To describe British Politics as being in a transitional phase might not really do the current situation justice, but there is a lot going on in most of the larger political parties and whilst on the surface some of it may seem cause for doom and gloom, I think that by digging a little bit below the surface we have a real opportunity to shape the landscape of politics in Britain.
Starting in the most obvious place, as of yesterday we now have a new Prime Minister in Theresa May. Arguably the best of a bad bunch, she has already started to make an impact with Cabinet reshuffles being announced in some key, and often controversial roles, including Foreign Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Education. There has also been more announcements in respect of the creation of the Department for Exiting the European Union, the government department which, as the name suggests, will steer us through the process of formally leaving the European Union.
Of note, and something which has been cropping up in various papers of a typically left wing leaning, is that when Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair in 2007 Theresa May was a leading voice in suggesting that a snap-election take place. Unsurprisingly, I do not imagine we will see Theresa May volunteering this option now, unless she intends for it to be carried out with such speed as to catch Labour, UKIP and the Green Party in the middle of their own Leadership elections.
Moving on to Labour, about who there is probably the most to say, they find themselves in the middle of what to all intents and purposes could be called a civil war. Short of throwing accusations around, the media and much of the Parliamentary Labour Party (the MPs) want Jeremy Corbyn out, claiming he is unelectable. I have already touched on this subject before, but since then the Labour National Executive Committee (the people that oversees the party’s policy-making process) have agreed to let Corbyn stand in the leadership election by virtue of being the current leader, but promptly came to a decision that many of Labour’s newest members, who joined for £3 in the run up to the leadership election in September 2015, are unable to partake in the leadership election this time around, reserving that right for members who belong to the £25 bracket.
You do not need to be a cynic to come to the conclusion this is to prevent the newer members again voting Corbyn in again, and is further evidence that the Labour Party MPs feel they are better positioned to decide what Labour is and is not, as opposed to it’s members.
As I mentioned earlier, UKIP and the Green Party are also undergoing leadership elections, with the UKIP election taking place on 15 September and the Green Party election results being announced on 2 September. The reasons behind these elections are varied however, with Nigel Farage deciding to step down as UKIP leader after the European Union referendum, whilst the Green Party hold regular leadership elections in line with it’s own internal policies.
Whilst all this is going on, only the Liberal Democrats have found themselves with no real controversy or movement going on and Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has been able to concentrate on addressing the matters in the news recently, such as the Chilcot report, without worrying about his position as party leader.
With everything that is going on, many of the parties are in a position where your view should matter, and should be heard. This should really be the case at all times, but more so now. Whatever Party you have ‘declared’ for, ensure you are taking any opportunities you are given for deciding on your Party’s stance on any given policy. I cannot comment on all the parties, but I know that with the Green Party, policies are discussed at the Annual Conference, with the order that the policies are discussed in voted on in advance to ensure the most popular topics are discussed first. Though I cannot comment with any great certainty on the Labour Party, it would seem fairly easy to conclude that the policies they make will vary wildly depending on if Jeremy Corbyn is leader or not.
If you are not a member of a party, perhaps you may wish to consider joining one. Again, I cannot comment with any great certainty on other parties membership costs, but the Green Party have memberships such as student, low income and even the newly introduced International Membership which all offer reduced costs on joining.