who all look like the human embodiment of a Mumford & Sons song. Andy Burnham for one has regularly said that people are bored of soundbite politicians and that they desire and change, showing an astonishing lack of self-awareness. What is interesting is whenever a Labour affiliate comes out against Corbyn the reaction is not to turn Corbyn supporters off, if anything it strengthens their reserve, a 'us-against-the-world' mentality arises.

On TV politics had its place, had it's slot. They were all given the same amount of time. All the debates were two sided. This was the law that the broadcasters has to abide by. The internet is a wilderness and whoever shouts the loudest normally wins. Voters and audiences are more fragmented with all opinions no matter how extreme left or right they may be are given a platform. And with the current way in which the youth are being treated by they the measures the Conservatives are implementing, there is an anger building in the internet-generation that means they will be more extreme in their views. The role of the new politician is to siphon that anger and use it to help the country rather than tear it apart.