No Place For Complacency | Sarah Stook
Just a little under a year after Britain flocked to the polls to vote in a once in a generation referendum (take note, Ms. Sturgeon), they will be returning again for another general election. It came, to put it lightly, as a bit of a surprise. Even as Theresa May stepped up outside the door of 10 Downing Street, not many guessed that she would be announcing that she would be seeking Parliament’s permission for a general election.
With only six weeks between her announcement and the date in which it will occur, it’s a tight squeeze. We won’t see the campaigning that we did in 2015- Downing Street has already rubbished the idea that May will appear in any TV debates-but it will still have the same effect. The timing does not matter, nor does the limited time period in which parties will have the chance to campaign; it will still affect the running of this country. It will impact the next five years of policy, and perhaps even longer depending on the legacy and legislation of the 2017 administration.
Polls have the Conservative winning by a landslide, with some believing they could even get a 100 seat majority. They’re even polling above Labour in Scotland (though still fairly behind the Scottish National Party), something that many would call unthinkable. When asked who would be a better Prime Minister, or who would run the economy better, May has been on top every time, or at least between unknown and Jeremy Corbyn. Experts believe that this could be the nail in the coffin of Labour, and even its own party members-especially moderates-have their concerns that they could be blown out of the water. Furthermore, it looks as though the SNP may lose a couple of seats, and that UKIP may not even win any, seats that could fall to the Conservatives once again. A Lib Dem resurgence is expected, but it is not believed that it will be enough to tip the scales. In short, it’s going to be a left-wing wipe-out.
That does not mean, however, that we should be complacent.
There are two reasons for that. The first is that polls can be wrong. When the polls have been this consistent, it is extremely unlikely that the Conservatives will lose, however, we do not know about it being a definite landslide. The past three major voting polls have been completely incorrect. Firstly, it seemed as though there would be a hung parliament in 2015-yet, we had a slim Conservative majority. Then it was going to be narrow remain, yet it was narrowly leave. After that it was 95% chance of Clinton, yet Trump won the keys to the White House. When polls have been this wrong recently, can we guarantee that they won’t be this time around?
Secondly, being presumptive isn’t a clever thing, especially when you find yourself on the losing side. Take for example last year’s EU referendum. The media was full of stories regarding Remainers who hadn’t voted, as they simply hadn’t believed that a Brexit would occur. Perhaps if they had voted, the result would have been in their favour. Across the pond, a similar thing occurred. Though Hilary Clinton won the popular vote, Trump won the Presidency. In the wave of protests that followed his election, many were arrested. In one such protest, nearly all of those who had been arrested hadn’t even gone to the ballet boxes.
Some may have even been the ones who had written in Harambe.
As young people, complacency is also the worst sin we can commit in this election. Young people are notorious for their low turnout as a whole, with less than half of 18-24 years olds voting in any election. These decisions affect us. With the average life expectancy increasing, it is likely that our generation will live with the consequences like no other. You cannot complain if you do not go out and spend thirty seconds in a ballot box, crossing the box of your chosen party. Some argue that politicians don’t represent us, and perhaps some of them don’t, but at the end of the day, their vote on both student issues (such as grants, mental health funding and tuition fees) and national issues (the NHS, taxation and immigration) can change all of our lives. Most MPs will go in there genuinely caring and wanting to improve the lives of their constituents, Conservative, Labour or otherwise. It is important the right people are elected.
Finally, we have Brexit.
Unless the Lib Dems somehow manage to take Downing Street, Brexit is happening. The Conservatives are the likeliest to win, and are most in favour of implementing a proper Brexit (apart from UKIP, of course). Even those who voted remain will want Britain to succeed in the negotiations with the EU, and will want post-EU Britain to flourish. By voting for a party who will make a genuine effort to make the best of leaving the EU, you will be able to get that.
Don’t be cowed by your (in fairness, minority in their rudeness) left-wing peers who use buzzwords such as ‘racist’ to describe the party and its supporters, those who accuse you of hating the poor and disabled. That worry, that peer pressure, it can lead to the complacency we fear.
Come June 8th, we can have a true Conservative mandate to deliver an agenda that is best for the nature. Whoever you are, wherever you are, make sure that you VOTE.
It will make a difference. It always does.