!!! If all you take from this blog is to register to vote – you have until the 26 November and can register at home AND University. There are links at the bottom for more information !!!
Parliament has been dissolved and we now officially have our Christmas election on 12 December 2019. “You’re joking – not another one”, I could hear Brenda from Bristol screaming again from my bed in Flagstaff. Unfortunately, this election remains far from humorous. Angry. Hateful. Aggressive. All words I have had used to describe how I feel towards this election – and rightly so. The people have had Brexit uncertainty for three years, rising reliance on food banks, cuts to policing, education, and the NHS, and more people ‘living’ on the streets than ever seen before.
We have five weeks
This election offers monumental change, and if Boris’ boys think a December election is the easiest way to deter activists and voters, they will have to think again. We have seen him questioned by the Police for domestic abuse cases, questioned for lying to the Queen, taken to court for undemocratic practices in parliament. On top of that, the man picks a time when women will feel unsafe canvassing late, a time when families will be stressed with Christmas priorities, and a time when students are away from home.
This does not cause voter fatigued in anyone, it ignites their passion.
The choices are more interesting this time around, with the two party system currently in tatters. The Brexit party hopes to win seats to deliver the democratic will of the 52% three years ago, headed by UKIP’s Nigel Farage. We have the Conservatives, lead by unelected Boris Johnson, hoping to secure a majority and stop their reliance on the DUP, aiming to move forward with Brexit on the 31st January. The Liberal Democrats have reemerged with Jo Swinson as the party leader, she promises they are the only party who will stop Brexit. Labour are lead by Jeremy Corbyn, who refused to agree to the election until no-deal was removed from discussion. The party achieved this and now say they will agree a deal with the EU and then put it to a public vote alongside remain. The Green party have said they too want the vote to be put to the people, aiming to push against the Conservative’s plan and aim for a more progressive deal.
‘The Brexit election’
The focus has remained on Brexit, but we need not forget the power a general election gives the people to bring about change. It has nearly been a full decade of tory austerity, and the affects have taken a toll domestically, economically, and environmentally.
Something’s not adding up
Since 2010, David Cameron and Theresa May cut police numbers by 22,000. Not only does this completely undermine Boris Johnson’s current promises to ‘recruit’ 20,000 police officers, with him yet again misleading the public, but it puts young people at risk, with the former met-chief blaming it for the rise in knife crime. The tories have continued to put the people at risk; last year we saw the NHS brought to a stand still under Theresa May through cyber hacking due to a decrease in funding, and a vulnerability of the system. A recent poll showed that half of the United Kingdom do not trust Johnson to not make a deal with Trump, believing he would sell services to the US. School rooms have been swamped, with teachers striking due to underfunding and over-bearing class room sizes. The affects have hit the poorest pupils hardest, with cuts going back to 2010 equating to more than £220 million, making their chances increasingly limited.
These domestic issues are met with economic struggles, seen with the Conservative leadership. The last decade has been the decade of austerity driven measures, making the country £100 billion poorer. The chancellor of the exchequer has announced budget cuts after budget cuts, and yet it is Diane Abbott who is dog pilled on for a gaff on the radio, despite government measures equating to £3,600 loss per household. Austerity has related to the domestic issues; with rough sleeping falling three-quarters under the previous Labour government, and rising 169% since 2010.
Need I remind you this is the 5th richest economy in the world?
Theresa May looked into a crying nurse’s eyes, who had not received a raise in eight years, during question time and told her ‘there is no magic money tree’, and then gifted a £1 billion cheque to the DUP to uphold her flaking minority government. They double the Queen’s income, they raise their own salaries, and they sleep easy knowing you have to choose between feeding your children or buying them new shoes. The personal priorities over the people’s are sickening, and it is about time we thought about the many, not the few.
Nurture your nature
The only way we can be realistic about the future is if we realise that tomorrow is not promised. The tories are ignoring science and killing off green initiatives that will give us all a better future. In 2015, they went on the attack, Amber Rudd halted wind farms on the grounds that they wanted to save bill payers money. It’s always great to know your money is going to the elites sitting in Buckingham palace, and not initiatives that make your country cleaner.
They continued this trend; with the ‘zero carbon homes’ goal being scrapped in 2016, and the tories being mocked that they should go ‘hug a coal power station’. The United Kingdom are ignoring green initiatives which would be life saving. They have even made it more difficult for people to access public transport, with rising rail costs, and a further reliability on cars. Rates have shot up 27%. That is two and a half times faster than wages increase.
George Brown was beaten at the polls in 2010, with Tony Blair’s previous leadership tainting his appeal. Jeremy Corbyn was a left critic of Blair throughout his time under Blair’s leadership, allowing the party to bring a fresh face to this election. Within the last three years, Corbyn has offered an open discussion to the Brexit debate, with the tories constantly slamming the door in his face. In the last year, they have noticed the difficulty to get anything passed and have come running back to him, smearing his name as the reason for nothing being done.
This is simply untrue.
Are they any different?
Corbyn, in the last three years, has lead a Labour party which has promised to scrap private school education – an institution which takes from state funding, perpetuates inequalities, and creates job pockets for the elite. They have forced the government to pay attention to the climate crisis by making the commons declare an environmental emergency. Just this April I stood alongside parliamentarians who heard Greta Thunberg’s call to them in the Attlee Suite, it was Theresa May who was too ‘busy’ to meet with her, yet Jeremy Corbyn heard what she had to say.
In this election, the Labour party will be the only true chance we have to break away from the tory rhetoric. A democratic socialist Britain is possible, that is what gave us the NHS. We can have free tuition, better rail services, a fair pension scheme for our elders, a four day working week which stops British workers doing more hours than any other European country. Gone are the days we appease to centrist needs, we must appeal to the needs of the time.
The Conservative legacy
The pinnacle of the tories 10 year rule must be the Grenfell fire. I will never in my life vote for a tory government because of what they did. When watching BBC news the week following, I noticed one woman had written this onto the wall:
After seeing this, I felt numb. I felt infuriated, then, to learn that this could have all been so easily avoided. If you are unaware of what exactly the Grenfell fire is, it was a tower block of flats located in North Kensington, which broke out into a fire on the 14 June 2017 at 1:00 am. The fire started from a malfunctioning fire-freezer on the fourth floor. This lead to an estimated 80 deaths. I say estimated because the media do not report the official number, with people still presumed missing.
This is ludicrous.
And why do they not care? Because their pay cheques are not granting them privilege, despite them being entitled to natural human rights. There are rental bills, electoral rolls, council taxes, or family members to report that their family members were in the building. But no elected officials care enough to investigate. Boris Johnson has told families that ‘justice will be done’, despite being in the government that voted to cut corners and put unsafe cladding on the building, allowing the fire to spread.
This would have cost… £5,000 more. And remember they have £1 billion for the DUP. They just do not have £5,000 for families in a burning building. Okay. Okay. They also carried out a £8.6 million refurbishment on a west London property, but remember, that is for the people who do have the pay cheques. If you snooze, you lose. Or in this case, if you are poor, you burn.
Be the change
The 12 December election offers a real opportunity to make a difference. This means getting out, canvassing, knocking on doors, asking your friends if they are registered to vote, asking people you see in the street if they are registered, going to local meetings, and being active online. In the last general election the Conservatives did not post ONCE for young people to register, whilst the Labour party was consistently urged us to use our right. They are even now trying to enable 16 year olds the right. And what has Johnson said? If that is enabled, he will pull the election.
It speaks for itself.
You can register at home and at university. It only takes 5 minutes tops.
Tactical voting is urgent. My local member of parliament flipped Lincoln red after a 7 year Conservative hold, this does not mean it could not switch straight back. In Leeds, where I go to University, it is a Labour hold, therefore I vote in Lincoln.
What to do right now
You can use this website to see the margin between your home and university to decide where to vote… https://t.co/LAmi9qHcyy?amp=1
And if you are not registered yet, head over to… https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
You have until November 26th to register. Use your voice, use your vote.