Let me begin this post by acknowledging that I, a Grade 10 Mulgrave student, have no in-depth knowledge of the United Kingdom’s politics other that some oddly specific knowledge on Brexit (kudos to Social Studies). I am also a politically biased individual with little ties to the United Kingdom other than a Grade 2 visit to London (from which I retained no more memories other than ridiculously overpriced Chinese food, violent geese and a pretty river). However, as the “senior politics columnist” of the Mulgrave Gazette, I feel the indescribable urge to write a post on this crucial event; therefore, below are my recaps and reactions to the UK Election as I follow its progress hour-by-hour.
(An oversimplifying synopsis of the major parties in the UK:
Conservatives/Tories: traditional right-wing/centre-right party, incumbent government
Labour: traditional left-wing/centre-left party, last PM was unpopular moderate Tony Blair, current leader Jeremy Corbyn more hardline and controversial
SNP, Plaid Cymru and Sinn Fein: separatist & nationalist parties supporting Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish independence respectively; SNP currently holding vast majority in Scottish parliament and is likely to align with Labour
Lib Dems: centrist/slightly centre-left party with sporadic support; ideologically closer to Labour, alliance possible
DUP: Unionist/anti-separation party in Northern Ireland; aligning with Conservatives
UKIP: right-wing Euroskeptic party advocating mainly for Brexit)
18:00 I opened the Guardian’s seat tracker and was surprised to learn that Conservatives, the projected winner of the snap election, is not leading. Instead, Labour is currently the party with the most projected seats, which, if my recollections of Jeremy Corbyn are accurate, speaks to how depressing the choices are. SNP losing seats in Scotland showing dissatisfaction with Nicola Sturgeon and unionist sentiment? Sinn Fein has a seat in Northern Ireland. Apparently no one votes for the Lib Dems.
19:00 SNP is bleeding seats all across Scotland, and the country in general is overpoweringly red. Labour has an 18-seat gain right now; quite surprising considering that exit polls suggested that Conservatives will remain the biggest party in the UK Parliament. (The possibility of another Brexit referendum? We’re way too ahead of ourselves…) 2 minutes ago Jeremy Corbyn called on Theresa May to resign, which may well be the case by the end of the night but will probably not happen in the next hour; I personally do not see her as someone who will give up ahead of the actual end. Here’s to the strong-and-stable mandate that never was (touts glass of water to computer screen)…
19:30 Northeast, northwest and Wales are all covered in Labour red. Northern Ireland is faithful to its own parties (Democratic Unionist Party aka. DUP and Sinn Fein… seems that their one major issue is still separation?) as well as electing one Independent, while Scotland seems on the verge of abandoning SNP. The Lib Dems have 5 seats, including the city of Bath. Plaid Cymru (Wales’ own Sinn Fein/SNP) has 3 seats. Labour has 13 more seats than Cons. And of course, Theresa May said stability again.
20:00 So far no UKIP MPs. Labour has a shocking 23-seat gain, while SNP and the Conservatives bleed; Nicola Sturgeon attempts to brand this result a victory. Theresa Dismay? Very likely, but we’ll see. Currently listening to the UK’s submission to Eurovision 2017 (Never Give Up On You by Lucie Jones) on repeat to set the mood.
20:30 Tables have turned; Conservatives now surpass Labour by 10 seats due to a surge of seats from strongholds in England. It seems that Labour’s success in the Yorks could not stall Tory territory. 28 seats till Conservatives officially lose majority. The big question: will Theresa May resign? Can her temperaments work with a minority parliament lacking in confidence? Will Britain get *gasp* Boris???
BBC Updated forecast: Tories 318, Labour 267, SNP 32, Lib Dems 11. Turnout at slightly less than 70%; decent-ish (any young current/future voters reading: VOTE. Young voter turnout in the last Canadian federal election was 57%…)
21:00 Conservatives a few dozen seats ahead of Labour, and senior members of the party are subtly hinting at resignation for May. Quick note on Sinn Fein: as a somewhat hardline separatist party they are boycotting Westminster, meaning that the 7 Sinn Fein MPs elected in Northern Ireland won’t actually sit in the UK Parliament. In terms of forming the next government, with Theresa May unlikely to cling to majority it very well may be up to Lib Dems and the NI DUPs (reminiscent of the recent BC election?). A common sentiment is that the Conservative campaign had been rather “dreadful”; perhaps it’s May’s lack of charisma, perhaps it was the general direction, perhaps it was last-minute policy changes… We’ll see. On the other side of the aisle, prominent Labour figures, many previously unsupportive of Corbyn, are coming together to vocalize their support for the divisive political figure, a sharp contrast to the Conservatives’ lack of confidence and doubt in May.
21:30 192 female MPs have been elected, a record high for the UK Parliament and already surpassing last year’s 191 with the night not even over. 4 more seats till Conservatives lose majority. Theresa May is addressing staff and giving thanks; meanwhile, the seatless UK Greens troll Conservatives on Twitter.
22:30 Conservatives 50 votes ahead of Labour, and officially loses majority. The United Kingdom is now officially on course for a hung parliament, where no party holds majority. The future of Brexit is uncertain. Greens get one seat, and SNP holds Fife North East with only 2 votes. Tories lost a litany of ministers and Theresa May is under heavier fire by the moment; most Conservatives criticize the focus on personality and cult mentality during the campaign and accuse May’s advisors of an utter failure.
23:00 Well well well, what a night… To quote Tory MP Nigel Evans, “we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot, we shot ourselves in the head.” Indeed, tonight was a triumph for Labour (and to a lesser extent DUP, Greens, Lib Dems and Sinn Fein), but the Conservatives truly took an undue risk with the snap election despite gains in Scotland at the cost of the SNP. Now that Theresa May has lost confidence, what will this mean for Brexit? Will we actually get PM Johnson if May resigns, or can Labour form a big enough coalition? Let’s wait until the morning. Stay tuned for a possible future original article on the prospects of Brexit in light of the election!