Friday, June 09, 2017

Snap Election: We All Won

By Annabel Hooper |

Politics. Boring, huh? Had enough already what with Brexit and the snap election? Well I have news for y’all. These are exciting times.

No matter what your political preference, I challenge you to not feel empowered by a 5% increase of women representing us in the commons. That’s 32% of ministers. 207 women standing up for us and contributing in parliament. You don’t have to be a math or political genius to know that this is BIG NEWS. 

In my constituency, female party representatives outnumbered the men. It’s also coincidental that this historic outcome was voted for 104 years to the day since Emily Davison died fighting to give women the vote. 

Many people woke up on the morning of the 9th June 2017 feeling angry, anxious and all together bummed out about the result of the snap election. Others felt elated and as though their voice had finally been heard. As a first-time voter, simply walking into the polling booth and putting a cross in a box made me feel as though I was doing my bit, regardless of what party I voted for. Yes, the outcome has shocked many. No, there isn’t an ‘easy’ way out that will please everyone.

But surely the fact that the turnout was the highest in 25 years is something to be immensely proud of. Furthermore, the 18-25 year olds who, despite people’s preconceptions, recorded a turnout of 72% (unverified). Exercising your democratic privilege is something we should all do, regardless of party preference. Not forgetting the prominent date, reminding us not to take our rights for granted. 

I, like many young girls, feel more connected to politics when seeing powerful women dressed in suits with briefcases walk into parliament and represent us. Now that there is greater representation of women across most parties, I am confident that I am being spoken for which in turn encourages me to get involved. Even if that just means watching a televised debate where Jeremy Paxman has a go at the leaders just because he, well, can.

And let’s not forget the greater representation of other minority groups within politics. Ruth Davison, leader of the Scottish Conservatives announced her engagement to her partner, Jen Wilson in 2016. Kezia Dugdale, leader of the Scottish Labour party came out in 2016. My local MP is also openly-gay and no matter what anyone’s political preference is in this constituency, I know everyone feels proud to have a progressive MP representing us at Westminster. Over all there were 222 open LGBT party representatives campaigning for election as a local MP in 2017. 222. In 2015 there were 130, with 32 elected and holding seats in parliament. 

These are seriously exciting times. Our second female prime minister, with 207 female MP’s now in parliament, not forgetting four other female party leaders (6 if you include Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour) and 222 LGBT party representatives. These figures show that no matter how you voted, you voted for progression. You did your bit for the women and LGBT members of the political world. This is progression happening before our eyes therefore, we ALL won. Be proud. Be empowered. 


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