By Louie Renardel de Lavalette
— On May 7th, the British people voted for the 56th parliament of the United Kingdom, and the results came as a defeat to many. David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, remained the Prime Minister.
With a staggering 331 seats, the Conservative Party won 99 seats more than the Labour, leaving many British AUC students feeling surprised and defeated.
“I was so surprised to find out that so many people voted for the Tories. I have never even met someone who would vote conservative!” said Hannah Roiter a second year from London. Roiter wanted to vote for Green herself, but ended up voting for the Labour Party instead. She explained that voting for the Green Party would not have made a difference, for there was never a chance that her constituency would elect a Green seat. “I think the problem is that most people cannot vote for what they really want to. You have to make a tactical vote based on what can win, and what you don’t want to win,” Roiter said.
“There is no proper representation out there, you just have to vote for the lesser of two evils, and that is not a form of government I would like to vote for,” added Tiana-Alexandra Tomic, a third year from London.
For Tommy Maaiveld, a third year from Essex, his antipathy towards the conservative and right-wing parties was such that he considered drastic measures. “I would vote for the Scottish National Party if it would have meant that the Tories and UKIP didn’t get the seats,” he said. “It’s a shame they did though.”
Daniel O’Gorman said he would like to see radical change in the British election system. O’Gorman, a second year from London, like the other students, supports the Green Party, as they are the most left party that had a candidate in his constituency. However, his constituency was one where the Conservative Party always wins, which added to the anger of O’Gorman.
“It wouldn’t be far off the mark to call me an anarchist, and the other day Westminster anti-terror police advised that the public should report any anarchists to their local police,” O’Gorman said. “New government policies also include preventive measures towards any protesting, be that on the streets, in print or even on social media. It’s not just austerity that will hit most people hard whilst the higher classes prosper – freedom of speech and legitimate forms of protest are being criminalised. This is reactionary, if not authoritarian, and that’s the kind of country where I do not want to live.”
Despite these sentiments, O’Gorman said he would not rule out returning to England after AUC. “My family and friends reside in Britain, so I am highly likely to return at some point,” he said. “And even more likely if things begin to erupt. Viva la revolution!”