Friday, 26 May 2017

A Guide to June 8th - General election!

Hey guys,

I know this is a fashion blog but politics is a huge interest of mine and I feel it's very important to talk about. Twitter is the one place I am most vocal about my political views and had a few people asking me to do a blog post explaining this general election to you guys. I'm not going to be very good at keeping this unbiased I'm afraid.

First question is 'Why this general election is happening?'.

- Theresa May became our Prime minister last summer after David Cameron resigned from his role and the conservative party members voted for the new leader of of the party to also therefore become leader. Therefore are current prime minister is technically un-elected by the public. Therefore people criticise her word and don't trust her. I sat down with my family in April to find watch our prime minister Theresa May's announcement. My first reaction was not great because it was clear that she chose to have the election now as her party is doing so well in the polls and the main competing parties aren't so she is confident enough that'll she win and they get the public's trust.  The term 'snap election' simply means an election that is taking place earlier than due, we normally have one every 5 years (the last being 2015). It also means the campaign will be snap, the parties usually have months and months to plan and campaign prior to an election, now we've had roughly three months. Another issue I have is how many times in countless interviews May claimed she would never throw a snap election, showing evidence of how she often U turns on decisions.

When and who?

This general election is due to happen on Thursday June 8th (all UK elections take place on Thursday's). Polling stations will be open from 7am - 10pm. You will receive a polling card in the post telling you the venue you should go to vote, these are never normally more than 5 mins away from where you live.

In the UK the voting age currently stands at 18 and you must register (I'm afraid the registration date has already passed though) although there is still time to register for a postal or proxy vote (when some else votes on your behalf)

How your vote works?

In the UK it works by a 'first past the post' system. This means that voting takes place by constituencies rather than nationally. You vote for your constituencies new MP (there is 650 constituencies in the UK), which then means that party has a seat in parliament and the election will be won by which ever party wins the most seats in parliament.
When you go to vote you ballot paper lists the members running as your Mp, with either their party logo next to their name or if they don't belong to a party it will say independent, you then cross the box next to the member you want and place the paper in a box, it is all confidential.

Why you should vote?

As I said it is actually too late to register to vote. I just want to enforce that in the UK it is your choice to vote however it is a privileged right that we are lucky to have and should take advantage off. It is a valid point that if you don't vote you can't then moan about the results, your vote really does count.
Young people (18-24) are currently the worst offenders for not voting which really saddens me as it is our future we can change.

Now the big question, who to vote for?

Despite what some people would like to believe in the UK we have two main contenders, the conservative party and the labour party. I think its very unlikely that aside from another coalition (when more than one political party is joined in power)  government any other party will be in power this time. I'm going to talk through these two parties and touch on the values of the other main UK parties. However not every consistency will have someone running from each party. There are very traditional views that the 'torries are for the rich and labour for the working class' and to some extent this is no longer completely true, the party you vote for should no longer just be decided on by your class / where you live.


Image result for conservative logo

The conservative party are currently in government, with Theresa May as our Prime Minister, Phillip Hammond as Chancellor. They have been in power since 2010 (although first five years was in a coalition with the liberal democrat party). This is a centre right wing party. The traditional main focuses for the conservatives are support for free market capitalism, a strong national defence and regulation on trade unions. Some of the key policies that they have announced in the run up to this election include their ideals to continue bringing back grammar schools, getting rid of the current ban on fox hunting, lower immigration levels, increase funding for the NHS, the 'dementia tax' , the free school meals will be scrapped and replaced with free breakfasts. They also say the commitment to raise the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 by 2020 will stay. 
Some other things to note is how May has refused to attend any live TV debates with the other party leaders, and her go to way for describing anything now is 'Strong and Stable' (even her childhood was described in this manner during her interview on The one show). Looking at Brexit, May has already triggered article 50 (which is basically the formal side of starting the process of leaving the EU) meaning we have two years to negotiate how we want to leave, the torries want to pursue a 'hard brexit' which would include giving up access to the single market and gaining full control over our immigration boarders. 


Image result for labour logo

The labour party are the main centre left party in the UK. The Labour Party has been described as a big tent, encompassing a diversity of ideological trends from strongly socialist to moderately social democratic. They were last in government between 1997 and 2010 under Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown.  Currently under leadership from Jeremy Corbyn who has won landslide victories within his own party and receives crowds and crowds of support at the rallies however the mainstream media haven't always been a fan due to his nontraditional take for example in the 'scruffy' way he dresses. He has brought a huge amount of members to the labour party but at the same time lost some, a lot of people don't see him as "good leader", to the people unsure about Corbyn just remember you are not voting for you single person, you are voting for the policies, the whole government and leaders of ares such as education, environment Secretary etc so in all cases vote for the party not just the leader of that party. 
Now onto some of their key policies for this election. - Investing 500 billion into industry and connection such as transport (plans to re-nationalise the train lines) and broadband. 
- Ending any privatisation plans towards the NHS and keep funding the NHS (remember the NHS was founded by the Labour party so who else is better to support it) 
- Cutting tuition fees which we last trebled by the Conservative Lib dem government. 
- Aims to create a fairer society by increasing the tax slightly more for those earning over £80,000 making a society "For the many not the few" 
- Labour also plan to enforce human rights and supporting all minority groups further. 
On brexit, Labour were mostly campaigning for remain but accept the democratic vote of this country and hope to carry out a 'soft brexit' which secures the safety of current EU members living in this country, workers rights and our place in the single market. 

Some useful links on the labour party Labour webiste, BBC guide to the party, Voters support Corbyn's manifesto  and a guide to the manifesto

Here are a few visuals to compare the torries and labour. 

First looking at the national debt the parties can cause. 
Image result for corbyn vs may voting history

This second image takes a look at both party leaders voting records in parliament. 

Liberal democrats 
Their current leader is Tim Farron and they were previously in a coalition government between 2010-2015 with the conservatives. The ideologies of the liberal democrats is based liberal ideas such as changing our electoral system, decriminalising drugs and in favour of reforming traditional British institutions. 
They say they are the only party keeping Britain forward thinking, green and intend to fight injustice.They also plan on ending the expansion of grammar schools, investing in the NHS and also want to legalise cannabis.
They are pro European union and plan to hold a second referendum on the terms we want to leave on.
There has been a lot of talk around tactical voting to get the torries out so if you leave in a torry constituency but lib dem came second in the last election people suggest voting for the lib dems as a way to get the torries out however this might not necessarily work. 

The green party. 

Image result for green party

The green party is currently run by both Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley who run it together as  a job share. 
The greens aim to prioritise climate change, stop running schools as businesses (eg scrapping tuition fees) and also to protect the NHS. Like labour they also aim to re-balance to wealth and end austerity. Caroline Lucas has expressed desire for a second EU referendum. 
The green party website, Manifesto at a glance, and Lib dems wont stand in Brighton to help Caroline Lucas stay on as MP. 

There are three more parties who I have not mentioned yet that is the SNP (Scottish national party) currently run by Nicola Sturgeon and their main aim is to host a second referendum to leave the United kingdom and become independent from UK. Next we have Plaid cymru who is lead by Leanne Wood and is fighting to get Wales' voice heard. However if they got in to power in Wales (Wales is currently Labour) a lot of the decisions made would effect the whole country. Finally we have UKIP who are currently lead by Paul Nuttall who's policies are focusing on our security for example the banning of face coverings and they believes everyone should follow our law therefore sharia law would be banned.  

Finally I have a few more links on articles for further reading, some quizzes to help you find out which parties you agree with most and more. 
- Who shall I vote for? 

- 2017 election Quiz 

- Why young people should vote 

- GE 2017 policy tracker 

- The political compass  / a quiz not specific to UK parties or this election by is really useful as it tells you your political leaning. 

- I would also recommend following Owen Jones on social media / Youtube and Jonathan Pie. This is also a YouTube video I found very useful on the best ways to stay informed.

Thank you so much for reading this far and I hope you found it somewhat useful. In summary I'd recommend looking at the polices (not just the leaders) and doing a few quizzes, deciding which party you support then looking at your constituency and who is most likely to get in. If you have any questions please comment or find me on twitter @afashionoddity. 

Love Charlotte

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