Christmas is cancelled, the UK is heading for another election instead. After months of political stalemate, Labour dramatically abandoned their resistance to an election, joining the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party to back the first Christmas election sine 1923.
On Thursday, pro-EU candidates announced they were ‘putting party politics aside’ as they launched the Unite to Remain alliance. Candidates have agreed not to contest each other in 60 seats at the General Election in order to avoid splitting remain voters. Lib Dems will have a clear run at 43 of the 60 seats in England and Wales, one of which will be Bath, whilst the Greens will have 10 and Plaid Cymru 7.
The announcement of the pact was met with mixed reviews, some individuals took to Twitter to argue the pact was ‘undemocratic’ and ‘denied voters of genuine choice’. Other applauded the parties for a level of cross-party working that is unprecedented in modern political history. The creation of the pact was seen as a pragmatic approach to a failed electoral system, one that largely favours big parties. All the parties involved have called for electoral reform and argue this is the only way to ensure that smaller parties are fairly represented.
The efficiency of this alliance has been questioned. The alliance itself claimed it can win at least 44 seats, denying Boris Johnson of an election win. John Curtice, a polling expert, argued that the alliance may have minimal impact seeing as many anti-Brexit voters would also vote for Labour.
Whilst many voters have seen this as an opportunity to tip the balance of power away from the Conservatives, a lot of the anger towards the pact is felt by those suffering from Brexit fatigue. Online, voters are calling for the election to be about more than just Brexit. Despite the media and the main parties wanting to frame it as such, this election will also be played on the NHS, the housing crisis and austerity, to name a few.
It remains unclear as part of the Bath electorate the actual impact this will have on our vote, because despite electing its first Green MEP at the recent elections, Bath has only ever been represented by a Conservative or Lib Dem MP. For the incumbent Wera Hobhouse, she might only have to reasonably fight a Conservative opponent for the vote, but potentially this was her only real opposition to start with.
If you’re eligible to vote you will be faced with certain choices. Will you side with the Lib Dems, calling to revoke to article 50; Labour who promise a new referendum with the option to remain or a credible leave option; or do you opt for Boris Johnson’s Conservative party who promise to get Brexit done? But if Brexit is not your main priority, consider looking past their Brexit mandate and look at just how they will tackle the wider issues the country has to face.