I realise that it was only last week I made a post related to the upcoming UK General Election however there were so many other things I wanted to say in relation to the election and this article undertakes the task of explaining the dangers that will come from the UK snap general election if people do not vote carefully and strategically.
The political climate in Britain has changed dramatically, even beyond recognition, between the General Election in 2015 and the upcoming General Election. Events such as Brexit referrandum, the non election of Theresa May and the deteriorating position of the Labour party in UK politics have already shaped the result of this General Election. However, much of this shaping has been done by media, misinformation, fear mongering and backhanded planning from the conservative party. It has never been so vital to understand the true position Britain has been cornered into so that we can continue to practice a healthy democracy.
TL;DR- The first two points give a background to the political climate in the upcoming election however to understand the pinnacle of my point and why I am so concerned for the welfare for our healthy democracy, then read my third point.
- The media-
In a world where media and particularly social media are now major contributors to political coverage, a party or leader can be made or broken by bias and selective reporting. This has certainly been the case for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party over the past two years, with the result being huge decrease in support throughout the nation and damaging electoral results in local elections and polls for the Labour Party. However, whilst the majority of people mindlessly allow the media to support their bias, even if you do approach the news with skepticism there is a problem. We live in a world where, to live a fulfilled life there is barely a second to breathe between work, social commitments, family and sleep. Therefore, often it is in those few minutes on the train in the morning when people are reading the metro or on the hour when the BBC News headlines come on that people sit and listen, unable to pursue further research to confirm what they are being told is the entire truth. With the news being often the only form of information people have to update themselves on the political goings on at Westminster it is certainly not a surprise that people have turned against Jeremy Corbyn and the popularity of the Labour Party has plummeted. The news has to be owned and controlled by someone and increasingly we have got the media being controlled by right wing supporters. Namely, figures such as Rupert Murdoch and now it appears, George Osbourne! Rupert Murdoch has been involved in numerous scandals such as the News of the World phone hacking, alliances with Tony Blair and private talks with David Cameron. This is the man who is trusted to run a media empire and, due to his huge influence in the world of media, it is hardly common knowledge. George Osbourne, now editor of the Evening Standard (for a time, whilst Conservative MP) will naturally form a bias concerning the Labour Party.
2. Divisions within the Party-
For many labour supporters, or ex labour supporters for that matter, the main point of concern is the alarming division within the Labour Party. Surely we cannot have a Prime Minister who cannot even keep his party under control! The extensive coverage of the resignations and general in fighting taking place within the Labour party, along with the completely unfounded inundation of articles criticising Jeremy Corbyn is already enough to form a negative view of the Party. However, there will never be mention of the leadership landslide victory of Jeremy Corbyn after his leadership was put under question or the concerning divisions within the Conservative Party which, although they were covered, has now been buried by the control of the Conservative Party over the media. After the two days of mass resignation within the Labour Party Shadow Cabinet on June 26th and 27th 2016, in light of the Brexit vote, there was the big question of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership skills. However, in a leadership contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith, in October 2016, we saw the landslide victory of Jeremy Corbyn, a huge increase in members of the labour party and an image of a united front of the Labour Party. In my opinion, if this had been the Conservative Party, that would have been the end of any questioning of their strength and this event would have been referred to as conformation of strong and stable leadership. This was not the case for the Labour Party whose continued media berating has severely affected their support and agitated their members. What has often left people’s mind are the deep divides in the Conservative Party which were brought to light by the Brexit vote. Let us take a trip down memory lane. After David Cameron resigned, Boris Johnson, tipped to run for the leadership, was ‘stabbed in the back’ by Michael Gove; Michael Gove entered the leadership contest and was then eliminated, whilst Andrea Leadsom, citing Theresa May not being a mother as her reason of superiority for the leadership, had to withdraw and finally Theresa May, an established remain supporter became Prime Minister 90 minutes after launching her campaign, simply because she was the only candidate left. This apparent division did not just disappear after the ‘election’ of Theresa May as Prime Minister, but rather the coverage was ended. In Theresa May’s speech announcing the snap election we see to what extent divisions in Westminster have grown to. Every aspect of the government has opposed Theresa May, calling her majority weak, and opposing her attempts to negotiate with the EU, showing her weakness in this area. The snap election is the reason I wrote this blog and it is my final point.
3. The risk to our democracy-
This snap election has been extremely well timed. As well as breaking her promise to not hold an election before 2020, the timing of her announcement coincided with the uncovering of a scandal among Tory MPs and their finances. Naturally the news of the snap election has overshadowed this news, once again deflecting anything that could make the Conservative Party appear weak or corrupt. Theresa May has called a snap election when the support for the Labour Party is at its weakest, the strength of the Conservatives in the media is great and the people are looking for a constant in the country which has seen so much change. Naturally, she is in the strongest position to win the election. Along with this, many left wing supporters are either voting Conservative or looking at other left wing parties such as Green Party etc, in the hope of avoiding Jeremy Corbyn. This is what terrifies me most. If people, who normally vote labour, do not vote labour, the strength of the main government opposition will weaken. The sign of a healthy democracy is debate and opposition to ensure, as well as the voice of most the country being represented, the elected government’s decisions are questioned and checked. However, the way things are shaping, it seems that the mandate of Labour is incredibly weak whilst the Conservatives are stronger than ever. Sometimes, it is not just about electing in a government but it is giving enough support to the opposition to be able to vet the government legislation. With Theresa May in control of the media, the people and the ability to stay in power until 2022 without question, the picture being built is not a one nation party but rather a one party nation. In the upcoming election is has never been so important for people who not support the Conservatives, to vote for Labour. Even if Labour do not win the election, the nation will have at least given healthy democracy another chance to thrive in such as critical time in our history.
If you have not registered to vote yet or want to get involved in this snap election then read my previous post where I talk about how to register to vote, why you should and other ways to get involved!