General Election 2017

Election 2017: A night of fear and relief

Violet columnist Martha O’Neil reflects on the good and bad of the general election outcome

Martha O'Neil

The good and the bad?Hello Magazine

Oh, what a night. Early June, in 2017. What a very shocking time for me. As I remember, what a night. (Guys, I’m quoting Frankie Valley, do keep up).

I saw the exit poll just after 10pm (my internet is so slow, omg), after receiving numerous texts from my mum (along the lines of “flipping hell’) and messages from my friends (along the lines of ‘augfausgasgdougfafou’). I realised then that the exit poll was going to be shocking. I feared the worst. ‘Huge Tory landslide,’ I thought. ‘Theresa May is going to deny our Human Rights,’ I wept. ‘Hard Brexit is going to happen,’ I sobbed.

Ha. How wrong was I?

To be honest, I think this whole thing has confirmed my suspicion that karma is an actual thing. Bad decisions do, it seems, have this remarkable ability to bite you in the backside – even when you least expect it.

“I ended the night feeling quite hollow, maybe even sad – or scared”

If you arrogantly take for granted that you are going to win a thumping majority, don’t even grant voters the decency of actually turning up to debates, parade around the country talking to a select group of Tory voters, deny the fact that you’ve had to go back on your promises and don’t respect the electorate whose trust you’re so desperately seeking, then I’m sorry Theresa, but maybe this was all inevitable.

A veiled inevitability that we just didn’t see coming. This became a referendum on Theresa’s premiership. She has no mandate now. That night I kept on thinking – my god, she must be mortified. I hate to admit, but sometimes schadenfreude can taste rather delicious.

David Dimbleby explains the exit pollBBC News

I thought I’d feel happy. Elated. Really triumphant at the thought of the Tories suffering and Labour gaining so many seats. I whooped in the Union every time a Labour win was announced, thinking ‘yeah, we’ve finally found our voice, us young people’ and prayed that the exit poll was being too conservative, as it were.

Yet, I ended the night feeling quite hollow, maybe even sad – or scared – at the thought of the DUP being ushered in to hold the hands of the Tories. Whatever this deal may be – whether it be confidence and supply or anything else – fills me with this dread at the thought of such a right-wing group being the kingmakers of our government.

“The Tories do not have a mandate to pursue this cruel agenda of austerity”

We’re talking full-blown ‘let’s reintroduce the death-penalty, ban abortion, ban gay rights’ kind of madness. How dare the Tories do this? They said no coalition of chaos – instead we are potentially heading for a coalition of calamity. The election and what has followed shows that the Conservatives seem happy in their own moral baseness – desperately trying to grasp on to power, to hold on with the tips of their fingernails and desperation is not attractive. Surely this is the naughtiest thing Theresa has done?

Sorry. I feel like I’ve had quite a rant. Shall we concentrate on some of the good things? Yeah.

1. It’s claimed that 72% of 18-25 year olds turned up to vote. The Labour Party has been able to mobilise the youth vote in such a remarkable way – not necessarily because of the promises of free tuition and the like, but because they’ve helped us realise that we have, for too long, let others decide our future. And when said future is isolationism, austerity and right-wing extremity, we know we have the power to make change. This may well be Remoaners’ Revenge – but you know what? Revenge feels good.

2. The British Parliament is now composed of 206 women, 45 openly LGBTQ MPs and 51 BME MPs.


Mountain View

Election Question Time: Snog, marry, avoid

3. The Left will surely now become more consolidated as they see the country is in such a time of need. This also bodes well if we were to have another snap election.

4. The Tories do not have a mandate – neither do they have a mandate for a hard Brexit, or for impinging upon Human Rights or to pursue this cruel agenda of austerity. To ignore this is surely to ignore the ‘will of the people’ that they so often bang on about.

5. Enoch Powell’s seat was won by the West Midland’s first African Caribbean MP, Eleanor Smith. In yoooo face fascism.

In all of the madness, there is at least some good – and where there is goodness, there is hope.

Oh, and as a side note - who knew that those mysterious crop circles are the result of Theresa May and her mates running through wheat fields and repeatedly performing U-turns