As a young voter, I feel disillusioned with Britain’s democracy

The results of the result election show a disparity between politics and the young people of Britain

As Jeremy Corbyn claimed in his post-election piece for the Guardian, the results of the two recent general elections – which saw Labour increase its share of the popular vote by ten percent, the surge of Boris Johnson’s “Get Brexit Done” movement, Momentum in Labour and a greater demand for Scottish independence – cannot be understood in isolation. He continues by describing the growing gap between the richest and the most in need within Britain, and the ardent distrust the people feel towards the country’s political system and the politicians which operate within it.

“This election felt like a chance to contribute to what has been, undeniably, the most important political vote during my lifetime.”

As a young voter, this election was only my second chance to elect a representative for Labour into the House of Commons. My local MP, Matt Rodda, was voted in during the major Labour surge in Theresa May’s 2017 election and, thankfully, managed to hold his seat on December 12th. Despite the margin between him and his Conservative competition totalling about 6,000, the Labour seat in Reading East is now surrounded by a blue sea of Tory constituencies. I was unable to vote on Brexit, and this election felt like a chance to contribute to what has been, undeniably, the most important political vote during my lifetime.

“The accusations against Jeremy Corbyn are for more nebulous; if these claims do, however, makes him unfit to be prime minister then Boris Johnson should be recalled as an MP.”

I had prepared to disagree with family members, to defend my decision to back a radical manifesto, and even for the unfortunate outcome of a slim Tory majority or a hung parliament – the latter of which I still would have celebrated. What I did not expect was the gross, manipulative and ubiquitous vilification of Jeremy Corbyn by multi-million pound press outlets and vested media agencies. The accusations of anti-semitism are, without question, valid ones, and have not appeared from nowhere just before this general election. The notion of “not wanting to put a racist” in Number 10 is a more than justified mindset for voters – but what I, and many other young voters I have spoken to, have struggled to understand is where this mentality is in people’s approach to Boris Johnson? My friends and I, were cognisant of the blatantly and well-documented homophobic, islamophobic, racist comments made by Boris Johnson. These are not insidious or hidden actions, but ones which Boris has chosen to publicise and has once not apologised for. The accusations against Jeremy Corbyn are for more nebulous; if these claims do, however, makes him unfit to be prime minister – as many people believe they do – then Boris Johnson should  be recalled as an MP. Boris’ comments make him representative of a Britain of the past, one which I’m not a part of, nor do I ever want to be; it is this Britain which defends its marginalisation and oppression of minorities and those most vulnerable in its society, blatantly ignorant of its colonial history and belligerently pursuing ‘getting brexit done’ regardless of the consequences.

Seeing the only party candidate in this election  – besides Boris – with any hope of entering Downing Street torn to shreds by right wing papers has disillusioned me entirely with the process of democracy in Britain. It is without a doubt the same demographics which came out in their thousands to vote for Brexit which returned to vote for the Conservatives on December 12th, encouraged by the unrelenting, hate-fuelled rhetoric pumped out by the country’s press. While these factors are significant, it is necessary to consider the size of the majority by which the conservatives one. It was clear that Jeremy Corbyn was never going to be endorsed, or treated with objectivity, by the more powerful and influential press outlets (or Philip Schofield, for that matter) within this country. His ‘radicalism’, heightened by the aforementioned bodies, has turned him into an astonishingly polarising figure. This polarisation, and an unwillingness by many to support his ‘outgoing’ views, seems to have made Jeremy Corbyn into not only a figure of wide-spread criticism, but also one which evokes widespread fear across Britain. His manifesto is the most emphatically left-leaning one the Labour party has released in years, and Jeremy Corbyn represented a truly momentous shift from centrist, and even right leaning, Labour politics of the past to a truly leftist position. It is this shift which I feel has scared the people of Britain into believing, and consequently making, Corbyn unelectable. This, in turn, disillusions me with the mindset of the voting populus of Britain, and to what extent its ‘democracy’ rests on a perpetuation of skewed political values which ignore the desperate need of so many within its society.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto was one which the country might not have been ready for, but it represented real change.”

Young voters were eclipsed in this election. Though Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto was one which the country might not have been ready for, it represented real change. The cruel irony of Boris Johnson as leader of “the people’s party” being elected over a man who has been on the right side of history – and a vehement anti-racism protester –  for decades has unfortunately been lost on many who voted in this election. The older generation which voted for Brexit in the first place again showed up in their thousands to elect a multimillionaire Etonian who can transparently not be trusted to protect the interests of anyone but those who share his privileges. Jeremy Corbyn, a grounded politician with a far clearer political conscience and record, was ruthlessly vilified.  Though neither leader is categorically perfect, Jeremy Corbyn running a dreadfully unenthusiastic remain campaign in the run-up to the EU referendum, it is disheartening to see the same government responsible for cuts in public spending and the stealth privatisation of Britain’s most valuable resource, the NHS, be re-elected over a party clearly dedicated to change. It is important to consider that not only did the people not elect Labour, but that many safe red seats turned blue, showing a dis-consideration of Tory austerity which I simply cannot reconcile with the Britain I was formerly proud of. The young voters who chose to stand behind Corbyn’s ‘radical’ manifesto, have been overwhelmingly defeated. Not only have I become disillusioned with the democratic process in Briton which, like the Brexit vote, has been compromised by the same Tory party politics and monopolisation of privilege which initiated the 2015 Brexit referendum, but I have also lost faith in the people of Britain. The hatred of Jeremy Corbyn is simply not proportionate, the visible malignancy of Boris Johnson being far more dangerous. I, and all those in my demographic who voted for the change Corbyn represented, must yet again sit back as our future is decided for us.

Ursula Dale

Ursula Dale is a Deputy Comment Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister English student.