#FirmAgainstApathy is a campaign launched by A Firm Of Poets, which aims to engage people in the run up to the election and to display a strong and united front against those who choose to be politically invisible. We were very conscious of the fact that we didn’t want it to look like A Firm Of Poets preaching, which is why it’s an open invitation for anybody who wants to contribute. Our target was 100 poets against apathy. Over the first weekend we’ve had 12; there are 7 weekends left. If somebody submits a clip urging people to vote Tory or UKIP, I’ll post it. At the end of the day, all we’re encouraging is active democracy.
The fact is, apathy is bloody annoying. I actually find it more annoying than people who vote Tory or UKIP. Particularly when, as so often is the case, they’re quite happy to vent their opinions until they’re blue in the face, and debate policy and lambast their political rivals and throw in a few suggestions of their own. They always have plenty to say. But when it comes to the ballot box? They can’t be bothered. One vote won’t make a difference. It’s got nothing to do with them. They’re all the bloody same anyway. And so on and so forth. But then they’re quite happy to spend money voting on X Factor, or Strictly Come Dancing, or to elect a King of The Jungle or whatever else they do on ITV. If Simon Cowell chose his winner without consulting the public (which I’m sure he does in secret anyway), there’d be uproar. But decide on a government that could ultimately determine the future of our NHS? Bedroom tax? Pensions? Welfare cuts? Emergency services? Nah, not arsed.
I want as many people as possible to engage in this campaign, and I’m hoping that with the use of the hash-tag and social media in general, we can enter the hundreds by the time we reach 7th May. One of the main reasons is because we’re hosting a gig at Unity Works in Wakefield on the eve of the election, and inviting everybody who’s contributed to come along and perform their piece. “100 poets against apathy” is the tag line – it could be quite a do!
One of the best things about poetry is that pretty much anybody can do it. It’s not like recording a song, where you need to be able to play an instrument, and then rehearse a track, demo a track, take it into a studio, record it, mix it, master it and all that jazz. You can spend half an hour scribbling something down, record it in “selfie mode” on your smart-phone until you’re happy with the take, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and within a few hours it’ll be on YouTube. That’s it. You don’t even need to be a poet; you just need to have something to say.
Stand #FirmAgainstApathy. We all have a voice – use it!
Visit the Unity Works website for more information on the event at Unity Works on the 06.05.15
Check out the YouTube playlist: