On British Politics: Keep Calm and Muddle on (Gin, Optional).

During the next three weeks, I have resolved to indulge a little in the British political chaos. A self-proclaimed “bloody difficult woman” backtracking on a general election date, Labour’s Diane Abbott’s mathematical blunder, and Tim Fallon’s TV stumble on his Liberal Democrat battle bus. Our politicians haven’t had it easy. Neither have the population, to be honest, but we mustn’t speak of matters that affect the deprived and aggrieved. That would provoke REAL change. Why should the cold, hard truth be such a glum affair?

Voters and non-voters alike, get involved in this year’s hottest political drinking game. Throw back a shot of something unagreeable when Theresa May feebly falters “Strong and stable”. Strong odds on this phrase to reappear in every interview, press conference and Q&A. Sip last week’s oxidised sauvignon (or flat Fanta) when Jeremy Corbyn proclaims he will “not play by the rules”. Finish the glass if he tags on “cosy cartel” or “wealth extractors”. Switch immediately to water if Nigel Farage makes a lastditch appearance as UKIP leader.

You might be picking up the rules faster than the SNP achieves Scottish independence, but let’s backtrack a little.

In and amongst your plastic cups and Tesco gin, I see you have a burning question:

What exactly is going on in British Politics right now?

It begins with Brexit. Like a one-night-stand trying to sneak out early the next morning, it has been nearly a year since the UK put on its shoes and tried to leave the EU. Unfortunately, like the morning-after escapee, they didn’t realise that their conquest’s home was actually his/her parents and they’ve been caught red-handed sneaking out the back door. “Please, stay for breakfast and let’s talk”. Brexit means breakfast, and the United Kingdom and Europe will be in talks for just under two years until the leave is finalised by March 2019 at the latest.

Give the people a voice (again)

In and amongst the Brexit hysteria, on April 18, Theresa May announced a snap general election. It came as a surprise to the ruling and opposition parties alike. With just an eight-week gap between the announcement and election day, there’s little time for the opposition to buck up their ideas, put forward some achievable proposals and drum up some much-needed support.

Long gone are the days of a two or possibly three party race. The disenfranchised Labour voters have found comfort in the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, the Greens and UKIP. As is the way of the first past the post system in British Politics, it is only the winning MP of a constituency that counts towards the total of their party seats in Westminister. The remaining votes count for nothing. As many are beginning to realise, voters need to be strategic. The smaller parties can score a seat here and there in similar minded constituencies. But the electorate has more power in keeping a party out of power than voting one in. The Raving Monster Loony party will almost certainly never score a majority, even if they came second in every constituency, but voters can strategically place their vote to keep the Green Party out for example. At present, it’s looking to be a one party privatised track of Tory victory.

 

But why are you having an election in June? You guys just had an election!

Our local elections took place on May 4, 2017. They were an important precursor to the general election as they give a glimpse into the voting decisions of the public.

The resounding result from the local council elections was the continual gains the Conservatives are making. They scooped up the collapsing UKIP vote, leaving a lone seat in Lancashire. UKIP has served its purpose, having succeeded in its manifesto aim: to leave the EU. Leader Paul Nuttall’s proposal of young Brits taking up fruit picking to counter unemployment might leave a sour taste in voters’ mouths. Labour has now lost more than 380 council seats. The Conservatives have solidified their standing with an increased 563 seats.

All’s well that… (oh…)

In all honestly and judging on the opinion polls, May’s canniness in calling an election when the opposition are knee-deep in internal disputes and bickering looks to pay off. A recent YouGov study carried out showed 49% of pollers would vote Conservative if an election was held tomorrow. 31% chose Labour with the remaining votes split between Liberal Democrats and remaining parties. However, as we saw in the opinion polls of the referendum and in those of the US election, not everybody is vocal about their decision. There may be some shy Corbynites amongst us.

Us Brits have faced an election in one form or another for three consecutive years (the Scottish, four). Who can blame us in our frustration at all politicians? Please, excuse us for walking over logical sense and voting with emotion and passion. Our inner conflict transcended politics and found itself on stage on Saturday evening at the Eurovision in our entry. The electorate wants change. What kind of change is the question we’re still looking to answer.

– Sarah Maclean

 

Feature Image – Pixabay

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