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 Conservatory 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

United States of Trump.

Against polls, the media, the voices of celebrities and even members of his own party, Donald Trump has become President-elect of the United States of America. Why did almost nobody predict what happened?

This year has proven that political scientists and analysts have become part of a different kind of congregation, one whose divinity is embodied by polls and mega data. Brexit, the Colombian peace treaty, and now the results of “the leader of the free world”‘s election.

There must be something that we are failing to see or comprehend about today’s society. If the elder portion of the population decides the future of younger generations, then the road towards fairness and equality becomes much more strenuous. Furthermore, it is possible that a feeling of uncertainty and complete fear of what is to come in the near future has blinded the people who hold on to whatever makes them feel somewhat safe. However, it is clear that said feelings are not constrained by national borders as Europe witnesses the rise of Mme Le Pen and Alternative for Germany at the expense (or as a result) of the ever-decreasing popularity of the heads of State.

In regards to last Tuesday’s election, the result does not only affect Americans, but the entire world. The international scene remains unchanged for the time being but it is highly unlikely the fragile balance will last much longer. Despite the fact that Donald Trump’s campaign has been full of sexism, homophobia, xenofobia and overall discrimination, it is likely that the purpose was only to say what the people wanted to hear and therefore, his government will not stick to every promise that has been made. Although he will be pressured by society, it is still unclear what will happen with the Republican majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Moreover, his Chief of Staff, most probably Stephen K. Bannon, will be a key figure during the next four years.

Summing up, I believe that Trump is just a character built to get to the White House and that his team will hold most of the power. It is still probable that Donald will not be as manageable as they might think and then the world will be hanging off a cliff.

 

 

Photo credit: Pete Souza

Life in this world.

A flaky cease-fire, the threat of an incompetent President in the epicenter of capitalism, nuclear testing, religious extremism, millions of people far from home, bombings, human trafficking, brexit, peace traties with guerrillas, melting ice caps, activists, hackers, international organizations, and intelligence agencies. 

We live in a world that is full. We have so much that we resort to throwing away what we’ve got in order to buy new things. Life comes wrapped in dollar bills. We exist solely on the opinion of those around us but mostly of those on social media who we don’t even know. 

People in power play Russian roulette and fight their private battles, but the ones who pay the price are always the people. We have pushed ourselves to the edge, we are to blame for the resurface of xenophobic conservatism as well as terrorism, for the opulence of the rich and the misery of the poor, for the extinction of species and climate change. 

Humanity is (not so) slowly murdering itself. I don’t want to see the end, I don’t wish to bring a new human to life if what I leave behind me is mere destruction. My words have already been said, my thoughts already thought, but my life is yet to be lived. 

I pledge guilty in the name of the world’s population and all I will ever want is to make this home a little sweeter for you, me and those to come.