In the run up to the snap election, Pre-Qual will be giving a platform for young people to share their views and feelings about the upcoming vote, as we feel that the views and positions of young people are rarely shared or treated with the respect they deserve. We will be publishing a 300-400 word opinion piece from each of our members on this blog, every day in the run up to the election, as well as producing some short videos expressing our personal views on the election. So make sure you keep checking out our social media for more content! And if you’re a young person who wants their voice to be heard, get in touch! Below is Pre-Qual’s collective response to the snap election:
As everybody will be well aware by now, our Prime Minister, Theresa May, has done exactly what she promised she wouldn’t do and taken it upon herself to decide for her party, and the rest of the country, that June the 8th would be a spiffing day to hold a snap General Election. Given the state of the polls placing her 20 points ahead of Corbyn’s Labour at the time, a cynic might suggest that this sudden, screeching U-turn was little more than political gamesmanship, an attempt to remove any significant opposition to the Tories in Parliament. But we’re sure May would never do something so transparently self-interested…
Inevitably, social media and the traditional media have exploded with information about the election; polls, policy announcements and manifesto revelations, hilarious pictures of our Supreme Leader (sorry, Prime Minister) eating chips as though she were actually a real person rather than the inanimate hunk of wax chosen to house Margaret Thatcher’s last Horcrux, Jeremy Corbyn’s car driving over the foot of a BBC reporter as he was heading off to launch his grime career with Boy Better Know… the list goes on.
So, naturally, we thought we should throw our own spin on this snap election out into the deluge of opinion swamping our newsfeeds and newspaper columns.
Let’s be clear; Pre-Qual are a non-partisan organisation and we will not promote any particular party as the solution to the problem of inequality in our national and global community, since we simply don’t believe that the necessary change is being offered by any current party, or that the current political system is one which could even facilitate such change.
Let’s start with the Conservatives. This is a ruling party which has, in it’s 7 years as the largest party in the Commons, overseen rising levels of inequality, a national debt almost double what they inherited in 2010, a rising number of hate crimes against people of colour, the LGBTQ+ community and the disabled, and an ever increasing number of homeless on the streets; not to mention 30,000 deaths in 2015 alone linked directly to cuts in funding for the NHS and social care. The list of crimes perpetrated by the Conservative party against the ordinary people of this country are too numerous to list here without causing emotional desensitisation. It seems that Conservative Party policies can only be trusted to increase inequality, rather than reduce it.
The Liberal Democrats can’t hide either. Whisked into a Coalition government in 2010 based on a progressive platform which included a promise to abolish tuition fees, Nick Clegg and his crew promptly took their opportunity to assume government positions no Liberal Democrat could ever have imagined holding after previous elections, and set about teaming up with the Tories to launch attack after attack on ordinary working people and their families. Of course, the Lib Dems were all but wiped out in the 2015 General Election, taking just 8 seats, and deservedly so; but now, spearheaded by the homophobe who had a poster of Margaret Thatcher on his wall (Tim Farron), the “Liberal” Democrats are attempting to fashion themselves as the only “real” opposition (despite having only 8 seats), seeking to draw in “Remainers” with their stance on Brexit. We don’t think that the lies of the Liberal Democrats and the crimes of the Coalition they formed with the Conservatives should be so quickly forgotten; and that on their previous record, they certainly cannot be trusted to take steps to reduce the problem of inequality in our society.
What of Labour? This is another party which has sought to rehabilitate itself, this time following the disastrous fallout of the Blair/Brown years. It appears to have gone back towards a more traditional social democracy than the (mainly neo-liberal) politics of New Labour, in an effort to recapture the “core” vote which deserted the party during the New Labour years. This rehabilitation is perhaps the most interesting, because it is a rehabilitation which is happening from below, as citizens themselves become active in directly demanding the kind of government they want to run their country. So, it is difficult to judge the Labour party on its former failings when it is attempting to make such a fresh start; this is very much a political experiment, and time will tell if this sort of mass democratic, party of the people can be achieved within the often archaic structures of the Labour party, or if the model might work best in a new project. It certainly seems as though many members of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the National Executive Committee are vehemently opposed to this transformation of the party, as is illustrated by the incessant attempts to undermine and unseat the new leadership. We will have to wait and see to find out if these conflicts will impede the Labour party in its now apparently genuine desire to tackle inequality in the UK.
Whatever happens, simply marking a cross in a ballot box will not be enough to really tackle the issue of inequality in our society, whilst voting itself can act to pacify the masses from engaging in more radical actions to improve the conditions of their own lives. We have to fight each and every day to achieve a free and equal society for every citizen, and at times party and parliamentary bureaucracy can be detrimental to this struggle, which is why we seek to organise ourselves and encourage others to do the same. This is the only way we can guarantee freedom and equality for all people: by winning it for ourselves. It is this daily struggle against inequality which Pre-Qual will continue to fight each and every day, election or no election.
This being said, voting provides an opportunity to engage with the political system we are forced to exist within. It is not without reason that so many have given their lives to win the vote for their communities, be that working people and the poor, women, people of colour or any of the other oppressed communities who have engaged in the struggle for universal suffrage over the last two centuries. To create social change, we must engage in every political action that we can, every day; be that helping to educate your peers on political and social issues, holding pickets and demonstrations, occupying buildings or land to highlight issues and put pressure on power, or, in this case, voting.
If you’re a young person would like your voice to be heard in this election (or if you’d like to be involved with Pre-Qual), give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or at on our email, firstname.lastname@example.org
REGISTER TO VOTE by May the 22nd: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote