Recognition of successful ‘socialist’ policies used in Europe – for once, Labour’s manifesto is not being laughed at – policies such as taxing the richest in society, further investment in the NHS, nationalisation of industries such as rail, and handing London transport ownership to TFL. The policies successfully capture the centre ground and, as pointed out by The Guardian, people only perceive the party’s policies to be ‘socialist’ because we are so used to being in a society run by an elite few and being ripped off time and time again. But we need not remain in this weak and exploited position.Forcing people to consider what they really want on the other side of Brexit – I expected the election to be more about Brexit, but from what there is, people are being forced to think about what they want from Brexit. Do we really want out and a ‘difficult woman’ alienating European leaders into giving us trade deals barely worth having, or do we want to retain some of the helpful rights which we were blessed with as members of the EU. I do not think this was something people, politicians and all, really considered before, during nor after the Brexit campaign, until now.
Recognition that an election is not just about the party leaders – partially because online media enables us access to far more than political satire about the leaders. Unlike the embarrassing ‘memes’ of Ed Miliband in the last General Election, this election is becoming more about the policies – or non-policies – promoted by each party in their election campaign. Labour’s slogan ‘For the many not the few’ is reflected in their policies which help everyone, regardless of their background, such as investing in the NHS – to reduce waiting time in A & E. Because of this increase in attention paid to policies, people are recognising the little substance behind the Conservative’s campaign, replaced hopefully with mere sound bites. But we are past the time of ‘Education! Education! Education!’; Corbyn does not need a sound bite to abolish tuition fees.
Mental health awareness – Helped by the prominence attributed to it by the royal family, mental health awareness has grown so much with the general election that it is featuring in Labour’s manifesto (not that May, however, barely knows the difference between mental health and learning disabilities). This is such an important issue which deserves recognition on the political agenda of parties, and, whatever the motives, it is achieving this recognition from the general election. I would say it has never received so much attention in a political election campaign.
Increase in younger voters – we no longer feel so marginalised, or if we do, we are willing to do more about it. When a party begins to stand up for young people, all hope seems less lost. As a uni student, I am keen to partake in tactical voting to avoid any more rises in tuition fees, and to bring back the maintenance grant; the Conservatives have only been bad news for tuition fees. Not to mention the loans’ terrifying compounding interest. Most prominently, people are beginning to believe that their vote counts; if every student voted in this election, the results could be so different. And anyway, who wants older people deciding our futures for us? If you haven’t yet, register to vote. You won’t regret it, but you may regret not doing it.
So there you have it. Five amazing things to come out of the 2017 general election – let’s hope the list continues to grow…