Uber drivers are a good indicator of what people are talking about in the world today.
Admittedly, this is not the most scientific of methods but it is nevertheless reliable. Whilst travelling the US recently, the first question people ask after “where y’all from” is “Ah, Britain. What do you think about Brexit then?” Politics seems to be back in normal conversation after a long absence. People who usually avoid politics at all costs are suddenly interested again. You can have long conversations with your Uber driver, about the positives and drawbacks of the single market. About the effect of Theresa May on British government. About how Brexit means Trump could win. All this on your way to a restaurant in downtown San Francisco.
Interest at home is also high. Waking up on the 24th I, and many others, found my Facebook feed inundated with “I don’t usually post about politics, but Brexit is terrible/great/racist/funny” (delete as appropriate). We should be posting political opinions more often, and discussing and debating issues openly. The posts triggered too much of a backlash from those who disliked what was being said. Instead, we need to promote this form of engagement as another way of getting the young to vote.
A lot of anger that came from the young post Brexit was to the older generation for “screwing up our future”. But how can they argue when turnout among 18-24 year olds was so much lower than their older counterparts? There’s a good saying that if you don’t vote, you lose the right to moan about the result. It is very applicable here. The young have to have their voices heard, and therefore must be, and feel, engaged enough to exercise their democratic right.
Social media must therefore be better used to interact and engage with what are now a generation ready, willing and waiting to get back into politics. MPs have to increase their online presence and Westminster has to broaden its approach. It is only through proper engagement that democracy, through informed decisions, can actually work.
Democracy is nothing without the people. Let us capitalise on an event that has got Britain, and the world, talking politics once again.