The Election Results: What Happens When People Actually Turn Up

I have already noted my lack of knowledge in a previous post, but just to reiterate, all of my opinions are as a result of educating myself about politics recently so I’ll most likely say something a bit stupid. Please bear with me if I do. Also, these are just a few scattered  but salient thoughts I’ve been having all morning, so I’m not covering everything I would want to, otherwise this would end up being an even longer and more convoluted ramble.

I’ve been awake since 5am, partly because I usually wake up around that time anyway, partly because I drank more than I intended last night, and partly because I wanted to find out the results of the election. I know, I woke up early for politics. That probably makes me the dullest twenty year old you’ll ever meet.

It was almost certain by that point that it was going to be a hung parliament, which means that no one had won the majority. I don’t want to discuss whether or not I’m happy with the result because I think there are plenty of angry voices out there already who can probably articulate it better than I can.

Instead, I worry about how this will impact the image Britain is presenting to the rest of the world. We look like we’ve been crudely split down the middle, choosing between left or right, and even then we can’t decide what we want. The Conservatives have lost seats, which doesn’t exactly portray the “strong and stable” politics that Theresa May was pushing for. Britain’s future is already looking pretty uncertain as we cut our ties with the EU – now we have a government without a majority influence or a clear direction, and are unable to agree on how to go forward. I can’t say I’m hopeful for our Brexit negotiations when we’ve clearly got internal issues. How can other world leaders take us seriously if our parliament is as divided and unbalanced as it is after this election?

So what has this election has told us about the British population? In my opinion, it’s revealed that when we really want to, we can change things. It’s just that most of the time people can’t be bothered.

There has been a huge push for the younger generation to register to vote which has clearly succeeded. Almost three million people registered in the short time between the announcement and the deadline, of which there was a huge increase in the number of 18-25 year-olds. Recently, my Twitter and Facebook feeds have been inundated with people who are around my age, sharing their support for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. It followed a similar pattern to the way they responded to the Brexit results, except a good portion of them hadn’t bothered to vote then. BBC News have covered the role that students have played in this election much better than I could, but it basically shows how influential our votes are.

On the one hand, it’s great that my generation are taking note of what’s happening in parliament and engaging in the politics that will inevitably affect us. On the other hand, what if the percentage of new voters for this election had voted on Brexit? Would we be in a completely different position as a country?

Obviously there is no way of knowing but I can’t help wondering if it’s just a bit late to suddenly gain an interest in our futures. This may seem hypocritical coming from someone who has only become politically informed in the past year, but the reason I didn’t vote in the referendum is because Manx citizens weren’t allowed to (again, the relationship between the Isle of Man and the UK is all in that post from a week or so ago). It’s like when I was a kid and refused to wear a helmet until I fell off my bike and whacked my head; I knew to wear a helmet from then on but I could have avoided the whole thing if I had done from the start.

Okay, that was an awful analogy but forgive me, I’m hungover tired from all that thinking and being politically engaged and stuff. I think what frustrates me most is that a lot of people were saying it wouldn’t have mattered if they had voted because what will one person’s ballot do, which is quite frankly idiotic. You only need to look at how close the voting has been to see that it matters a hell of a lot.

In fact, near my neck of the woods, Newcastle-Under-Lyme’s seat was held by Labour by 0.1%. 30 voters determined which party represented their constituency. And people think it doesn’t make a difference if they don’t show up? I don’t want to be preachy at all, political apathy just baffles me.

In all seriousness, where do we go from here? Theresa May’s decision to form a government with the Democratic Unionist Party seems like a last-ditch attempt at pretending she’s got a plan. Also, can’t say I’m a huge fan of the DUP’s policies considering how they are against same-sex marriage and take an anti-abortionist stance. I don’t know what’s going to happen following these results, and I doubt anyone else does either.

What are your thoughts on the election results? 

Best wishes,

Siobhán

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