Is another UK general election a good idea?

Written by Comment

Like a broken record, on 28 October the EU agreed to Boris Johnson’s request for an extension on Brexit negotiations, granting what they have called a “flextension”. Thus, the UK has until 31 January to get a deal, and get out.

However, as if UK politics hasn’t been unstable enough over the past few years, the PM has now called for another general election to take place in December this year, the second in two years. Why? So that he can ensure and stabilise a Conservative Party majority in parliament and get his deal through, sounds familiar doesn’t it!

However, with the public’s trust in politicians decreasing, perpetuated by Boris’ betrayal of ensuring that the UK would leave the EU on the 31 October, declaring that he would “rather die in a ditch” than fail to do so, can a general election really be considered a good idea?

I would argue no. Not only does this seem a radical way to try to stabilise UK politics, but it is a risky one too. With the rise of previously ‘background’ parties such as the SNP, the Lib-Dems and the Brexit party, hundreds of seats across the country are now up for grabs. The winning party really can’t be predicted. This is a pattern forewarned to us in the 2017 election when the Conservative party unexpectedly lost their majority.

Furthermore, across the three elections that took place between 2010 and 2017, 49% of voters did not vote for the same party. This proves that party loyalty has been crushed over the past decade, highlighting the increasing political volatility and uncertainty in the UK.

Additionally, this general election is unlike others in that we are not just voting for who we believe has the skills and the drive to govern this country, but rather, we are voting for who we believe has the ability to govern Brexit also. This is not only a general election about UK politics, but one about EU politics too. So how does this influence how we vote? Voting becomes significantly reliant on where you stand on the Brexit division; leave or remain. This immediately alienates parties from certain members of society, widening the sense of division and hostility within the country.

has Brexit and now another general election merely become part of a power play among already powerful politicians

With this in mind, is it really a general election that the nation needs, or rather, do we need another referendum? A general election is often perceived as the epitome of democracy. However, if we cannot have another vote on our future relationship with the EU, particularly now that we know the truth of the situation, can this really be seen as democratic? Surely democracy covers the ability to change your mind also? And this sense of betrayal lies on both sides of the debate, not just those who voted leave. The nation’s trust in the politicians and the legitimacy of their intentions is dying, so general election aside, can any of them truly be seen to have the best intentions of the country at heart, or has Brexit and now another general election merely become part of a power play among already powerful politicians?

Kelly Corcoran

Whilst Johnson’s intends for this election to be a way to revive his failed Brexit plans this election provides a great deal of opportunity for the country even if it brings me great discomfort to agree with Johnson.

A lot has happened since 2017, there is a new prime minister, whom no one voted for, the composition of Parliament has changed and constituencies that voted for Labour or Conservative may have a Liberal Democrat or Independent MP.  These factors combined make the current Parliament out of date and unrepresentative, for example, former Labour MP Chuka Umunna has been in three different parties this year but is able to retain his seat. The logical solution to this is a general election which would provide a chance for popular control to play its part in democracy and give the government legitimacy.

Equally, for many, particularly students, this will be their first opportunity to vote and decide which path the country should go down at such a crucial moment, particularly those who are frustrated at not being able to have their say in the Brexit referendum in 2016.

The current parliament has failed to offer a solution to Brexit so it is only right we elect a new one

After numerous attempts, it is evident that the current parliament is unable to find a resolution to Brexit and its deadlock has become a national humiliation. If we have a general election a new government may be able to resolve Brexit, or failing that, there may be at least be more consensus among MPs as to what the path forward should be. If one thing is for certain, a general election cannot make the deadlock any worse than it already is. The current parliament has failed to offer a solution to Brexit so it is only right we elect a new one.

No matter what party you are going to vote for, see this general election as a chance to make the genuine and necessary change to a country whose current politicians are failing it.

Faye Navesey

Last modified: 13th November 2019

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