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Foreign Policy Analysis

A brief guide to the UK general election | FT


It’s one of the most
unpredictable and volatile general elections in decades. And it’s not just
Brexit at stake. Whoever gets the keys
to Downing Street has a radically different vision
for the country’s economy, public services, and the
future shape of the UK union. So why are we having
this election? In a word. Brexit. Let’s get Brexit done
and unleash the potential of the whole United Kingdom. The whole point of
this general election is to break the Brexit
deadlock in parliament, but it’s a huge gamble for Boris
Johnson, the prime minister and leader of the
Conservative party. He needs to come back to
parliament with a majority in order to deliver the
Brexit deal that he negotiated with Brussels earlier this year. If he doesn’t, pro-Remain
parties here in parliament could move to try and
stop Brexit altogether. That’s the Labour party, right? Well, not quite. Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition
party haven’t committed yet to Leave or Remain. But they have promised
a second referendum if they come to power. We will secure a sensible deal
that protects manufacturing and the Good Friday
Agreement, and then put it to a public vote
alongside the option of remaining in the EU. The Liberal Democrats under
the leadership of Jo Swinson have vowed to revoke Article 50
and cancel Brexit altogether. But if they don’t win
the election, which is highly likely, they are
expected to also campaign for a second referendum. So if you want to stop Boris
Johnson and stop Brexit, vote Liberal Democrat. The Scottish National party
under Nicola Sturgeon, the Welsh party Plaid Cymru;
and the Greens are all in favour of a second referendum. The two major political parties
have dramatically different visions for the UK economy. Labour are keen to get the
conversation away from Brexit and talk about what is one
of the most radical leftwing manifestos the
party has ever seen. Labour’s manifesto is
a manifesto for hope. They’re promising to
increase tax and spending and also nationalise some of
the key industries in the UK, such as Royal Mail, the
railways, and even broadband. The Tories are also hoping to
take advantage of low interest rates and borrow more to
invest in infrastructure. But instead of going
after businesses, they’re promising tax
breaks for everyday workers. But really, they’re keen
to keep the conversation on the issue of Brexit with
a promise to get it done. There you go. Get it done, Boris. We will. The UK National
Health Service, which offers free universal
care for everyone, is always a major issue in
any general election campaign. Our NHS is not for sale. But this winter the NHS is
coming under particular strain, and all the major
political parties are promising to
spend more money. So what happens if no party
comes back with a majority? Well, we’ll be
left with something called a hung parliament. In that circumstance, the party
with the most number of seats would have an opportunity
to reach out to the smaller parties and try and form a
coalition or a confidence and supply agreement. They could also try and
form a minority government. The problem is the
Liberal Democrats are so far ruling
out using their votes to put either Jeremy
Corbyn or Boris Johnson into Downing Street. Because we deserve
better than what is on offer from the
two tired old parties. And the Scottish National
party have said the price for them supporting any minority
or coalition government is the promise of a second
independent Scottish referendum within the next couple of years. Now, what the smaller
parties are saying now and what they would actually
do in the event of a hung parliament could
be very different. But if no one can come
to any sort of agreement, or if no one can rule through
a minority government, we might be forced into
another general election.

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