The bleak accuracy of the election poll sounded the death bell for four years of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership, the swift rise and fall of whoever Jo Swinson was and the sharp realisation that Brexit is going to flounder around under the hand of a man that hid in a fridge to avoid a journalist just days prior.
Everyone has their opinion on the outcome of the election, some are overjoyed at the drastic changes we’ll receive from a party that believes we deserve better, yet have been in power for a decade. Others will be remorseful, in mourning almost, about the dreams of a society funded by the taxes of the rich stopped in its tracks by working class towns clubbing together in the hopes of a swift end to the nightmare of Brexit.
Brexit is a dominating factor in British politics, and has been since its conception way back in 2016. The Conservatives were apparently keen to “get Brexit done”, so for the first two years they allowed Theresa May, an ardent remain supporter during the initial campaigning, to lead the party and therefore take charge of the Brexit discussions. Having a remain campaigner in charge of a leave vote is a bit like putting a baker in charge of performing keyhole surgery. Inevitably ousted by her own party, Former Mayor of London Boris de Pffefel Johnson took charge, elected over Dominic Raab, a man that has the consistent voting patterns of your typical Tory. Primed and prepped for an election, initial perceptions had Johnson pegged as an underdog. Presiding over a party that had leaped at the chance to maintain a tiny majority with a hard-right unionist Irish party, the Conservatives should’ve been in prime position to face the ultimate scrutiny test. The press.
Corbyn was given a rough run as Opposition leader, his entire leadership plagued by a biased media looking to hound him to the ends of the Earth. They seem to have finally succeeded, and an anguished look fell over the Islington North M.P. that starkly contrasted his vivid optimism just hours prior. Four years at the helm of a party so opposed to his liberalism, progressiveness and blatant disrespect for a political establishment that had done nothing to benefit the people he cared for, ended suddenly after an unpredictably weak turnout for Labour seats. Although he’ll be stepping down from his position as the leader of the Labour Party, Corbyn has held onto his seat and will presumably remain on the backbenches alongside John McDonnell.
It could be argued that the Conservative party have had quite the turnout, gaining themselves the majority needed to cram a Brexit deal through no matter how many people it’ll impact. The large boost in Tory seats and voting is, hopefully, down to how people are feeling on Brexit. As such a large focus of the campaign, Boris Johnson’s election strategy, was to repeat one soundbite over and over again. It worked. A campaign based on the principle of destroying unity with Europe and throwing those in need underneath a big red bus has effectively granted the Conservatives a free pass to continue austerity for the next five years.
A number of factors will have produced a strong Conservative government, ranging from “Get Brexit done” to “Remember when London strung up their mayor on a zipwire to celebrate the Olympics?”. Each of these factor in to a public persona of Boris Johnson as a fluffy, patriotic man that just wants to do right by his country. It’s a look that he has somehow managed to preserve through rigorous media training. His media training seemingly consisting of learning how to evade journalists and party wide debates, Johnson kept himself out of media scrutiny by appearing as little as he possibly could. Outside of his cheerily ominous Snapchat and Facebook presence, the Prime Minister hobbled his way around the North in a desperate plea to win essential Northern votes. He just about managed to do so.
The switch from Labour to Conservative in Northern seats like Bishop Auckland, Darlington and Sedgefield seemingly comes down to the complacency of Labour and a desire to leave the European Union. Presumably forgetting what happened to the North of England in the 1980s, voters flocked to the polling stations to vote for the party that had tanked their economy forty years ago. Labour strongholds were looking shaky before the election, and now complacent politicians that have clutched onto their seats for decades find themselves out in the cold. Helen Goodman, Jenny Chapman and Philip Wilson all came up short during this election period.
As far as the rest of the parties go, it was an equally as disturbing night for smaller British political parties. The Liberal Democrats seemingly performed well, losing only one seat. The issue there is that the seat lost was the seat of its now former leader, Jo Swinson. Swinson’s campaign was as effective as building a boat out of Papier-mâché, and held just about the same stability. Losing her seat to the surprise strength of Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, the Liberal Democrat party fall further back into obscurity. Maybe having Vince Cable as leader again will sort everything out. Maybe David Steel is still knocking about, chances are the Lib Dems will be giving him a call to see if he’d like his old position back.
What always adds a slight breather is the joke candidates. Last year the public outdid themselves by placing votes for a man dressed as a fish finger, rather than at the time Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron. The election saw the now traditional placement of Lord Buckethead (an intergalactic space Lord who seeks to bring back Ceefax) take on newcomer Count Binface. This light comedy interlude in what appeared to be an entire seasons worth of Black Mirror stretched over seven hours managed to spark little to no reaction from usually less downtrodden voters. Binface took the place of Boris Johnson in a recent constituency debate, where he essentially tried to bring a slight tinge of comedy to the bleak proceedings, like a clown at a state funeral.
Having a political election that will divide generations just before Christmas seems like a great idea because it gives us something to talk about while we pull the Christmas crackers. The yelling and fighting will now have a purpose; rather than just reliving dormant domestic strains, families around the country will now be able to yell at one another with some real political purpose.
It looks bleak, but then again when has politics not looked bleak? David Bowie once wrote a song called “Five Years”, and that’s how long we’ll have to wait before this incredibly hostile, right-wing government can be challenged again. Good song though, thought we’d leave it on a positive note. Can’t end it on the prospect of a Conservative majority led by a man that once said this of the working class; “If he is blue collar, he is likely to be drunk, criminal, aimless, feckless and hopeless, and perhaps claiming to suffer from low self-esteem brought on by unemployment”.
Your families, friends and colleagues could have voted for this man. Watch out, and Merry Christmas.