Before we get started, I just want to declare that I am in no way an expert on politics, nor have I studied it or do I completely understand it. These will be my views and how I see things this morning after the results have came in. I don’t understand a lot of the jargon used in the press or on TV, so hopefully this will help people, who like me, want to know what’s going on but can’t find someone to explain it properly.
Unless you live under a rock, you will know that yesterday the nation were able to cast a vote for who they wanted to be the leading party in the House of Commons (I keep starting to write Stormont – you’re not in Northern Ireland anymore, Orlagh) and ultimately, who they wanted to be Prime Minister of the UK.
If you were registered to vote, you could, and if you didn’t want to vote (like a number of crazy people) you could choose not to. You could also go to the polling station, draw all over your voting card (spoil it) and send it off to be counted (not that it would be), but the option was still there anyway.
Who was up for the job?
The main battle was between Theresa May of the Conservative Party and Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party.
This isn’t as easy as explaining Northern Ireland politics where you have Catholic parties and Protestant parties – the UK parties are open to everyone (which should also be the way Northern Ireland is run – we can only dream).
Theresa’s main policies included ‘being strong and stable in Brexit negotiations’ and bringing back fox-hunting. Oh, and she also wanted to take away free lunches for primary school children and fuel allowance for the elderly in the winter. Aka, she wanted to kill off the children and the elderly. But what Theresa kept badgering (or should I say ‘foxing’?) on about was Brexit and that we needed someone in power who would be able to negotiate the best.
Theresa also had plans for privatising the NHS, making you and me pay for every check-up, every scan, every prescription that comes our way. Think American health service, yeah, scary right?
Jeremy on the other hand was ‘for the many, not the few’. Corbyn led the best campaign trail Labour have seen in years, and turned this General Election on its head.
Theresa called the snap election, after many times proclaiming she would not be calling one, as she believed she would be able to win a majority without question. But Jeremy had other plans. Corbyn’s main followers are the youth of the nation and the working class – two segregations that Theresa was definitely not lobbying to.
Corbyn promised to abolish tuition fees, and dissolve any student debt already occurred – sweeping up the vote of every student in the nation (except those at Oxbridge perhaps, who are likely paying their own fees). But I, like a few others, had my suspicions. Yes, that’s amazing and would be a huge weight off my shoulders come graduation, but is it really possible? Can he really abolish millions, if not billions, of student loans and debt across the whole of the UK? I alone contribute £30,000 in tuition fees alone, not including maintenance loans. But Corbyn had all the figures down on paper, how he was going to budget everything, where the money was coming from and where the money was going. So of course, he had my vote.
Corbyn also promised to set higher taxes for the rich, increase minimum wage to £10 an hour, increase corporate tax and get rid of zero hour contracts. Corbyn was fighting for the working class and the younger generation of the UK, who feel that their voice is never heard and are ‘forgotten about’ when it comes to legislations in Parliament. The newspapers rallied against Corbyn, after all, his policies would badly effect them with higher taxes. The media may have been against him, but the people were with him.
Also, did you see the footage of Theresa May lobbying around houses and no one answering their doors? Compare that to the rallies that Jeremy Corbyn was hosting all over the UK, with thousands of people coming out to support him and what he was fighting for. Who would you call a better ‘leader of the people’?
I’m guessing you’ve seen ‘Hung Parliament’ all over the news this morning, but like many, have no idea what this actually means. ‘Majority’? ‘Coalition’? Can’t you just tell me who is Prime Minister and make things a whole lot easier??
At present, Theresa May will stay in place as Prime Minister and reside at 10 Downing Street until a new government is formed. ‘Hung Parliament’ means that no party has succeeded in gaining the majority number of seats.
But where does this majority figure come from?
Well, there are 650 total seats in parliament. To have a majority, and be the biggest party in the House of Commons you need to have over half of the seats. Half of 650 is 325, so in order to have the majority, the party needs to secure 326 seats.
At this moment in time, Conservatives have secured 318, eight seats short of a majority hold. Labour have 261 seats, sixty five seats short of a majority hold.
But what does this all mean??
If Theresa May can negotiate with other parties, and secure seats from them, then she could potentially make the majority number of 326. The DUP of Northern Ireland could hand over all of their ten seats to help Theresa win, but it is not likely that they would give that many. A way for Theresa to go back into power is through the dealing of seats, taking them from other smaller parties like UKIP, Lib-Dems, or the Green Party.
May could also try to form a coalition government. Yep, that’s a term I’m not too sure on either. What it generally means is: a party who share some of the same policies as Conservatives and who have a number of seats that could help Conservatives cross the majority line, will partner up and form a joint government. This has happened before with David Cameron and Nick Clegg when the Conservatives joined forces with the Lib-Dems in 2010, forming a Conservative-Lib-Dem government.
However, from what we are hearing this morning, the Lib-Dems don’t seem to be open to any negotiations. And poor Nick Clegg, former leader of the Liberal Democrats lost his seat, which seemed to be the biggest shock of the results.
The youth have spoken
Every young person that turned up and voted yesterday, pat yourself on the back. Figures show that 72% of people aged 18-24 voted yesterday, a record number. With most voting for Labour (remember what Corbyn said about tuition fees), the young people helped in taking down the Conservatives and stopping them from winning a majority in the House of Commons.
We have a voice, and only by using it, can it be heard.
Women in power
The best thing to come out of this General Election is that we now have a record number of women in Parliament. We elected more than 200 women into the House of Commons, surpassing the 191 women elected in 2015.
Women now hold around 30% of the seats, edging the UK forward to role equality. There is still a long way to go as this would put the UK in 46th place in the world for women representation in government. With leaders like Theresa May, Nicola Sturgeon, even fiery Arlene Foster in Northern Ireland (that was a crack at the RHI scandal, hope you caught that) are all women in very high and powerful positions. Some doing better jobs than others, however.
Now we just have to wait and see what happens. Corbyn has called for Theresa May to resign, although she’s having none of it. Corbyn has a good case, as the Conservative vote has dropped dramatically which shows limited confidence in Theresa May, where Labour’s numbers have soared.
If Theresa does resign, this would make way for Jeremy to come up with his own Government and present it to the House of Commons, which could see him drafted in as Prime Minister. Nothing is certain yet, but unless Theresa resigns, it looks like she will be in charge of the UK until the next election.
Brexit, here we come.