Children have to learn politics. Indeed, it is unavoidable. Kids learn politics in the school playground and at home with their parents and siblings. Politics is the presentation of information to influence a situation. It is winning an argument that leads to further consequences. It is the consequences part that adults call ’power’. Mao Ze Dong famously said that political power was born through the barrel of a gun. Coercion is the easiest way to win an argument and get what you want. However, it is the worst type of politics as it breeds more violence, and in the end will result in ruin and destruction for the bully.
Rather children should learn debating skills and the analytical skills to look at a situation from different points of view. They must learn the inherent bias in all prersentation, and must learn to probe by asking the right questions.
Thus, when it announced in the Daily Mail on April 9th that the government proposed to force people planning to build a conservatory or change a boiler to also make energy efficiency improvements to their house at the same time at their own expense, a child should look closer at the story. The newspaper labelled this policy of the ’Green Deal in the UK’ as merely a hike of 10% on building costs. The newspaper also goes on to point out that it is an affront and government interference to tell people what they should do to their home. The newspaper has a reputation for stories that are designed to cause indignation in the reader.
Children should look at this story and ask questions. What are these changes the government want to enforce? What will they do? Why are they insisting on these changes? The answers are that the changes are improving loft and wall insulation. Why? To make homes more energy efficient. The result will be a reduction in home bills for heating – up to £150 a month. This is to meet UK goals to reduce carbon emissions in line with international treaties to stop global warming. So the policy is meant to help everyone, and those affected will eventually make money through the savings anyway.
Understanding the issues, and seeing through the rhetoric is the best way to understand politics.