Two parties, both alike in lack of dignity, in fair Great Britain, where we lay our scene, will vie for the votes of the British public for the third time in four years, resulting in the possible election of the fourth prime minister within the same timeframe. And to this, I say (in the words of the exasperated elderly woman upon hearing of the 2017 snap election in the famous BBC News Clip), “You’re joking – not another one!”
But alas, despite the conglomerate of court jesters that populate parliament, they were not joking. On the morning of 13 December, we won’t just be opening our advent calendar doors, or last-minute cramming for an afternoon exam, but awakening (possibly) to a new British Government. Nothing really embodies the Christmas spirit quite like a political debate over the future of Great Britain. I’m being serious: would it really be Christmas if chatter around the dinner table didn’t eventually descend into a heated discussion over politics with some distant relative (you know the one)?
Nowhere will a battle between two parties vying for power be more fiercely fought than in our very own constituency of North East Fife. But the two horses in this race are not the same two that dominate the two-party system. The battle for the North East Fife seat, or should I say throne, will be fought between the Lib Dems and the SNP.
The seat was ousted from the grasp of the Lib Dems last election by a mere two votes in favour of SNP MP Stephen Gethins. Thus meaning, fellow friends, Fifers and countrymen, during the upcoming election, in no place more so than in our very University town will your vote count more or be so vital in determining a constituency’s outcome.
Furthermore, considering that around half of the population of St Andrews are students (granted not all of whom are eligible to vote), it’s also fair to say that the student vote will be a key factor in shaping the outcome of our constituency. And as students, it’s important to note that we can be registered to vote in both our home and university constituency, allowing us to choose in which we will cast our vote in the forthcoming election.
Both the SNP and the Lib Dems are running a campaign of opposition to Brexit and will be vying in the constituency for this titular student vote. It appears that it has taken exactly nine years for students to forgive (or forget) the Lib Dems betrayal of their support in 2010 when they backtracked on their promise of free university tuition as soon as they got into power. But as the saying goes, let bygones be bygones.
The Lib Dems are a changed party now with a new leader. They’re a shining beacon of sensibility: the light slicing through the chaos of British polarized politics to speak to you, the moderate, commonsense person, as the moderate, commonsense party. But, before you rush out to the polls and vote Lib Dem, we must remember that all that glitters is not gold, and all that’s wrapped in Lib-Dem-yellow is not centrist – and that Jo Swinson is no centrist.
One merely needs to peruse her parliamentary voting records to deduce that there’s something rotten in the party of the Lib Dems. Swinson voted against increasing benefits in line with inflation; voted 25 times against increasing welfare spending; and voted 11 times for the bedroom tax – a tax that penalised those with disabilities. In fact, Swinson’s voting record is more in line with the Tory Party than that of Hunt or Gove as Swinson has voted with the Tory whip more times than either of these two. And if you’re still convinced that Swinson is the moderate flower, and not the right-winger under’t, why not let the serpent herself persuade you? Last year, Swinson wrote an article for the famously moderate paper, The Daily Mail , in which she argued for the erection of a statue in Parliament of fellow female conservative and matriarch of the right-wing – Margaret Thatcher.
If your heart, however, beats still for Corbyn, whose vegetable patch of socialism is still ripe for your picking, it may be of some comfort to know that while a Labour win is highly unlikely in our constituency, the SNP have vowed to back a minority Labour government in Parliament if their conditions are met. By contrast the Lib Dems have completely ruled out any form of coalition with Labour (at the time of writing).
So, as we hurtle closer and closer to Election Day, you may feel that there’s small choice in rotten apples, but it’s important to remember that some apples are more rotten than others, so exercise your democratic right and vote lest something wicked this way comes!