Up until the election, two days ago, I’d become so tired of politics. I mean, I studied it for three years so you can understand me wanting to take a little break, but it was more than that. I’ve always been an optimist, and yet I was really struggling to keep my faith that something good would happen in politics eventually. Two years ago, I saw the left washed out in favour of a right-wing austerity agenda. Then I saw Labour tear itself apart and repeatedly attempt to destroy Jeremy Corbyn, a man who convinced me to join the Labour party again. Then there was Brexit. Then there was Trump. Then this snap election was announced, and I was just so fed up. Normally, I love talking about Politics. I’m that girl at the house party, who at 3am will be screeching to you that gender is a construct and we need to burn the establishment to the ground. I’ll probably try and make you read The Communist Manifesto as well. But recently, my fight had waned. Well, now it’s back baby, and I have hope again. God, it feels good.
Now, I’m going to give this a quick run down, of why I feel so hopeful, because I’ve seen so many people saying ‘Oh but Theresa May is still prime minister’ and ‘The left are so delusional they’re celebrating a loss as a victory’ and ‘Are you pleased with yourselves? Now the DUP have more power’, amongst other stupid things which don’t stand up to scrutiny.
- Corbyn increased Labour’s vote share by the biggest amount since Attlee. We won 30 seats after losing 26 in 2015. Now, you’d be right to say oh but the Tories got more seats. I’m not arguing with that, but in 2015 we were completely washed out. We were 100 seats behind the Tories. It was about climbing back from that crippling defeat and getting rid of May’s majority. Now, Labour are back in a strong position and when there is inevitably another snap election, we stand a bloody good chance of winning.
- The power of Murdoch’s Media, the Mail and the other tabloids has been shown to be diminished. I know I probably shouldn’t be saying this, as someone who wants to go into journalism, but nothing makes me happier than pissing Murdoch off. They ran a vicious smear campaign against Corbyn, lied about him on a daily basis, and 41% of the electorate weren’t fooled by it. It’s a great day when the electorate are smart enough not to let themselves be lied to by the media.
- Corbyn and Diane Abbott increased their majorities in their constituencies. Diane Abbott has been through hell this election, there was a barrage of racist and sexist attacks against her and her constituency had her back, because she’s bloody good at being an MP. If you have a sec, read Jack Monroe’s twitter thread on Diane Abbott. She’s an incredible lady.
- Labour took seats they’d never had before. Canterbury hasn’t been anything but Tory for 100 years and they went Labour. By a tiny, tiny margin, Kensington went Labour. And even in other Tory strongholds the swing to Labour was unprecedented. I still don’t hold out much hope that my town, Sevenoaks will ever be anything other than Tory but it shows it’s possible. Also, last election in Sevenoaks, the collective vote share of the Greens, Labour and the Lib Dems was just over 20%. This year, Labour managed 20% all by themselves, which if you know anything about Sevenoaks, is cause for celebration.
- The Conservatives lost an election, that they didn’t need to have, because they thought they couldn’t lose. May could have had a majority until 2020, if she hadn’t been greedy. This means that all the Tories are now fuming with May. She’s been shown to be a weak leader, afraid of debate, who can’t socialise with ordinary members of the public. However, what are they going to do, have another leadership contest? That would look even more weak and wobbly so she will likely have to stay PM, in charge of a party who hate her nearly as much as the opposition does. That doesn’t make for strong and stable government.
- 72% of young people voted. What a statistic. I’m so proud of us. It’s worth pointing out, that when the next election happens, there will be more young people able to vote than there are now, (those 16 and 17 year olds who have been watching this time around) and young people traditionally vote Labour so we’ll have even more support.
- There were more female, more LGBTQ and more disabled MPs elected than ever before. Parliament still has a long way to go before it is truly representative of this country, but this was an amazingly positive result.
So there’s a lot to be cheerful about. Yes, I am worried about the influence of the DUP. However, I think it’s worth pointing out, that even with the DUP’s support May’s majority is 2. That’s pitiful. It’s also worth pointing out, that the DUP have been being terrible in Northern Ireland for years, and they’ve been ignored. We’ve been consistently letting women and the LGBTQ community in Northern Ireland down by not listening to them about the DUP. Perhaps now there will be less focus on England, and more thought to the whole of the UK. I also don’t think this alliance will last for long. The DUP’s record is so terrible it will surely alienate a lot of centre-Tory voters. Aligning with them seems like electoral suicide to me. Hardly anyone young or with socially liberal views is going to be able to support the Tories now.
Also, I’m going to encourage you to sign a petition against the DUP and write to your MP. Young people, we did amazingly at the ballot box, but we have to continue to be politically engaged now. It really doesn’t take long, and it can make a big difference if we all act.
We’ve a lot to be happy and hopeful about. But let’s keep the momentum going. And when that next snap election comes, let’s make sure Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister. What an exciting future that would be.