I’m sure that if you asked most politicians to name the biggest problem they face in their political careers: apathy of the voting public would be right up there at the top of the pile.
Right across the country, the majority are not interested in politics and consider all politicians to be so alike, it doesn’t matter who they vote for, nothing is likely to change.
Morecambe is no exception; the 18 per cent turnout at the last by-election proved this.
Whatever the reason for the public turning their backs on politics, most politicians will acknowledge that the situation needs to change, otherwise that 18 per cent end up choosing who will represent everyone, including the other 82 per cent who failed to vote. Is that still a democracy? I don’t know.
Apathy is like a disease, it spreads throughout a community and makes people disinterested and disillusioned with their lives and surroundings and, I see a lot of this in our town.
There is a saying which goes ‘Apathy can be overcome with enthusiasm’ and this is what our carnival team and the Morecambe Events Cooperative’ are trying to create, with the events and festivals which we are organising.
We intend to bring enthusiasm to the town, which will breed a sense of pride and hopefully encourage people to take an interest in where, and more importantly how, they live.
This is why I was so disappointed to read about a proposed ‘Grumble Walk’. Some community group will walk around the West End pointing out things to grumble about. How negative is that and what will it achieve?
Sure they’ll point out all the dog dirt and grumble the council is not doing enough about it. However, this will just breed even more discontent.
To create enthusiasm we need three things: imagination, an ideal and a definitive intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.
Okay, so it’s not that simple however, it’s far better that we encourage positive ideas than encourage and try to highlight the negatives.
The positive idea that we can encourage bigger and better festivals and events is just one example. I’ve also mentioned in previous articles how we could grow the local economy by encouraging everyone to spend just a few pounds a week in local shops.
I would go further and say that I’d love Morecambe to become a ‘totally locally’ town and get all the benefits which that would bring.
We could also take inspiration from Stockport, of all places, by establishing a ‘Community Food Partnership’ which equips people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to grow their own food.
There are lots of positive ideas that we can be encouraging rather than trying to encourage people to complain about where they live.