A beginner’s guide to the General Election 2017

“But didn’t we have one of these 2 years ago?”

Why are we having another General Election?

The prime minister (Theresa May) wants a strong mandate in parliament, going into what are likely to be fraught negotiations with Europe over Britain’s exit from the EU.

Her Conservative party has a relatively slim majority in the House of Commons, won in 2015 under the previous leader David Cameron. But since that election the main opposition Labour party has collapsed in the polls, leaving her in a much stronger position and making an election win significantly more likely.

A victory in June would also hand her a very important personal mandate. Having taken over from Mr Cameron when he resigned mid-term, after losing the Brexit referendum, she has yet to win her own general election.

Do I really need to vote?

Yes, yes you do.

Considering a vast majority of our demographic on our site is 18-25 year olds, I’d like to take it upon myself to urge you all to vote.

In the 2015 General Election, only 43% of 18-25 year olds voted, a shocking contrast compared to the 78% of over 65’s voting.

This percentage may have risen in the EU Referendum vote, which shows around 64% of registered voters aged 18-24 went to polls. However, over 65’s still took the lead with 90% voting.

What does it mean for Brexit?

The Brexit vote sowed divisions through public and parliament, and part of the thinking behind this snap election will be to strengthen May’s hand at home before negotiations begin in earnest.

Britain has already triggered Article 50 – the formal starting gun on Brexit, and withdrawal from the EU is all but a certainty at this point.

The Labour party has said it supports the outcome of the Brexit referendum, and only the Liberal Democrat party has expressed a desire to overturn the vote.

But there has been disagreement in parliament over the terms of the exit, and an improved majority will give May more leverage and help to quell arguments among her own MPs.

Could us youngsters have done more to stop “Brexit?”

Only last week, I sat down with my work colleagues discussing the mess that is “Brexit” and whether anyone truly knew what “Brexit means Brexit” .. meant.

Whilst we were joking about our countries future (because isn’t it hilarious?) each of us were secretly pleased we weren’t America. I turned to my colleague, who is of a similar age to me at 21, “So you voted remain right?!” I joked. He laughed along and through the jokiness admitted he hadn’t actually voted.

I felt slightly annoyed, almost cheated. Did he have a right to join in? He hadn’t even voted?

Politics isn’t something that were generally taught at secondary school and it raised the question, is the 18-25 year olds voting statistics low because youngsters don’t care, or that they simply don’t know?

So for those who are keen to vote but don’t know what party wants what, here is a beginners guide to the 2017 General Election.

So please, vote.

Labour

The Labour Party’s most recent manifesto says that its “aim is to rebuild and transform Britain, for the many not the few.”

Mr Corbyn recently laid out 10 manifesto pledges, including full employment , a secure homes guarantee, stronger employment rights and an end to NHS privatisation.

Earlier this year, Labour’s Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer detailed six Brexit tests which give and indication of its position on the EU.

Mr Starmer said that Brexit must ensure “a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU”, deliver the “exact same benefits” as we currently have as members of the Single Market and Customs Union and ensure “the fair management of migration in the interests of the economy and communities”.

Lib Dems

Tim Farron has called the election “your chance to change the direction of our country”.

“If you want to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit. If you want to keep Britain in the single market. If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance,” he said.

“Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority.”

The Liberal Democrats have campaigned for a second EU referendum on the terms of the Brexit agreement, which Mr Farron says “is not about ‘blocking Brexit’, it’s about holding Theresa May to account.”

Conservatives

 Mrs May has said that the Conservative Party can offer Britain “strong and stable leadership in the national interest, with me as your Prime Minister”.

“Every vote for the Conservatives will make it harder for opposition politicians who want to stop me from getting the job done,” she said.

“Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the prime ministers, presidents and chancellors of the European Union.

“Every vote for the Conservatives means we can stick to our plan for a stronger Britain and take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future.”

May has set out a 12-point Brexit plan to build a “stronger, fairer, more global Britain” outside of the EU.

She has confirmed that she will take the UK out of the single market in order to regain control of Britain’s borders.

 SNP

Nicola Sturgeon has called on voters to “stand up for Scotland” ahead of the general election.

“The Tories see a chance to move the UK to the right, force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper cuts,” she said.

The First Minister has vehemently opposed Brexit, and has called for a second Scottish independence referendum.

Ms Sturgeon hopes to keep Scotland in the EU by striking a separate deal with Brussels

UKIP

Paul Nuttall has welcomed the snap election, saying: “Every vote for Ukip in this upcoming general election will be a reminder to the PM that the British people want a clean Brexit with restored borders.

“We welcome the general election, but make no mistake – it is driven by Labour’s obvious weakness, not the good of the country.”

Ukip’s demands for Brexit have included Britain taking back parliamentary sovereignty, resuming full control of immigration and asylum, and restoring full maritime sovereignty. Ukip also opposes Britain paying any final settlement bill to Brussel.

Green Party

The Green Party responded to Theresa May’s announcement of an early General Election. Caroline Lucas MP has promised a ‘bold, positive vision for a different kind of Britain’ while co-leader Jonathan Bartley said that the Green Party would give people a ‘real alternative to the politics of the past’.

Caroline Lucas said:

“Britain is at a crossroads – and today’s announcement means that people are rightly given a say over the direction this country is going to take. Only the Green Party offers a bold, positive vision for a different kind of Britain. At this election we will stand for an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few; a Britain that’s open to the world and the protection of our precious environment. We will stand up to the politics of hatred and division that is scarring our communities and give people across the country a chance to vote for a better Britain.”

Still not sure how to vote?

Take the test below to find out your party.

http://www.whoshallivotefor.com/

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One thought on “A beginner’s guide to the General Election 2017

  1. Really good summary Matilda. I had not appreciated how close Keir Starmers stance was to what we enjoy on Europe now. Good to see a heads up on all the manifestos though I confess that I skipped over the odious SNP and UKIP.

    Like

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