So, that’s it. The snap election called by Theresa May on the 18th of April is done. The votes are in and counted and the winner is…
Well, no one.
Yeah, it’s all been a bit of an anti-climax at this point in time. No party managed to achieve a large enough majority to win the election – though, Theresa May’s Conservative party only fell 8 seats short of achieving the 326 required. At this point, though it’s not one hundred percent confirmed, it looks like the Conservatives will be forming some sort of agreement with Irish party, the Democratic Unionist Party, who won 10 seats in the election.
But what, if any, of these parties’ manifesto points affect us as students and young people?
- The word ‘university’ is used four times in the Conservative manifesto – two of which are stating facts about the current educational situation (one point about how the Conservatives have helped to get more immigrants into university, and another stating that ‘white, working-class boys’ are less likely than any group to go to university). The other two times are used in their ‘University investment funds’ paragraph. Within this paragraph, it’s stated that the Conservative party want universities in the UK to receive more funding to become the best they can be. Which is great! However, they haven’t stated where this funding will come from.
- ‘Young people’ are mentioned twice in the manifesto’s main points – once within a point about caring for the elderly (stating this must be done whilst being fair to young people), and also whilst talking about online security (where this is said to be a problem that strongly affects the younger generation).
- There is a two page long excerpt about introducing more apprenticeship-type technical education to help young people into work.
- A paragraph is included that talks about the sense of community in the UK – the younger generation should pay for the elderly, but the elderly should know when to give back and benefit young people.
- They state that young people’s mental health is of paramount importance, and they will publish a green paper on it before the end of 2017.
The DUP’s stances on young people (especially any that would be possible to enforce anywhere but Northern Ireland) are very difficult to find, but their main manifesto points predominantly centre around strengthening Northern Island, so even in a coalition, it would be difficult to see them making and large differences to the way England, Scotland and Wales are run.
At the moment, it’s very difficult to say how 2017 politics will affect our generation in the future. It is, however, interesting to see how our generation has affected the future of politics!
The voting turnout within 18-24 year olds has risen from around 40% (2015) to over 70% (2017)! This means that our voice as a group is becoming louder, and that means that parties will be forced to gear more of their policies towards us! This year, the Conservative manifesto mentions young people 13 more times than it did in 2015, due to the obvious recent interest in politics among our generation. This can only be good for our country!
So, who were the winners of the 2017 UK General Election? We were.
Thanks for voting!