Quick And Dirty Facts About The UK Election That You Should Know (Even If You’re Not British)

There’s an election in the UK tomorrow. It doesn’t have the reality TV show drama of the 2016 US presidential election, or the straight-up fascist element of last month’s French elections (no, really), it’s still really important. At a time when the world is going through a lot of changes–from environmental woes, to terrorism, to geo-political beef–the leaders of countries matter, especially a country as major as the UK.

You’ve probably already seen a bunch of your favorite British celebrities or internet friends posting about it, but maybe you’re still not quite sure what’s at stake during this election, or why it’s such a big deal. Whether you’re British or not, it’s worth knowing why the UK general election matters. So here are some quick and dirty facts about the UK election that you need to know.

jeremy corbyn vs theresa may uk election 2017

Okay, who are the major contenders for the UK election?

The major players this election are Theresa May of the Conservative party and Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour party. Theresa May is the current prime minister who took over after the resignation of former prime minister, David Cameron, after his resignation post-Brexit.

Also running: Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party and Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats. But the Labour and conservative parties have the most representatives and are attracting this most attention, so we’re going to focus on them.

What positions define the Corbyn campaign?

Corbyn is leader of a very divided Labour party at the moment, but he hopes that dedication to working class Brits will help bring the party together. That’s why public spending and social reforms are going to be a major facet of the Labour campaign. For example, Corbyn and the Labour party plan to increase funding to the national health service (NHS) by 30 billion pounds, scrape university tuition fees, and increase the minimum wage.  They also hope to re-nationalize many public services like the railways and mail.

In response to terrorism, Corbyn plans to freeze weapons sales from the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations and suspicions that their government helps fund terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Unlike the conservative party, Labour isn’t seeking a reduction in immigration to the United Kingdom. They’re definitely seen as a more pro-immigration party than the conservatives.

You can read the Labour party’s manifesto here.

 

What positions define the May campaign?

The conservatives–with the most representatives in parliament and a prime minister–have the most political power at the moment, and have for years. Needless to say, they intend to keep it that way. May hopes her party will raise minimum wage, increase funding to social care initiatives like mental health, and keep taxes low. The NHS will receive an extra eight billion pounds of funding every year under the conservative plan.

Immigration is an important issue for the conservatives, especially since it was at the center of Brexit. The conservatives hope to reduce the number of immigrants who enter the UK and tighten immigration standards, making it harder for unskilled migrants to settle in the country.

May has also proposed enforcing heavier restrictions on online content particularly regarding extremist material; she doubled down on this proposal in the wake of the Manchester and London terrorist attacks due to fears that online propaganda inspired these and other attacks.

You can read the Conservative party’s manifesto here.

Which candidate are younger voters going for?

Corbyn, big time. Over 63 percent of prospective young voters are voting Labour in the 2017 election. It’s not surprising, given the fact that young people are more receptive to left-of-center politics. The Corbyn camp have seen a lot of support among young actors and actresses, musicians, and influencers. I mean, there a #Grime4Corbyn hashtag trended. (Grime is a hip-hop inspired genre that originated in the UK).

 

Trust, ask the average 18-25 year old who they’re voting for, and chances are…it’s Labour! Polls show that the results of the election could depend on youth turnout. Young people are a petty unreliable voting block, but if the youth turns out, the election results could be really surprising.

 

Do we have a good idea of who is going to win yet?

If you asked this question, like, a month ago, it looked like it was nearly impossible for Labour to win this election. But in the past few weeks, especially after the release of each party’s manifesto, Labour has received a big bounce. When the election was first called, the Conservative party had a 16 point lead over Labour. Now? Labour is merely three points behind in according to most polling averages.

While there’s still a pretty firm chance that the Conservatives will win the election, Labour definitely has a chance for a surprise win, especially if the youth vote makes waves. There’s also a chance of a hung parliament.

WTF is a hung parliament? Okay, here’s the quick and dirty: A hung parliament occurs when no one party has an absolute majority of seats in parliament. When this happens, coalitions are built between two parties so that they create a majority and have the most power. A poll conducted by YouGov predicts that the Conservative party might be 24 seats short of an outright majority, but we’ll have to wait and see…

 

What are elections in the UK like?

They’re like this:

Can I vote?

If you’re a British citizen who is 18 or older and are registered to vote, you can vote.

 

Er, when is the election again?

It’s tomorrow, sis.

 

Please, vote if you can, guys! Have a say in your democracy. This is just one way to make your voice heard, so why not participate and vote for who you’d prefer to run your country?

 

 

Who do you want to win the UK general election? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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