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What's Going On: British Elections

The 12th of December was a big day for Boris Johnson. The Conservative Party, which had failed to obtain a majority in 2017, had been back in a political deadlock, not able to secure the necessary legislation to pass Brexit. This eventually led to the resignation of Theresa May. Now, however, with a 317 seat victory, they see themselves in a more powerful position in Parliament under Johnson, free from the grip of the Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland. This increases the possibility that a Brexit Withdrawal Agreement will be successfully passed before January 31st, and also the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. What we know is that Boris Johnson is now determined to get Brexit done. No extensions this time.

The Conservatives are not the only party that should be happy with the election results. The SNP, the Scottish National Party, managed to secure another 13 seats in Parliament, with their total now being 48. They are known for being pro-Scottish independence, and choose to remain within the EU. This might mean a second referendum on Scottish independence, and the outcomes could be very different from last time. In 2016 the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, held a referendum in Scotland on that very question, and won. In fact, it was partly that referendum which gave him the confidence to hold the Brexit referendum. Yet as we now know, it didn't go exactly according to plan. Nowadays, things have changed. Brexit looks as likely as ever, and Scotland disagrees, as we have seen in the election. If Johnson were forced by the SNP to hold a referendum, many people would argue that the result might be in favour of independence. And with Scottish independence, who knows what might happen? Let’s just say that the United Kingdom might not be so United. The UK is made up of four separate regions, each with their separate ideas of nationalism. And for even one of them to leave the country would be a catastrophe.

Historically, England and its neighbours have been divided between right and left. The Tories and Labour. Traditionally, the Tories votes were from upper and middle class voters in places such as London, and the Labour votes from mining towns or working class towns such as Birmingham. But in the past few months we have seen a significant change in votes. Some of those who would normally vote for Labour voted for Conservatives, swayed by the idea of Brexit. This movement has lead to the growth of the Conservatives and the fall of Labour. It is also necessary to mention the less significant move of softer Conservatives over to other parties. So now, the question is not about right or left; now it's about Leave or Remain. Voters have changed their minds because of nationalism, been attracted to politicians because of their stance on Brexit. Even Boris Johnson admitted that many Labour voters had lent him their votes just to get Brexit done. And with the pressure of all Brexit voters on his conscience, Johnson is more determined than ever to carry out their wishes.

Lorenzo N, Year 9

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