Perhaps one of the most important posts I may ever write during my time as a blogger, and it’s only my second one. Who knew we lived in such turbulent times.
As the Politics and International Relations blogger, I guess it’s my obligation to give you a university student’s view on the last seven weeks of campaigning, leading to today – Election Day 2017.
When Theresa May first called the snap election, I was actually at my home in Leeds, not in Leicester. I’ll admit, my first thought was one of optimism. This was going to be my first opportunity to vote in a General Election and have my say. My last voting experience wasn’t exactly what I expected – as a supporter of remaining in the European Union (EU), losing such a pivotal referendum result was a shock to say the least.
I wanted to remain as open-minded as possible throughout the campaign, although the numerous Theresa May memes were not helping. It was difficult to understand her ‘dementia tax’ when the next “Strong and Stable” meme had popped up on my Facebook.
Despite this, the Conservatives (Tory) campaign did start out well. With a good position in the poll, it seemed almost inevitable that May would win the majority she needed to reinforce her position, especially before the Brexit negotiations begin (A big issue during this General Election, particularly for me).
Now, the Tories are on the brink of losing their majority, with the potential that the opposition could form a coalition government.
No one said politics was easy.
What went wrong? For me, it was the fact that Theresa May was so out of touch with the general public. I can’t deny she has leadership qualities, but her failure to face up to Jeremy Corbyn does question her ability. Her insistence that TV debates were not worthwhile are completely unfounded in my opinion. To me, TV debates give you the opportunity to see the candidates for yourself, without travelling far to meet them. In these kind of formats, there’s no journalists to break down their arguments, no bystanders to drown out any campaigning – just uninterrupted question and answer structures.
The Prime Minister’s reluctance to directly challenge Corbyn became evident during Jeremy Paxman’s brutal beating of the two leaders. Any politician who claims “I am answering the question” is clearly feeling the pressure – no politician ever precisely answers the question, they are simply very good at getting around it.
Of course, the General Election was not limited to just the national campaign. Here, in Leicester, many were keen to get out the message of registering to vote to many young students. The politics society hosted a debate for the major parties in England, including a delegation from the newly formed Libertarian Party of the UK. This was particularly useful for a lot of students who were able to hear about the policies that interested them like climate change, Brexit and young voter engagement.
Considering how dramatic the U.S election had been, this General Election has been nothing more than a quiet British tea party: none of over-exaggerated spectacles (like Ed Miliband’s ‘Edstone’ from the 2015 campaign) and all the rain you’d expected from a typical British summer.
For now, I’m heading to one of the pubs close to campus to watch the results unfold. I guess I can only hope for something remotely ‘Strong and Stable’ when I eventually wake up tomorrow morning, whether that be a Tory or Labour Government. Heck, who knows, the Lib Dems might just win a landslide victory after these turbulent times.
No one said politics was easy.