Personally I think a lot of the blame for voter apathy is down to the media.
I think an independent media scrutiny of our government's actions is essential, however we no longer get this.
The media in both the UK and the US has become so centralised that it is nowowned by a very small number of corporations/individuals who now fail to provide unbiased reporting of facts, but instead provide headline grabbing gossip or biased editorials with the interests of their owners at heart.
All we hear about politicians is personal scadal, and when we do hear something more serious it is imposible to believe as you don't know what interests the reporting organisation has.
This means that politicians are unwilling to commit to anything, as they don't want to annoy the media and become a target.
A second factor for the disrepute that politics is held in would be the murky world of campaign funding, hugely powerful interest groups, massive corporate donations to both sides and the obvious complete dislocation of the elite political classes from "real life".
[side note:]I don't want to make this political, one way or the other, but i think one of the reasons so many of us despise George bush is that he seems to be the pinacle of this.[end note]
So maybe we now know TOO MUCH about what goes on to trust anyone, but not enough about the actual important things we need to know.
I know that I can't see much difference between the parties in the UK, as neither is willing to stick it's neck out and go against the press (mainly newscorp), so frankly i don't see a point in voting as I would just be pickig the lesser of two evils. I think if i was in the US i would feel the same.
As for what they can do to fix it, I'm not sure. Preventing media monopolies and limiting campaign contributions would be a good start, but i'm not sure it isn't too late for that.
Some sort of mechanism to ensure that the political makeup matches that of the country would be a good step too... maybe a percentage of cross party ordinary citizens who are selected at random (jury duty style) to balance out the inconsistencies in the directly elected officials (IE, some people under 50 and some non-white males). Or a second chamber along those lines to keep track of the elected first chamber.
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