Politics Personal Statement

Politics affects us all and to ignore it is to be in the dark about our world. It is through ignorance of politics that many people have acquiesced to unjust institutions and unfair political practices. I wish to study Politics that I may gain the knowledge and analytical acumen to understand the workings of the world and consequently be able to inform the public about pervasive injustice as a foreign correspondent or political reporter.

I have a gift for language and understanding texts, as my achievements in English Literature at A-Level attest. So following my talent, I initially decided to study Literature and American Studies. But, having begun studies at Manchester University, I found Literature to be too divorced from reality and not apt to help me understand the political landscape or fulfil my ambition. Consequently, after much reflection, I made the difficult decision to withdraw and follow my chief interests closer to home.

The reading I did in preparation for American Studies, however, was very useful in helping me understand American politics, a subject I very much look forward to studying at degree level. For, of national polities, America’s is the most important to understand as its unrivalled power means no one is untouched by its politics. Plus, the pace of political change and the polarisation of the parties make for fascinating reading, especially when seen through the lens of the Huffington Post, my favoured American news source. Only two years after Obama’s election, it is surprising to see the Republicans again on the front foot and regaining Congress with the help of the ‘Tea Party’ movement. I would like to better understand how such religious grass roots movements can work uneasily side-by-side with traditional political parties in the context of one of the world’s most secular constitutions.

America in its foreign policy announcements sometimes plays fast and loose with the word democracy. I also want to study Democratic Theory to better understand the pros and cons of democracy and its triumph in the West. In the UK, our first-past-the-post system appears deeply flawed and, as a member of the Electoral Reform Society, I want to find a more representative electoral system that better reflects the wishes of voters. However, reading Plato’s Republic for Philosophy A-Level has alerted me to the fact that democracy may have more profound, inherent shortcomings. Though Plato’s anti-democracy argument is not without problems, seeing as it appears to apply only to direct democracies and assumes the existence of apt-to-rule philosopher-kings, his ‘benevolent tyranny’ model of the state still has attractions, which may help to explain why, to the chagrin of Washington, not every country has yet embraced democracy.

Philosophy A-Level has prepared me in other ways for university study, honing my argumentative skills and teaching me how to present clear and logical arguments for my beliefs. This should stand me in good stead when I come to argue my case in political essays or seminars at university. My History A-Level, on the other hand, has provided me with the historical research skills and knowledge to understand the genesis of contemporary political events.

Outside of school, I am preparing myself for university life and my future career by pursuing an internship at the BBC and volunteering for the Green Party, of which I am a committed member. I hope to become even more politically active at university. I should like to become involved with the student union and promote Green Party policies. To better prepare myself for the media world, I would also like to write for, and help edit, a student newspaper.

Through my study and extra-curricular activities at university, I hope, not only to become intellectually and practically equipped to work in journalism, but even more compassionate that I may be more determined to expose injustice to the public eye and thereby help create a more fair, less unjust world.