Many of us have spent much of the last 36 hours digesting the idea that there will be a snap election on 8 June, having been so […] convinced by the Government that there would be no such thing. Now the dust from that bombshell is settling, politicians are popping up left, right, and centre, spouting whatever they seem to think that second. We mere mortals are all left with one important question, who on earth do I vote for!
Our system may mean that we vote for an individual, rather than a party and leader, but it is already clear from the rhetoric appearing from Westminster and Holyrood that this election is all about the next PM and Brexit, because who cares about other important issues. I mean really?!?. And no, I have not forgotten about Wales or NI before anyone suggests otherwise.
For those in England, realisitically you have three choices – Tories, Labour and Lib Dems, and you have the addition of the SNP in Scotland, Plaid Cymru in Wales and the SDLP, Sinn Fein, DUP and UUP in NI. Whilst other parties do exist, UKIP are now defunct since we will be gaining “independence” from the EU, the Greens are unlikely to win many more seats and are more like a one trick pony, and everyone else is, well everyone else.
Best of the Rest
The SNP. 2015 was an incredible election for the party, winning all but three seats in Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon may think the next election is a slam dunk for the SNP, however she would be arrogant to think Brexit and Indy2 Referendum will have no effect on voting patterns.
Scotland may have voted for Remain on the whole, however there were several areas where the vote was relatively close. Under her plans, Scotland will leave the UK after a second referendum and remain a member of the EU (which the EU has said will not happen, but she seems to be ignoring this fact).
If I were Scottish, I would have most likely voted for the SNP in 2015, but if I was part of the 32% which backed Brexit, why would I still vote SNP when they ignore my opinions? This leaves me with either not voting, or returning to one of the main parties…
The Lib Dems will be pushing hard to overturn their disastrous results from 2015, and with the state of the Labour party right now could see themselves gaining a few seats here and there. However, with no real stand out policy – like the tuition fees policy prior to the 2010 election – it is hard to see how they could come anywhere close to the number of seats from 2010 or even a coalition position. Over the next few days it will be interesting to see if any of the “old guard” who lost their seats in 2015 will be back to fight another battle. Vince Cable has already confirmed his intent to stand again.
Tim Farron has stated the Lib Dems wish to stop a “Hard Brexit”. I think he may be confused. Brexit is happening, and as much as the words hard and soft are being banded around, there is no such thing. Brexit will be Brexit, the terms of which will be decided upon by agreement. Whether the Lib Dems or any other party are in control, we need to vote for people who will fight for what 1) people voted for and 2) the future interests of the nation. If this means making compromises on being in the single market, we need to make such compromises, not roll over to the EU to do anything to keep membership.
And then you have UKIP. With 14% of the share of the vote in 2015, and the successful Brexit campaign, many would think why not vote for them? The answer is simple. They had a purpose, which was to get Britain out of the EU. They have succeeded in that regard and as such should dissolve and let the government get on with the negotiations without having to put up with whingeing and whining. Let’s not forget how they have 0 MP’s, leadership crises even Labour would envy, and attract support from many racist and sexist voters, to the embarrassment of many activists.
The Big Two
Labour. Well where to begin. A party that has been imploding in spectacular fashion the last couple of years, with MP’s fighting and disregarding their leader in public, followed by several contests and threatened contests for leadership, and shadow cabinet resignations galore. A united party they are not. How can you vote for a party you cannot trust will even be able to form a Cabinet? In addition, Corbyn quite frankly lacks the leadership qualities of members such as Sadiq Khan, Andy Burnham and several other key figures.
That leaves you with one. The Conservatives. Theresa May is certainly not everybody’s cup of tea, and neither are the Tories policies. You can almost guarantee there will be no end to austerity any time soon and the party will plough on as it has been doing for the last few years.
There are however positives. Brexit does mean Brexit. The majority (even if small) voted for Brexit. The Tories have hit the red button and are willing to fight for getting the best deal out of the EU. The wheels are in motion and negotiations underway. A new Tory government will be in power to see through Brexit and create stability. If you voted for Brexit you cannot guarantee that any of the other main parties will do the same.
Of course if you are one of the minority in Ipswich who voted remain, then your choices seem much more limited. This election is sadly, going to be all about Brexit and Indy2. These are the issues which will shape the future of our country and as such, you have to vote with your head, as well as your heart.