This Thursday 12th December we held a general election in the UK. I was at the polling station at 7am on the dot. In fact, I was the first person to vote at my polling station – that’s how bloody eager I was. Now, I hope that those people reading this post who were able to vote in this election, did. Nothing frustrates me more (apart from the Tory win at this election, but we will come to that…) than people who don’t vote when they are eligible to do so!
I made sure to read the manifestos of the parties thoroughly – apart from the Lib Dems, whose manifesto lacked so much clarity that I personally didn’t see the point in continuing. In my opinion, the Conservative manifesto was all about Brexit. In fact, that’s not even an opinion – they proudly claim this themselves. Get Brexit done. Get Brexit done. Get Brexit done. Although Brexit is very important to me, it’s not the only thing that influenced my vote. Over the next 5 years, we have more to worry about than just Brexit. This should not have been a Brexit election.
If you have read my post on climate change (you can do so here), then you will know that I am extremely concerned about the future of the planet. So any manifestos that speak thoroughly to solving this global issue, go down favourably with me. I also care about issues like the cost of living, accessibility to skilled jobs, affordable housing and homelessness, crime and the way that we view and respond to immigration.
Now, with all of this in mind, I read the manifestos of the Conservative and Labour parties. My constituency has a majority Conservative hold so I was torn between tactical voting (Lib Dems) and genuinely just voting for who I most found my beliefs aligned with. I simply cannot support a Conservative government, when it means that the prime minister is a man who has repeatedly insulted every minority and under-privileged group in this country. Everyone that’s not a rich white man essentially. He is sexist, homophobic and he’s a racist. Referring to Muslim women as letterboxes and black children as picaninnies – are we just going to excuse this along with the long list of offensive things he’s said in the past? For a quick run through, you can read about them here. Or, you could just research him yourself and become informed about the kind of man that is going to be running this country for the next 5 years. Anyone who supports or even worse, tries to defend this man – well, frankly I don’t want to hear it.
The result of this election has been angering me all weekend. Genuinely, I am so disappointed. I think that the Conservative party is the worst party of them all and I just cannot understand why so many people voted for them. The only explanations I have for this, are that voters secretly share his controversial views and that he gained much of his support through leading his manifesto with Brexit.
Brexit has been going on since 2016. It’s now almost 2020. I know that this has been drawling on tirelessly. We’re all fed up of hearing about it on the news because we never get any clarity as to what is actually happening. We voted and the result of that vote, four years later, has not been fulfilled. It’s shambolic. During this time, we saw David Cameron immediately resign, Theresa May continually lead us into more and more disarray and then we got Boris as prime minister – who promises to get this whole ordeal sorted quickly and finally. To debate Brexit is really a separate topic on its own. I want to remain in the EU for several different reasons – the freedom to travel, work and live in any other EU country, access to emergency healthcare in any EU country as well as the option to seek help from an EU embassy outside of the EU if I’m abroad, the fact that the single market and trade sustains masses of UK jobs and businesses, which keeps the country thriving and the wider influence that we have from being part of a large union. These are just my reasons laid out simply, as I’m not going to be debating Brexit in this post. But I do feel that people voted Conservative not because they want to leave the EU with Boris’ deal or because they want to leave at all, but simply because they want to Get Brexit done. I’ve watched interviews with members of the public on this and even many of the remain voters say they just want to get this over with now. Boris promises to do that. People like Boris because he promises to do that and they believe that he will.
But for me, this vote was not just about Brexit. The Labour manifesto advocates change: It’s time for real change. There is a whole section on how they will lead a green industrial revolution through switching to renewable energy. This will create one million more jobs and reduce the cost of energy bills. Labour also recognise that the biggest polluters of our planet are in the wealthiest percentage of the population. If you read the Labour manifesto and compare it to the Lib Dems, you will find that Labour clearly details the how and the Lib Dems simply state that they are going to make sure they do this and that, without actually explaining the workings behind any of it. Saving the planet is my biggest concern and I felt that the Labour manifesto was the only one, out of all three manifestos that I considered, that gave this the detail and attention it deserves.
There is a whole section on tackling poverty and inequality – something the Conservatives only mention in passing. Not to mention that the homepage of their manifesto is scattered with images of white people and nobody else, when this is a multi-cultural country. Labour consider lots of different types of people in their manifesto – unemployed, self-employed, households with one person working, teenagers on minimum wage, people working full-time but facing too-high living costs, excessive working hours and the recognition that a healthy working environment allows you time to switch off. They also speak to several different injustices – gender differences and closing the pay gap, racial and religious injustice, taking care of our younger workers to make sure that they are not exploited with low pay and zero hour contracts. It’s the most inclusive manifesto.
Labour talk about making the NHS a zero-carbon service and investing in mental health to ensure that more people have access to the help they need. When they talk about the police, they talk about improving the relationship between communities and the police, providing more training and proportionate stop-and-searches. Unlike the Tories, who pledge to put 20,000 more officers on the streets and increase their powers to stop-and-search. They mention making stop-and-searches fair and proportionate, without even acknowledging the ways in which it currently isn’t. So how are we supposed to believe that they know what is fair and proportionate? There is one mention of the word minority in their manifesto and it is in reference to the ‘criminal minority’. There is one mention of ethnicity and religion, lumped together can I add and not addressed as separate entities. It simply states that a Conservative government will protect people from physical attack and harassment, without stating how and again, without recognising the specific problems that people are facing within these contexts. They just mention this for the sake of mentioning it.
The Conservative manifesto talks about ‘prevent[ing] any foreign interference in elections’. Which brings me on to the fact that there were so many European citizens who were turned away from their polling stations on Thursday and refused the right to vote! At the same time, there were people who didn’t receive their postal votes or received them the day after the election. I mean, really? These are the things we need to be talking about. If you ever want to get a sense of what is really happening to people in this world, read your Twitter feed. I’m not saying that Twitter is the voice of truth, but in a way, it is the voice of many people’s truths. The voice that speaks to the things you won’t be able to read about or hear on the news.
I voted Labour because, in my opinion, their discussions are holistic. They have detail and numbers in their manifesto to ensure we clearly understand the what and the how. You can question those numbers if you like but there are explanations behind what they say. It’s the most thorough and detailed manifesto I have read. I’m disappointed that more people didn’t vote Labour, I really am.
As I’m sure you can tell, I am really frustrated by the result of this election. In fact, it’s been irritating me all weekend. I know that the result is the result and we can’t change it now but I’m allowed to have my views, I’m allowed to be annoyed and I’m allowed to express why. For the next 5 years I have to have Boris Johnson as my prime minister and I really couldn’t think of anything worse.
What are your thoughts on the result?