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By Morakinyo Babajide-Alabi
Today, the 8th of June, 2017, Britons head to the polls to elect a new government to lead them for the next five years. This General Election will go down as one of the most unique and tension-filled in recent history of the country.
As voters march towards the various polling units all over the country, there is no doubt that the thought of the majority will be to elect a strong leader who will be bold enough to face off to the unpredictability of the future as experienced in the past weeks in the country and by extension all over the world. The days and weeks leading on to today have been very tortuous as residents witnessed more terrorists’ attacks in the period than they could ever have imagined in years.
However, the resilience of the people was tested by these attacks. In between, political campaigns were suspended in honour of those who lost their lives in the aftermath of the attacks. The calls for a shift in the date of the General Elections were swiftly condemned as “dancing to the tunes of the terrorists”. I quite agree with this fact, as a shift in the election date from today would have been a victory for the evil attackers. That means they have succeeded in instilling fears in the minds of the citizens.
The battle for 10 Downing Street was meant to be a straight one horse race for Theresa May. She had the elections in her designer handbag, according to the polls. The confusion and infighting in the opposition Labour party boosted the confidence of the Conservative Prime Minister to call a SNAP election for today. It was to take advantage of the “drummed up” weak and left wing leadership of Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the seemingly disillusionment by the teeming supporters of the party.
Theresa May wanted to ride on the crest of her popularity to win a legitimate Premiership. However, along the line she learnt the biggest lesson of her political life. All it needs is a little nudge to fall off the cliff. It took one policy “misspoke” to turn public opinion against her. The Tories’ confidence turned into cockiness, as they released their anti-people manifestoes. And within a short period, the centre of their policies started to collapse.
At this time, the Labour leaders came out fighting for their political future. They knew they had to turn the tides around. Jeremy Corbyn woke up from his slumber and put up a worthy fight. It would have been an easy task for him, if the rebels in his camp had rallied round and supported him. Despite the prediction of landslide electoral loss, the Corbynists did not throw in the towel.
Gradually, the polls rating started changing in favour of the Labour leader. As today drew nearer, Corbyn became more militant with striking confidence to lead Great Britain to the new heights. There is no doubt that the big guns in the Labour Party have left him to fight his own battle, but the surge in his popularity in recent times have shown that the more and more people are beginning to believe in him.
Who needs Tony Blair? You may ask. That’s right, who needs Blair when he was the party leader that started the downward slide of Labour’s popularity. I believe his lack of support for Corbyn is a plus, as he (Blair) has of recent become a figure to hate in Britain (and some parts of the world), not with his Iraq war record. He would not have added any flavour to the Labour campaign in any way. His attempts to intervene in many British events lately have not in any way gone down well with the public.
The political campaigns started on Brexit and unfortunately concluded on terrorism and the security of the country after the elections. The selling point of the Tories was the Brexit negotiations, which they think they are divinely ordained to negotists better deal for the country. For once, the main political parties did not make an issue of immigration in their campaigns. No matter how the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) tried to steer conversation towards this, the other leaders did not fall for the gambit.
Whatever the outcome of today’s polls, no one will write Corbyn off as a failure. He started as an underdog, but has managed to close the gap and became a great contender for 10 Downing Street. Getting there may elude him this time around, but he should still bare his chest and be proud of himself and the few members who solidly believed in him.
Corbyn should be proud of himself, despite the actions of his parliamentary members who threw the baby out with the bath water, for their selfish reasons. They wrote him off as unfit for the leadership of the party and by extension the country.
The obituary of UKIP is expected to be announced tonight after the elections. Members of the Liberal Democrats (LibDEM) are praying to stop the attrition that occurred during the 2015 elections. In a few hours we shall know if this prayer is answered.
I am hoping and praying that the Labour Party will have a big gain from the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) with the persistent demand for a second independence referendum. Nicola Sturgeon is a very likeable individual, but her cries for Scottish independence are becoming more of desperation than nationalism. The people are getting tired of her and I hope Labour would be able to make a few gains.
In a few hours, all will be clear.
PHOTO CREDIT: BBC NEWS