Union Jack

By Ryan Oldham

On Thursday, voters in their droves will flock to polling stations across the United Kingdom to vote for who they believe should be the next Prime Minister. The election, called by current PM Theresa May, is a snap election. This is an election called earlier than usual by the government, and in this case it’s due to May not currently having an overwhelming majority. She seeks this to cement her party’s position on Brexit, and to make it easier to pass legislation regarding it. Below, I’ll let you know, in my own extremely unbiased way, what this means for the UK.

The Conservatives

Watch any film. The Tories are the baddies. Theresa May became Prime Minister after the Brexit vote that led to the resignation of then PM David Cameron.

May, unfortunately for the Tories, has no redeeming qualities. She lacks compassion, empathy and charisma, and has so far shown cowardice when faced with a potential debate, and a general disgust towards the election process, one which she called.

She has refused to debate her opponent, Jeremy Corbyn, choosing instead to stand alone on stage and take questions from an audience without fear of rebuttal from any party. This refusal to debate her opponent doesn’t seem to faze her. She said she wants to “get on with the job,” of Brexit, but she called this election, and it is uncharacteristic of a leader to show so much contempt for a fair debate, unless, of course, she knows she’d be out of her depth.

Three terrorist attacks in three months have led her to call for a regulated internet, and that there has been “far too much tolerance,” of extremism in the UK.

Right, because we’re all high-fiving our mates after each one of these attacks.

It’s quite laughable watching her try to deflect and shit blame when, in actual reality, her government is responsible for these attacks more than anybody else. Claiming the internet is to blame is also quite preposterous, especially with claims this week that May is suppressing a report about Saudi Arabian funding of extremists.

May was Home Secretary before becoming Prime Minister, and in charge of security services in that time. Between 2010 (when she started her role as Home Secretary) and 2016 (when she became PM), there was a 20% drop in the number of armed police officers. 20,000 officers lost their jobs.

In response to the Manchester bombing, the government stepped up its security presence with Army officers being deployed to the streets. One can speculate that the bombing may not have happened with 20,000 extra police on the force, but we definitely wouldn’t have had to deploy the military in response to it.

Calls for her resignation escalated Monday, with Jeremy Corbyn himself getting involved, but it remains clear that May will fight on till Thursday, and honestly, she’ll probably win.

It’s hard to understand why so many people that will be hurt by Conservative policies continue to vote for them, but I’ll give it a go when explaining Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

Labour

Jeremy Corbyn is May’s opponent. He’s quite literally the opposite of the Prime Minister, from gender to grandeur, and his numbers show this. Since the snap election was called, Labour have seen an overwhelming show of support, specifically from the youth, and their polling numbers have continued to rise, while Tory numbers continue to fall, albeit at a much slower pace.

This is as much down to May’s incompetence as it is down to Corbyn’s campaigning skills, but numbers are numbers and Labour will take them any way they can get them.

One potential hiccup that Corbyn faces is apparent links to the IRA, with the media pressing him on the subject at every given opportunity.

Corbyn apparently refused to condemn the IRA, but did say “I condemn all the bombing by both the Loyalists and the IRA.”

While he hasn’t specifically condemned the IRA with this quote, backlash reeks of a right-wing attack not unlike the American right-wing when Barack Obama refused to say “Islamic Extremism.”

Regardless of your view of the man himself, his and his party’s policies are what should be the main focus of this election when it comes to making your decision.

Labour has pledged to add 10,000 new police officers, raise the minimum wage to £10/hour, halt the privatization of the National Health Service and continue to give free school meals to children aged 4-11. All the while, freezing taxes for anybody earning less than £80,000/year. The Tories actually pledged a 1k tax cut on the rich, but have been quiet on taxes for the working and middle classes.

All of this should really make your decision quite easy, but some of the working/middle class still refuse to vote for Corbyn because of a perceived notion that he will be weak on terror and defense. The fact stands that under Corbyn there would be more police on the streets, and security services would not be starved of the resources they need.

Corbyn also said that police should be allowed to use “whatever force is necessary,” to stop terrorists. That doesn’t sound like a man weak on terrorism.

The War on Terror was about as successful as the War on Drugs, and the sooner we craft a new foreign policy that reflects this, the better.

Corbyn is a man of the people, and he always has been. Unfortunately for the Conservatives, the same cannot be said for Theresa May.

Overall, the main message here for Brits is to vote for what you believe in.

Do you want a country where the NHS is not privatized, and where you can get a routine surgery without claiming bankruptcy? Where you feel safe on the streets after 10,000 extra officers are employed, and where your children can have a free meal at school if you can’t afford it? Then vote for Labour.

Do you want to live in a country where the government bends over backwards for Saudi Arabia, who actively promote extremism, and continues to sell them weapons which find their way in to terrorist hands? A country where the rich continue to help the rich with further tax breaks? Then vote Conservative.

Your choice.

Writer’s note: Of course, there are other parties and leaders running for election. Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP and Paul Nuttall of UKIP, but voting for any of these parties is a waste of a vote. The only way to enact real change is to vote Labour. Remember when a bunch of people voted for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein as a protest vote in the US Election? Well look where that got us.

Ryan Oldham is a political correspondent for The Next Ten Words. Contact him at ryanoldhamntw@gmail.com

And if you like what you’ve read here, please CONSIDER THIS

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3 thoughts on “The UK Election – What You Need to Know

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