Today Theresa May confirmed the inevitable: the Tories are calling yet another general election. For all the complaining, campaigning, marching and protesting that has occurred since the Conservative government was reinstated and we voted to crash out of the European Union, this needn’t be a complete disaster. On June 8 we actually have a chance to decide exactly what type of country we want to be post-Brexit.
A vote for the Conservatives this time around is as good as a double Brexit, because it gives extra legitimacy to May’s constrictive right-wing policies. A Tory win now would cosign their Hard, “Red, White and Blue” Brexit – with or without a plan. It would be a win for xenophobia, and a loss for European nationals who live, work and fall in love in this country. The restriction of free movement would sever the ties that many of our students and young professionals take advantage of. The right will continue to manipulate working class voters into thinking that immigrants are the problem, as opposed to the austerity measures that they have inflicted.
Even though this announcement took many by surprise this morning, it’s an astute move for May. All signs seem to point towards another Conservative win. YouGov’s latest figures show that 44 per cent of people would vote for the Tories, with only a pitiful 23 per cent of people coming out in support for Labour. On the surface, it seems like an absolute disaster – but the future isn’t as bleak when you take into consideration the power young people now have.
We are one of the few groups which still holds overwhelming support for the opposition. As of October, Labour had a 26 point lead over the Tories among the 18-24s, and still remained popular for people right into their 30s. If young people want a second chance to reclaim this country from the grip of the (far) right, this election is it. This is our chance to decide our own future, and make a difference. Here are some ways we can do it:
SUPPORT THE ONLY OPPOSITION THAT HAS A CHANCE OF WINNING
I know. I know Jeremy Corbyn isn’t perfect, but come on – nobody else is a viable opposition at this point, unless you want a Conservative government from 2010-2022 and beyond. This election is about keeping the Tories out of power more than anything else. The right has been able to capitalise on the left’s inability to get its shit together for a while now. Infighting in the Labour party, sweeping wins for the SNP, and chucking votes to the Greens has allowed us to sleepwalk into a Conservative stronghold. So if you’re undecided on whether Labour are the right type of Labour for you, ask yourself – at this point does it even fucking matter?
REGISTER TO VOTE NOW
In the last general election, only 43 per cent of people aged 18-24 voted as opposed to 78 percent of the over 65s. With Brexit 64 per cent of 18-24s voted but that was in comparison to 90 per cent turnout for the over 65s. In short: old people show up to the polls to fuck things up. If you want to wield as much power as your nan then register to vote now and make sure you use your voice in the next election. You can find your closest polling station here, or find out other ways to vote on the official government website.
MOBILISE AND ‘TAKE BACK CONTROL’
For the past two years, our world has felt like it has been hurtling towards the sun. It’s important in these uncertain times to actively oppose what you believe to be unjust. Whether it is volunteering to campaign for a party, or looking out for protests and demos.
BE WARY OF THE ECHO CHAMBER
As I write this sentence for a liberal publication, I acknowledge the irony of what I am about to say – but we’ve all fallen into the pattern of preaching to the converted. In order to implement any change we (and opposing parties) need to start persuading undecided voters and fickle Tories. Only reading publications we agree with, following people that reflect our own opinions and speaking about politics with people who have the same views means we are narrowing our own world view. It is harder to understand other voters, and for them to understand you without proper engagement. It makes it harder to change the course of the vote. Read about what is going on from a variety of news outlets and form your opinions based on facts rather than what you perceive to be the status quo. Don’t get comfortable in thinking your opinion will win because everyone on your timeline seems to agree with you. You still need to be politically active.
TRY YOUR HAND AT TACTICAL VOTING – BUT DON’T EXPECT IT TO WORK
In a lot of constituencies it will be enough to vote Labour to get a Labour-led government, however, this is not always the case. I’m a firm believer in voting for what you believe in but I’m also keen on the lesser of two evils. If you want to play games with democracy here is a guide on how to do it.
Follow Kemi Alemoru on Twitter here @kemioliviax