From our Political Correspondent Marco Douglas
Today, polling stations open and the voters of the UK go and vote for who they want to lead their country for the next 5 years including through some historical events which will have a lasting effect on everyone.
Let’s take a minute and look back at what has been an exciting, confusing and most important election campaign in generations, looking at the high points and difficulties all the major political parties have faced in these last 2 months.
When Theresa May called this election in April it was a shock to say the least but her reasoning behind it seemed simple. Calling a general election to strengthen her hand in the upcoming Brexit talks with the EU by commanding a bigger Tory majority in the commons.
However, her opponents were quick to call foul play with the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon saying that Mrs May had called the election as “she has clearly seen the total disarray in Labour” and goes on to say in the Independent that the conservatives called the election to “force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper cuts”.
Labour on the other hand were full of support for the PMs decision but were still damming in their opinion of her time leading the country. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said to the Telegraph, “Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and NHS”. Bold words at the time for a man who was looking at polls pointing to the biggest conservative majority since the days of Margaret Thatcher. But as with politics nothing is ever for certain.
After the announcement people were looking forward to the local elections when the media and voters would get a picture of how people may vote on the 8th of June.
The results, well they should have called it May’s day as per the BBC the Tories made huge gains all over the UK gaining 563 councillors nationwide and won 11 new local authorities with outright majorities. The Labour party on the other hand were reeling from a string of defeats. However, there was some good news as they managed to keep hold of Newport, Cardiff and Swansea the big three councils in Wales which came as some consolation to Mr Corbyn. However, the picture was very different in Scotland where a tory resurgence means that no party has any majority in any of the councils. But in another hit for the Labour party, Glasgow city council which had been a bastion for the Labour party for over 40 years had now gone to a new minority SNP administration.
But if you think that labour had suffered a bad night it was nothing compared to UKIP that had seen all their all bar one of the councillors lose out of massive droves of ex UKIP voters now cast the ballots for the Conservatives. In a night that saw Jeremy Corbyn saying “his party faced a challenge on a “historic scale”. While a pleased Theresa May said “she was not taking anything for granted’. Is it not the case at that point in the election however that it was Mrs May who had everything to lose.
After the local election, we then turned our eyes to the TV debates featuring all the leaders of the major parties except the PM who said to the Telegraph that she “won’t be doing television debates. I believe in campaigns where politicians actually get out and about and meet with voters”. Is seems however that Mrs May might have suffered her first real election blunder by not turning up to debate the major issues with other party leaders? This could be seen as a reason for the narrowing of the polls in which some companies were now reporting a gap of 5 points between the two major parties. However as is always the case with polls there were others that still reported a massive lead for the Tories.
It could be seen to be the case that by missing the debate’s, Mrs May’s whole campaign was affected as other leaders took their chance to question the home secretary, Amber Rudd, over May’s no show and her parties’ manifesto. It could also be said that it was the Labour leader who was for the first time in this election gaining some momentum and narrowing the gap in some of the polls.
At this point in time it was no longer wondering how big a majority Mrs May would get but would she get a majority at all?
This election has been full of twists and turns with candidates and leaders campaigning up and down the UK and even in the last few days there are still some more surprises such as Diane Abbott stepping down after citing illness. But aside from all the trash talking and campaigning whoever is elected on June 8th will be negotiating the Brexit talks and selling Britain on a global scale and we can all agree that for these reasons to name but a few this is the most important general election in decades.