Today on April 18th at 11am, Prime Minister Theresa May interrupted the BBC One broadcasting with an announcement. In her message, May declared that she is calling for a General Election on June 8th.
Due to May becoming Prime Minister as a result of a vote within her party after David Cameron stepped down, rather than by General Election, her legitimacy is questionable as the public did not put her in her position. As May campaigned against Brexit, her ability to make a success of it is also questionable. May, in her statement, placed the blame elsewhere, saying “Divisions in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit.”
Initially, the Prime Minister opposed having another general election before 2020, but has appeared to have changed positions on the matter in order to “guarantee certainty and stability” as Brexit begins.
May urges the public to elect her, saying that her government has delivered nothing but strong leadership. Her opposition, leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn is in disagreement. He says he “Welcomes the opportunity” in his response and describes a “failed economic agenda” from May’s government, claiming that we still have “massive inequalities between the very rich minority and, sadly, too many people living in desperate poverty”.
This election means that a whole new generation of voters, who thought they wouldn’t be able to vote until 2020, will now have to become politically engaged. Turnouts in UK elections have been notoriously low, the previous general election only having a turnout of 66.1%. However, as a new wave of young people can now vote, an increased turnout can be predicted as youth involvement has proved such, as was seen in the Scottish independence referendum, which produced a turnout of 84.6%. Such a high turnout can be attributed to the lowering of the voting age to 16. The result can also be attributed to younger voters, as 72% of 16-17 year olds voted yes in their referendum.
It is the same generation of young people who will be voting on June 8th, and by this we will be able to gauge the zeitgeist of our future. A large amount of support has been shown for the Labour Party on behalf of young people, with a movement called “Momentum” to support Corbyn that has a large youth membership. However, Corbyn’s far-left tendencies has had him named ‘unelectable’ by members of his own party , which could have damaged his chances in this election. The UK is still hesitant to elect Labour, after the failures of Gordon Brown’s government. Do they have a chance to take it back from the Tories? Find out on June 8th as we all wake up with a sense of dread for the results as always.