A lecturer at Exeter University has discovered an interesting link between apathy and happiness, after leading research into people’s perceptions of the UK’s political system.
Dr Joanie Willett, a politics lecturer at Exeter’s Penryn campus, along with a team from from the Environment and Sustainability Institute, invited people from Penryn, Falmouth and Truro to sit in a throne wearing a crown and write down the government changes that they’d like to see on a chalkboard.
The researchers found a seemingly surprising link between political apathy and how happy somebody is with the current system.
Many of those who took part felt that things generally worked well in government, and that their only gripes were on minor, local issues.
The research into people’s perception of our political system comes at what could be an important time for the UK’s constitution with questions of devolution, English votes for English laws and the powers of the respective Houses of Parliament all making the headlines in recent weeks.
Other participants complained that the government was not very accessible, and that they did not feel they had the power to influence things, even at a local level.
“Feedback is important”, Dr Willett said. “People didn’t want government to be a top to bottom approach, they want government to be something where you can give feedback and shape how it operates.”
The results of the study in Cornwall will now be shared with local politicians as well as other researchers at the University of Sheffield.