52 days ago today, a snap election was called by the prime minister, Theresa May. The consequence was a whirlwind campaign by all the parties that ended up harming the Conservatives more than helping them. An action May hoped would result in a bigger majority for her party produced an outcome that shocked the nation. The Conservatives were 8 seats short of a majority government and eventually formed a deal with the Northern Irish party DUP. The combination of these seats gave them two more seats than the required 326, which was quite a small margin. However to inform the general world population, British politics is run by small margins.
Our country has faced three major elections in the past three years and we’ve all gotten a bit fed up. One of the reasons the Conservatives lost seats was due to the decision to call an election. A highlight in the portfolio of May’s u-turns, a snap election had been confidently denied many times. The British people had received a few months to judge the leadership of Theresa May and the result shows doubt nationwide. “Safe” seats for the Conservatives were taken by other parties such as Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Although she is adamant to keep her position, this election has certainly caused a stir in the political world.
Another key reason for the Conservative’s loss was Jeremy Corbyn. A man who had been in government for as long as Theresa May, attracted the votes of the younger generation. His new manifesto for Labour provided a glimmer of hope for the future and that got him the votes from the youth. He convinced young people to engage in politics and have a say in their future, leading to one of the highest turnouts from that group seen so far. Corbyn captured the people with his dreams for free tuition fees for university students and the rescue of the national health service. The views of Labour may have appeared too communistic for a lot of people that had gotten accustomed during the seven years the Tories have reigned, nevertheless they chose Labour, to defeat May. Albeit, Labour did not get a majority or form a coalition that beat the Conservatives, they were still impressive.
Additionally, Corbyn appeared in more television and radio appearances than May, started social media accounts that interested the younger population. His authenticity and eloquence gained him support as he consistently performed well in public events. Jeremy provided a refreshing outlook and challenged the controversial topics such as nuclear defense and arms deals. Considering the media bias towards the Conservatives and the regular heavy criticism Corbyn faced, he beat a lot of odds.
With an exit poll that stunned even the most optimistic Labour members, the population was motivated to stay up and watch the results be released. As they kept coming in, famous politicians and even party leaders lost their seats to other parties. If we take my seat as an example it is evident, Colne Valley was a Conservative seat and the bookies put a ~99% chance of that remaining as the case. Surprisingly and with the slimmest majority of 915 votes, Labour won, due to factors such as the closure of a nearby A & E department, Thelma Walker won one of the supposedly safest seats. How can a prime minister be so self-assured with such a disappointing result for her party?
Admittedly, the result was still in favour of the Conservatives and Theresa May remains the prime minister but the increased support for Labour illustrates the instability of modern day politics. In a time where no election can be forecasted accurately, calling a snap election was a sign of complacency. Now that May has seen the consequence, the question remains, does she regret it? Her party has lost seats, they have lost the majority they were hoping to build upon and “the strong and stable” vision is a distant memory. Only time will tell how this weak and wobbly arrangement will pan out.