It’s been just over a week since we sat down as a nation, me with beer and takeaway in hand, to watch the election night coverage unfold. Just over a week since the clocks struck ten and we assembled our faces in a collective grimace, ready for the exit polls to confirm the inevitable Conservative majority – only to see the words ‘HUNG PARLIAMENT’ instead.
This was, for everyone, rather unexpected. I know I publicly declared my support for Labour prior to polling day, and had hoped to persuade a few undecided voters, but the outlook had still seemed pretty bleak. Then over the course of that night, things shifted considerably.
So, a week on, I want to share a few thoughts on what’s happened over these last few days, and what our political future looks like now.
1. Jeremy Corbyn has had an amazing campaign and is a beacon of hope for those of us who side with him. From ‘unelectable’ to a real leader, he now looks (to quote one of Owen Jones’ tweets) “every bit the Prime Minister in waiting”. He’s stood firm on his principles under scrutiny and has applied real pressure where he wants to enforce change, all while remaining polite and affable. THIS is the person I want negotiating for our country during these turbulent times.
2. I am incredibly proud of the movement I’ve been a part of and the result it has brought about.
There are quite a few voices that have been quick to remind us that we didn’t actually win the election (and I will point said people towards Abi Wilkinson’s article on why that doesn’t really matter so much). This is true, the Conservatives still gained more seats, but it certainly wasn’t the landslide victory that was predicted. Young voters, vastly disregarded and underestimated in the lead up to June 8th, stepped out en masse too, in one of the biggest turnouts to date.
There’s definite and palpable unrest in the air now – and this means we’re on the cusp of change. Those opposing us are trying to dampen our spirits because they’re worried. The fact that they are doubling down on contempt means that they know things aren’t quite so strong and stable anymore.
3. I think we should be appalled and concerned at the prospect of a Conservative & DUP deal. For me this shows just how desperate the Tories are to be in power, and I personally find it pretty despicable that the people who were last week hailing JC a ‘terrorist sympathiser’ are this week seemingly happy to jump into bed alongside a party with far more dangerous ideals. If you believe in women’s rights, gay rights, or in combatting climate change, then you’ll find these talks problematic to say the least.
4. Not so much a thought but a statement – I have officially joined the Labour party!
I figured it’s about time I really throw myself into this and try to make a difference (especially since membership is only £2 for those aged 20-26 and I’m rapidly approaching the 27 club). I’m not entirely sure what this will entail, or what I will/won’t be able to do in my community and beyond, but my membership pack is in the post so I’ll let you know in 7-10 days!
5. It is imperative that we do not lose momentum. This election has ignited a fire in the bellies of many, and we’ve proved just how much of a difference we can potentially make. But we mustn’t get complacent. Theresa May and the Conservatives had a disastrous campaign and a shoddy manifesto, but you can bet they’ll be better prepared next time. So we can’t take our foot off the pedal.
Don’t stop engaging, don’t stop speaking out, don’t stop standing up for what you believe in, regardless of those telling you you’re wrong, naive or ill-informed. Because if there’s to be another general election soon, we need to stay in campaign mode and push this through.