After hours of vote counting, weeks of campaigning and years of political chaos, the 2019 General Election reached its conclusion in the early hours of Friday 13th December.
Just after five o’ clock in the morning, the Conservatives passed the 326-seat threshold and won the General Election, in a huge moment for British politics.
Though it was the result everyone had anticipated since the exit poll and beyond, it was a historic moment. Boris Johnson called the snap election to reaffirm total power over the country, and achieved exactly what he set out to do. Johnson played his campaign perfectly, triumphing with a firm majority of 80 and the party’s biggest since 1987.
It has been a month since the election, which feels like years ago with Christmas and a new decade welcomed since. The dust on British politics settled for a few weeks, but with the festivities over it’s back to business for Johnson the Conservative Party.
The first task of the decade is simple: Get Brexit Done. It was the Conservatives’ key plea (and seemingly their only one at times) in an election dominated by the UK’s exit from the European Union, a promise which gave them momentous victories in key battle constituencies.
Blyth Valley is a great example of this, with Ian Lewy prevailing to give the former mining area their first Conservative MP in 88 years. It was one of the first results of the night, one that sent shockwaves around the nation. That victory up north set the precedent for Johnson, showing the reform he would implement across the country.
Johnson is less than two weeks away from taking the UK out of the European Union and finally fulfilling the result of the 2016 referendum. David Cameron and Theresa May abandoned the aim long before they were close, but it looks like Boris will be the man to finally give 17 million odd people what they wanted.
Brexit has divided this country unlike anything else, living in a nation filled with more hate and toxicity than it has ever seen. In a matter of four years, we have gone further from being the United Kingdom than ever, with the image of a country united in the face of Nazi invasion during WWII more distant than ever.
It began with the lies from both sides of the referendum campaign, most notably the Leave campaign’s infamous battle bus which promised to send £350 million a week to the NHS. The division drastically escalated with the tragic murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in her constituency a week before the referendum.
As soon as the UK voted to leave the EU, discrimination rose to disgusting new levels. It’s not a matter of opinion, it’s facts. In the years since the referendum, racism has risen by 60%, hate crime based on both religion and sexual orientation has doubled and recorded ableist acts has shot up by 26%. This is not normal.
The hate this country has been filled with is scary to see, and to think this has all happened in a matter of years is frightening. What’s worse is that, while departure from the EU had been previously discussed, it was the Conservatives who called for the referendum and put the country through a possible fate outside of Europe.
Johnson has taken the first step in attempting to unite a broken nation, and with the support of 14 million voters he now has the necessary majority in Parliament. While he won the democratic vote and has democratic control, that is still just 21% of the general population.
In theory, the Conservatives have the backing of the country. In reality, just over a fifth of the population legally endorsed their beliefs and promises. What does that say about Britain? Has Johnson really united the country? No, not yet.
Winning the General Election was the first step, and gradually the Prime Minister will be regaining the trust and support of a nation torn and damaged by Brexit. It’s difficult to imagine what life after Brexit will be like, but sooner or later we will be moving on from this whole saga.
Once Big Ben strikes 11pm on 31st January 2020, attention turns to healing the wounds inflicted over the last four years. National unity will help us move forward and live in a kinder society, and we can hopefully end this decade as one United Kingdom. For as Winston Churchill once said:
“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”