National Comment Comment

This election won't solve our problems

The fact is, our political leaders are too intent on scrapping for political power to actually solve anything

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When thinking about Parliament in the last three years, a list of buzzwords come to mind. Deadlock, defeat, indecision, Theresa May’s dancing, to name a few. While the general public have had to deal with the side effects of the Brexit vote, Westminster has very much been left to squabble and throw their toys out of the pram. In doing this, some systemic issues with the current political arena have come to light. Voters are tired and fed up with the Brexit debacle, which continues to monopolise our politics, media, and discussions. Parties are continuing to act in a selfish manner, putting their own survival over the interests of the country. But perhaps most worryingly, the job of an MP is becoming more and more dangerous and unsustainable, as many announce their departure from the political scene.

A general election will not fix these issues. However much the prospect of being able to vote in a general election for the first time has excited the politics student inside of me, I hate to tell you Boris but you’ve just made it a lot worse.
A general election merely gives a platform to the voices and the views that perpetuate these toxic traits in our political system. When parties campaign for votes, their generalistic and exaggerated claims will be the ones that hit the headlines.This creates a more competitive atmosphere within politics, leading to politicians attempting to get their face on the news and their policies in the papers. At the very instant that Westminster needs to unite, five weeks of brutal and adversarial campaigns is the last thing we need.This will just create another Parliament looking to be as divided as the current one. We can already see this by the tense drawing of lines between all parties in the opening rounds of the fight, with figures like Jo Swinson ruling out a Corbyn household in Number 10.

Also, not only will the campaign continue to show the cracks within the parties, but it leads to higher profiles and busier schedules for MPs exposing them to more hate and danger. Already in the first five months of 2019, 152 crimes against MPs were reported to the Met Police. This highlights the reality of life for many of our political representatives, particularly women, who have to deal with death threats for attempting to debate the issues of our time. The direct result of this can be seen by the huge numbers of MPs announcing they are standing down at this election, including figures like Nicky Morgan, who particularly cited the ‘abuse for doing the job of a modern MP’ as a reason. A general election will not be able to solve this key problem which is stifling our political discourse.

There are other issues with having a general election in this political climate. We have continually seen the dominance of Brexit throughout the debates and the media. It leads to constant discussion over the issue of the EU, with very little substance and supporting evidence. Boris parroting on about how he will ‘get Brexit done’ exemplifies this. When an election is called specifically to stop the Brexit deadlock, other policies instantly take a back burner in the party manifesto. This can be problematic, with people voting for parties solely based on their Brexit position and not their wider political stances.

Similarly, an election campaign just takes away from some of the key issues at hand, wasting time on the issue that has already dominated the agenda since the 2016 referendum. A particularly frustrating example of this is the Domestic Abuse Bill which was waiting for Royal Assent when the election was called, and has now fallen due to the dissolution of Parliament.

An election is not going to deal with the deep divides within the political system and the wider public. Instead, it will perpetuate them. Brexit has, and will, continue to poison politics until parties are willing to work together and more effectively approach crossparty talks with the goal to reconcile their aims, instead of trying to get the keys to Downing Street. In the course of the election campaign, we have begun to see this, with the Unite to Remain alliance. However, Labour is noticeably absent from this arrangement, and many other seats whose destinies could change if these bigger parties are willing to withdraw. An election will not stop the increasingly hostile atmosphere around Westminster, and will not keep our elected MPs safe from protestors and aggressors. The political parties need to take a long, hard look at the current state of affairs, and decide to put the good of the country and their colleagues ahead of their political power.

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