The extreme complexity surrounding the result of the recent General Election is not really a place I want to visit. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour shocked the very core of the establishment, as a hung Parliament has led Theresa May crawling on hands and knees, trying to scrape a coalition with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Union Party. The very proposal is riddled with hypocrisy, contradiction, and incredible controversy. You have political experts who can inform you of such questionable matters, but I’d like to focus on the positives of the 2017 General Election.
First and foremost, the most colossal success has to be the incredible rallying from the young people of this country. It’s been estimated that 72% of people between the ages of 18-24 turned out to the polls to have their voices heard. Compare this with the last 3 general elections, 2001, 2005, 2010, where it’s reported the turn out was around the 40% mark, and you can’t deny that for the first time our younger generations want their voices heard.
So what sparked the revolution? Why have young people suddenly gained such a huge political voice? The fallout from last summers European Referendum may have played a part. There was very much a feeling that older generations had the larger say over “Brexit”, but to be fair this is only because they could be bothered to actually vote. This wasn’t the case this time however, as young people rolled their sleeves up and descended in their droves on the UK polling stations.
I asked Victoria Carlin, a 22-year-old student from Liverpool, what drove her to the polls.
Have you voted before?
Yeah, I’ve voted previously in general elections, and also the European Referendum.
Why are you voting in this general election?
I would never let the opportunity to exercise my right to pass me by. This election felt a lot more important, as I could see Jeremy Corbyn’s struggle with both the media, and lack of support in his party. I felt this was an oppurtunity to give him my unwavering support and get a party in charge that works for me personally, the people I love, and for the country as a whole.
Why do you think young people had such an impact on this election?
I think young people may have had a point to prove after Brexit, where I feel that older generations have previously had larger voting numbers, and end up voting for governments and policies which are really going to impact us for years to come. I think young peopole also had such an impact because we’ve finally found a politician that we can trust, and relate too, and one that actually cares about us. Jeremy Corbyn got me more passionate regarding politics. I feel he cares, wants to change the current system, and is honestly only looking out for the many, as opposed to the few.
I don’t really want to exert my own political preferences in this piece, as it’s something that I’ve been far too vocal about in recent times. But for me another positive is the way that an extremely controlling, Murdoch run media was dismissed. The front pages of publications of the likes of The Sun, and the Daily Mail were shambolic, as Jeremy Corbyn was subject to a colossal smear campaign throughout the entire campaign. The establishment has always used the media as a tool to, for want of a better word, brainwash the electorate. It’s no coincidence that Rupert Murdoch, the Australian media Moghul, has backed the victor of every general election since 1979. The media plays it’s part remarkably, in herding everyday people in to the political pen of their choice, that suits them best.
Journalism should be informative, engaging, fair, and accurate. Journalism should not be poisoned by the vested interests of a few. This election has proved that despite the slander Corbyn was subjected too, he was still immensely popular. The projected landslide for Theresa May failed to materialize, and a huge reason for this was the people refusing to allow a staple diet of sensationalism and fake news to influence their democratic decisions. The rise of social media has injected fresh blood into the decaying carcass known as journalism, as people can voice opinion and intake content instantaneously. Hopefully off the back of this we see a shift in attitudes, and although a free press is something this country has been built on, a little regulation would be healthy to ensure both sides of a story are told.
For me personally, this was a huge success of the 2017 election.
So where do we go from here? Another uncertain future for our government. Promises being made, dogfights amongst parties, scrambles to form a government that can sanction Brexit.
It’s great this democracy though, isn’t it.