UK: General Election 2017

Last year and following Brexit, David Cameron resigned and Theresa May became Prime Minister with promises of not calling for an early election. However, two months ago she triggered Article 50 and by doing so, the UK’s withdrawal of the European Union began. Two weeks later, she dismissed her aforementioned promises and called for an early general election (3 years earlier than planned). Now, after the terror attack at Manchester Arena on May 22nd, yesterday’s BBC Question Time Leaders Live program, and the Champions League Final just won by Real Madrid in Cardiff, a rather traditional campaign is reaching its end. The British Labour and Conservative parties are, once again, at the top of the polls, followed far behind by the LibDems and Ukip. All aim to win the most of a total of 650 seats and therefore have control behind the black door numbered 10 on Downing Street.Each party has published their own manifesto since the campaign first began back on May 3rd. On the one hand, Tories plan to lower immigration, reduce taxes and increase funding of the National Health System as well as state-controlled schools. In regards to Scontland, Conservatives will only allow a referendum to take place once Brexit is resolved. On the other hand, the Labour Party, under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, pledged to reinstate public control of the energy industry, railways, buses and the Royal Mail besides their characteristic promises to boost workers’ rights. In addition, they do not plan to reduce immigration quotas and will try to pass a legislation to reduce voting age to 16. Moreover, the Liberal Democrat manifesto includes a plan to offer a second EU referendum which would include an option to remain in the European Union, environmentally focused measures (such as banning diesel cars sales), and introduce a proportional voting system. Finally, Paul Nuttall’s Ukip promised to establish a “one in, one out” immigration system as well as other anti-Islam measures besides cutting back the UK’s foreign aid budget.

Despite the overall distrust towards polls, I believe they should be taken into account. While mid-April averages showed a 43.2% for the Tories and only a 25.4% for the Labour Party (BBC tracker), the last polls prove Tories’ lead has narrowed with just five days left before voters head to polling stations all over Britain: 43.6% Conservative and 37.7% Labour, leaving both the LibDems and Ukip well below 10% (BBC).

Most likely, Mrs May will continue to be Prime Minister after June 8th,  Brexit negotiations will continue as planned and immigrants fleeing armed conflicts will be negatively affected. Perhaps, the British government will be Trump’s last standing ally even after the information leak which followed the Manchester attack and amid ongoing investigations about the American President’s ties to Russia. Nevertheless, the only way to see what happens is to let history play out, and hope that the British people keep in mind not only their future but also that of the rest of the world next Thursday.

IMAGE: The Telegraph


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