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  • Alice Saunders

'Use your voice against Mrs 'Strong and Stable'!'

It is unsurprising that our unelected PM, Theresa May, has gone against her repeated promises by calling a general election because she needs a larger majority to push through the hard Brexit she wants to devastate this country with. Interestingly, because of the snap election, the Cabinet Office will not be able to provide funding to groups focused on increasing the youth vote turnout. The 18-24 age group is the least likely to vote Conservative [1] and the group most affected by Brexit decisions; the Greens are also pushing for votes for 16-17-year-olds who are denied a say in an election whose outcome will affect this country for arguably the next 50 years. The Greens have been excluded from the stand-alone prime time pre-election interviews given to Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru and UKIP despite winning 40 seats in local elections, as opposed to UKIP’s measly defence of only one seat. This neglection of the Green party and their unfair representation within the media reflects both the inherent inequalities of the first past the post voting system and the ignorant attitudes towards climate change, demonstrated in the recent air pollution bill. The conservatives have utterly neglected to take any affirmative action to deal with the largest environmental threat to public health in the UK, for fears of losing votes by charging diesel vehicles. As the Tories cannot be trusted to preserve our nation’s health in the most basic way, further shown in their dangerous budget cuts to the NHS, how can they be trusted to handle negotiations with Europe that will indeterminably affect this country’s future? Due to the current unfair voting system, Theresa May’s party only has the vote of 24% of eligible voters [2], making it crucial for the public to turn to tactical voting to ensure the UK is not permanently damaged by another five years of Conservative government. Though Corbyn and Farron have rejected the idea of a progressive alliance, this is not a sign of weakness or ‘chaos’, but ensures that deals will occur on a local level where it will do the most good. This avoids the alliances appearing as an authoritarian decree and guarantees that collaboration and local knowledge are at the heart of the agreements which are only necessary due to the first past the post system. Labour may be adamant to field a candidate in every constituency, as an alliance goes against the rules of their party, but in such an important election, tradition cannot come before the need to prevent a conservative majority and they are being urged to reconsider their block on an alliance. The fact that in the last general election swapping votes with those in neighbouring constituencies online was even considered, let alone by thousands of people, screams about the injustice of our voting system which betrays the foundations of democracy. Though the alliance may seem contrived, it is crucial that we embrace a new form of politics in the pursuit of actually getting our voices heard and defeating unequal representation. Most opinion polls are predicting an overwhelming Conservative victory [3], but through the use of tactical voting and a cross-party alliance, we can overturn their majority and prevent a landslide Conservative triumph - though it is unfortunate and frustrating that we have to deploy this tactic in the first place. As ever, voting is vital if you wish to have a say in your future, this country’s future and the future of the planet which are inarguably all catastrophically under threat. Though your degree does matter, choosing who decides on whether the preservation of our only home gets relegated to the back benches or is valued as the pressing issue it is, comes first. We can predict that only around 42% of 18-24-year-olds will vote in the upcoming election, compared to 75% of the 65s and over. Use your voice and do not let Mrs Strong and Stable irreversibly and brutally damage our country by isolating the UK, starving the NHS of funds and continuing to perpetuate inequality.

Photo: Flickr, DonkeyHotey

[1] Kellner, Peter. ‘General election 2015: how Britain really voted.’ YouGov UK

[2] Bartley, Jonathan interviewed by Amy Southall ‘General election: 'Theresa May is panicking', says Green Party.’ talkradio

[3] Iannucci, Armando. ‘Can’t be bothered to vote? If you’re young, you simply can’t afford not to.’ The Guardian

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