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If nothing else, at least these results show there is hope

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When I saw the exit polls, and then the results in the morning, I wasn’t entirely shocked, though certainly in disbelief. I had seen speculation and polls that had predicted such an outcome, but they were relying on a youth turnout equivalent to that of those 65+, so I had dismissed it as a nice thought, but impossible.

I pointedly ignored what certain polls (Survation, YouGov) or my Twitter feed were implying, since I had learnt the hard way not to pin my hopes on my social media bubble.

These are the results of what had been my deepest, unspoken hopes. Not the most stable, but the “best” possible situation that we could have had for Labour. There’s no denying that the national uncertainty is concerning right now, no matter who you support. I didn’t want to cause chaos with my vote, of course I wanted a stable government, but more than that I wanted anything but a Tory one.

It is also wrong to say that this result is good for Labour – it’s ok, or rather, better than bad. So it’s certainly a rollercoaster of feelings this morning; I’m not happy about the hung parliament, but I am happy about the power of the progressive vote.

A lot of my own deliberation stems from the result in my home area, Canterbury. The result here was ground-breaking. Labour candidate Rosie Duffield not only beat our Conservative candidate of 30 years, Julian Brazier, but it was a historic victory in a seat that had been Conservative for 176 years. Various headlines are calling it one of the most shocking results of the night.

I campaigned strongly for such a result – I don’t fully support Labour, but I voted tactically. Doing so is not easy, but I felt that my moral conscience lay with the potential outcome of my choice, rather than my intention, and I wanted any outcome that wasn’t the sexist, homophobic, xenophobic Brazier. I actively encouraged, and I believe successfully persuaded, various people from my home to join me in doing so.

It was a desperate bid against the safest of Conservative safe seats, for I never believed it would actually work. I hoped for a weakening in his lead at most. I’m sure that somewhere under the presiding feeling of utter disbelief I’m happy about and proud of Duffield’s win. It’s a damning report for our political system that I’m finding it impossible to comprehend that I now have an MP who actually represents my views.

I think the focus on tactical voting has been key to the national results. On my YouTube channel I’ve been vocal, not necessarily about voting Labour, but about voting progressively and tactically – anything to get rid of the Conservatives. I feel I’ve definitely seen more discussion of tactical voting, and the so-called progressive alliance. The media tried to spin this election as Theresa May’s “strong and stable” leadership versus the “unelectable” Jeremy Corbyn, but it seems there has been a resistance against that. There has been a surge in the left, a movement less about politicians and particular parties, but about breaking down boundaries and truly working together to create the future we want.

I haven’t seen any official figures yet, but it seems that this is down to the youth vote. That certainly seems to be the case in Canterbury, where during term-time the population increases by two thirds; whether students decide to vote there defines the results, and most are saying that for once they came out in droves. There was speculation that the Brexit result would galvanise the youth, showing them the importance of their involvement. I think that this, and Corbyn’s appeal to the youth, has been key to the turnout and unexpected disruption of the political landscape.

Given how close the result is in so many constituencies, I think this effect will only increase. Voters have been shown definitively once again how important every individual is. It might be premature to say this, but I think, perhaps, this result marks a change in how people want our government to run. More than ever, there’s going to be calls for electoral reform in light of the particular need for tactical voting. Gone are the days that the youth can be categorically defined as politically apathetic. Something remarkable has happened here, and I believe people will feel more hopeful than ever.

For me personally, no more will I wonder whether I’m being naively optimistic – Canterbury went Labour and pigs can fly! Anything is possible!

The next few hours, days, and the lead up to Brexit negotiations will undoubtedly be nerve-wracking. What’s going to happen next, no one seems to really know. But momentous things happened yesterday, so if these results show anything, it is that there is hope.

 




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