There’s a hidden truth behind the snap election – we must be suspicious | Liam O’Dell

After nearly three weeks since the triggering of Article 50, the Tories have finally spat out the Brexit pill which no party wants to swallow. A snap election on June 8 will continue to create more uncertainty that Theresa May promised to end.

Photo: Number 10 on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/.

“At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division.

“The country is coming together, but Westminster is not,” the Prime Minister said in a speech earlier today.

We must be suspicious. An arrogant Conservative Party determined to defy the rulings of judges and Lords to pass the Brexit Bill has once again resorted to Cameron’s levels of cowardice. Voters will remember that, but they must question the true reason for calling the election.

The immediate presumption would be that it is an attempt to decimate Labour, but that is questionable. It seems too great a risk for May to sacrifice the Tory majority (and a supposed lack of opposition on Brexit from Corbyn) to ‘kill’ the left-wing party. If the PM expects to win back a majority in June, then she is forgetting that a general election has become more than a Labour vs. Conservative battle.

A call for a snap election is – of course – a gamble, and it’s one May appears to have taken due to the disunity in other parties (according to her speech, at least).

With Labour’s in-fighting continuing to bubble every once in a while, the SNP tackling their own referendum and the Lib Dem’s membership slowly rising, it seems as though May is aiming for a wipeout whilst building upon her majority. But when has disunity within other parties ever hindered the Tories’ Brexit plans? If anything, it’s almost given May a ‘carte blanche’ to do her thing without any real scrutiny.

It’s even more confusing when the Conservatives have always been arrogant and stubborn when enforcing policies. To gamble their majority for the sake of silencing other parties, or getting them to support their plan, seems unfathomable.

So what is the explanation for the snap election? My friend Jarrad Johnson raises an interesting point, saying on Twitter that “someone or something has forced May’s hands behind the scenes.”

It’s an interesting comment when we look back at the past. The last time we had a vote between the typical five-year period was, of course, the 2016 EU referendum. On that occasion, it was believed that this was to end the internal conflict within the Tory party about whether we should leave the European Union. Now, as we face another surprise election before the end of the usual five-year term, we have to consider whether the same arguments are occurring once more.

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As Labour and the Tories reach the edges of the political spectrum, the Lib Dems will rise | The Friday Article

Jeremy Corbyn will win the Labour leadership election, whilst Theresa May’s government will move to the right as it tries to deal with all the political baggage from Brexit. The EU referendum has accelerated the main parties’ move towards the far ends of the political spectrum. At a time where hatred against the establishment is brewing, the Conservatives will carefully enforce more right-wing policies. Meanwhile, Labour’s ‘unelectable’ position under Corbyn won’t appeal to the electorate. With that in mind, the Liberal Democrats will continue to rise as voters long for a middle ground.

May's cabinet will move to the right as they deal with Brexit, whilst Corbyn's Labour party will try to move to the far-left. The electorate will long for some middle ground. Licensed under Creative Commons - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode.
May’s cabinet will move to the right as they deal with Brexit, whilst Corbyn’s Labour party will try to move to the far-left. The electorate will long for some middle ground. Photo: Liberal Democrats on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode.

The Liberal Democrats have been blessed with a stress-free rebirth, free from the scrutiny of the right-wing press. Most people have presumed that the party is extinct, wiped out after the 2015 General Election, but under the fresh leadership of Tim Farron, the Lib Dems are making a comeback. Whilst young voters may resent their broken promise on tuition fees, those longing for a party to fulfil the need for left-wing policies may be tempted by the party which aims to “balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity”.

I’ve already talked about how the Liberal Democrats should have been at the forefront of the fight against tuition fees, and that would have been the best way for the party to heal the open wound left by Nick Clegg. Whilst that is something Lib Dems still continue to address, the Tories are still recovering from the internal war caused by Brexit, and Labour is trying to deal with the remaining issues of the Iraq War and the conflict within the Parliamentary Labour Party. When you look at it like this, the Liberal Democrats have less of a remnant to get rid of.

Whilst Tuesday’s poll puts the Conservatives at a 16-point lead ahead of Labour (with the Liberal Democrats on 8% of the vote), we must remember the times when the polls get it wrong, and the fact that May’s government will slowly start to introduce far-right policies which will feel out-of-place in a post-Brexit society.

Theresa May’s election as Prime Minister may have brought some temporary stability, but uncertainty still lingers amongst the general public. In-fights will only frustrate the electorate more. Now is the time for a united party, and the Liberal Democrats may be the party which fits the bill.

Liam

Why Tim Farron should lead the fight against the Conservatives’ plans for tuition fees | The Friday Article

Past mistakes are affecting parties on the political spectrum. Labour are worrying about the upcoming report from the Chilcot enquiry, whilst a flawed mayoral campaign by the Conservatives exposed hatred and racism in the party. Now, the Tories’ plans to further increase university tuition fees have reminded us all of a ghost which still haunts the Liberal Democrats Party, but this may be the chance for them to finally move on.

Tim Farron
Tim Farron should fight against the Tories’ plans for tuition fees, and rid the party of the mistrust caused by Nick Clegg. Photo: Liberal Democrats on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode.

After all, it was something the Lib Dems hoped would go with Nick Clegg following his resignation as leader of the party. For previous leaders involved in government, their broken promises and radical policies have always been assigned to them more than the political group they represent – take Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, for example. However, this didn’t happen for The Liberal Democrats. They lost 49 seats in last year’s general election, mistrust still lingers around them and the media – presuming the party is ‘non-existent’ – has focussed on Labour and the Conservatives’ internal affairs instead.

Granted, the Liberal Democrats talking about tuition fees would only be seen as prying open a wound which was doing its best to heal. Yet, that is precisely the point. The mistrust generated comes from broken promises on tuition fees, so why not start the process of winning the trust back by fighting against that exact policy?

At the moment, Labour’s petition has had over 195,000 signatures, but as the party who introduced university tuition fees in 1998, their impact with the petition could crumble should the Conservatives decide to bring up that fact. Meanwhile, the issue with the Liberal Democrats is slightly different and more understandable. Unlike Labour’s conscious decision to implement the fees, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats had to accept David Cameron’s plans to raise tuition fees, despite it not being their intention. It’s a small contrast, but it’s something the general public are accepting, slowly and reluctantly.

With Tim Farron as their new leader and success in this year’s local elections, the Liberal Democrats are on the rise with renewed passion and motivation, but they still have a way to go in winning back the public’s trust. Whilst the controversy over tuition fees has always somewhat restrained the Lib Dems since 2010, now, it may in fact set them free.

Liam