UK General Election 2017: A Tory Win?
This morning, British voters have been queueing outside polling stations across Britain to vote in the UK General Election 2017. Polling stations opened at 7am and will remain open until 10pm tonight, with first results coming in after 11pm.
According to some, the weather is a defining factor of how many people will go out to vote, and the possibility of rain has usually meant less young voters. But some of the biggest queues have been reported at universities today and the belief is that more young people will turn out to vote for Labour.
Latest polls: Tories have a clear lead
The campaign has been overshadowed by the horror of two terror attacks at London Bridge and Manchester, but this hasn’t affected polling.
According to the latest opinion polls, the Tories are ahead. Survation is predicting Conservatives to be leading with a 41.3% and Labour behind with a 40.4%. ICM is more positive of a 12-point lead for the Tories with a 46% against 34% for Labour, and BMG is expecting a 13-point Tory lead with 46% against Labour’s 33%.
The possibility of a Tory majority is still strong, but Labour might also be winning more votes than they did in 2015 under Ed Miliband.
As the Washington Post put it, “Britain votes for a new Parliament and government [on] Thursday after a campaign of three phases: the sleepy election, the surprising election and the security election.”
Theresa May has focussed during her campaign on Brexit, while Jeremy Corbyn shifted focus to public services. The Lib Dems’ campaign on remaining within the EU didn’t affect the many, while the SNP might end up with fewer seats.
Newspaper front pages
Tabloids enjoyed laughing at the two candidates Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May with the Sun urging voters “Don’t Chuck Britain in the Cor-Bin,” and the Daily Mirror reminding its readers of the “Lies, damned lies and Theresa May.” The Daily Mail recommended “Let’s reignite British spirit,” and featured “Your tactical voting guide to boost the Tories and Brexit.” The Sun included a front-page story on “Jezza’s Jihadi Comrades,” in which it was reported that in one of Corbyn’s speeches at a demonstration followers of two Islamic clerics, Anjem Choudary and Omar Bakri Muhammad, were present. The Conservatives were endorsed by the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Times. The Economist supported the Liberal Democrats and Labour was endorsed by the Daily Mirror and the Guardian.
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn Voting
Theresa May arrived at a polling station in Sonning, near Reading, in her constituency in Maidenhead, Berkshire, with her husband Philip. She said “hello” to reporters as she headed to vote. Jeremy Corbyn voted at Pakeman Primary School in Holloway, north London, in his Islington North seat. He said to reporters: “Thank you very much, all of you, for coming here today. It’s a day of our democracy. I’ve just voted. I’m very proud of our campaign. Thank you very much.”
Yesterday, Corbyn gave a speech about his positive effect on the British political landscape: “As we prepare for government, we have already changed the debate and given people hope. Hope that it doesn’t have to be like this; that inequality can be tackled; that austerity can be ended; that you can stand up to the elites and the cynics. This is the new centre ground.”
May called voters to support her in order to negotiate a successful exit from the European Union: “If we get Brexit right, we can build a Britain that is more prosperous and more secure – a Britain in which prosperity and opportunity is shared by all. I can only build that better country and get the right deal in Brussels with the support of the British people. So whoever you have voted for in the past, if that is the future you want, then vote Conservative today and we can all go forward together.”
#usepens: Social Media laughs at vote-rigging fears
If you are heading to a polling station, take my friendly advice and use a pen. The #usepens is trending today on social media reigniting the conspiracy theory that votes marked with a pencil can be changed. Some of the tweets circulating today have been playful: a Twitter user wrote this short poem and another one this. So, if you want to leave your indelible mark on the ballot paper, please use a pen, preferably one you brought with you, just in case.