UK Politics

An election is necessary, but not desirable

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Every time an election rolled around, I remember begging my Mum to wait until after she picked me up from school before casting her vote. In my head, the polling station was an amazing place where adults went to vote, and I wanted to be them.

Now, looking back, I’m about to vote in a general election for the first time with an overwhelming feeling of dread. 

Maybe it’s because everything is idealised when you’re a child, but I never remember feeling concerned, because I had this belief that everything would turn out okay. This time, that feeling of hope ceases to exist. This isn’t how I was expecting to feel when I was a child, and it’s certainly not how I want to feel now.

On Tuesday night, the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to hold a general election on December 12, Johnson’s preferred date. Opposition parties were trying to hold the election three days earlier instead, primarily because this would mean most university students would be voting at their term-time addresses rather than their ones at home. However, this attempt ultimately failed to pass. It’s safe to say the Prime Minister got his way this time, but I can only hope that his fate at the polling station isn’t so lucky. 

I for one was opposed to a December general election for several reasons. Predominantly due to it being inconvenient. With the nights drawing in earlier, people will be driven away from voting. It will also affect the amount of campaigning which canvassers feel safe to partake in.

It’s not surprising that the UK hasn’t seen an election in December since 1923. Many people will not bother to vote at this time of year due to the cold and miserable weather conditions, which is ironically fitting for the current state of UK politics. 

My ideal situation, as a Remainer, would have been for the government to hold a people’s vote to solve the Brexit impasse before any mention of a general election. However, you and I are both perfectly aware that it would never get through the Commons, which is a fact opposition parties also recognise. Thus, a general election has become the last chance in which people can be given the option for a final say. 

The outcome of this election feels impossible to predict. The polls vary depending on where you look. Although, if the EU referendum and the 2017 election taught us anything, it’s never to trust what the polls appear to tell you.

And now that the parties are starting to launch their campaigns, the pace of this upcoming election is beginning to quicken. Things are beginning to feel like an emergency, and I suppose, in a way, that’s exactly what it is.

This general election, to put it simply, is only going to be about Brexit. It’s a sad but true fact. General elections are supposed to be about all the issues that matter such as the NHS, schools, the climate crisis, and the economy. But, this one policy issue is one that will, unfortunately, drive the polls. 

Besides, at this rate, we seem to be having an election every two years and this one will likely be as pointless as the last. Ultimately, an election is necessary, but not desirable. The parliamentary arithmetic is a mess, although I’m not sure this upcoming December election will solve that. I suppose only time will give us that answer. 

Almost three and a half years after the Brexit vote, leaving the European Union is yet to happen. Johnson hopes that he will win the majority he and his party so desperately crave so they can deliver Brexit and pass any future laws, which would be difficult to do as things currently stand.

Technically, Johnson’s government doesn’t hold a majority in the Commons. So we, as the public, were under no illusion that an election was bound to happen at some point. But, regardless of whether you or I want an election, it’s happening. And in this current state, the only thing I hope is that the country makes the right decision.

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