This week marks the halfway point of the election campaign. With two and a half weeks to go, here is an update on what’s happened so far.
On Tuesday, Corbyn and Johnson went head to head in a TV debate on ITV in what was coined “the most depressing televisual event since the Game of Thrones’ finale”. The debate was unfocused, rickety, and lacked substance. Possibly the most depressing part of the debate was when Johnson reluctantly lumbered over to Corbyn and begrudgingly shook hands in the name of “kinder politics”. During the debate, Johnson sounded like a broken record unable to discuss anything other than Brexit and could not seem to fathom Corbyn’s neutral stance on the matter. On the other hand, Corbyn just wanted to talk about the NHS, jumping the gun and introducing the topic before it even came up via an audience member’s question. The Conservatives found themselves in trouble yet again after they misled the public by masquerading as an independent fact-checking service on Twitter, claiming to fact check the Labour Party.
Following I’m A Celeb was the Party Interviews at 10pm, this was ITV’s response to the Jo Swinson’s threats for legal action after not being included in the primary debate. The interviews included party leaders from the Lib Dems, SNP, Brexit and the Greens and were equally underwhelming and uninformative. The lack of debate and childish questions left audience members dissatisfied and unimpressed.
The BBC Question Time made headlines this week after an audience member criticised Labour’s claim that his over £80,000 salary would cause him to be counted in the top 5% of earners in this country, claiming he’s ‘not even in the top 50%’. The IT consultant criticised Labour’s plans to tax the top 5%, and then continued to call Labour out as “liars”. However, an annual income of £80,000 would firmly put someone in the top 5% of UK earners. Labour’s tax policy has been met with anger, frustration but more notably with confusion with a lack in understanding in how wages will be taxed under a Labour government.
The Liberal Democrats launched theirmanifestoon Wednesday. The launch seemed to not focus on their policies per se but rather on the change in campaign strategy. Jo Swinson is no longer in the run to be Prime Minister but rather is fighting to lead on the backbenches voting “issue by issue”. Labour launched their manifestoon Thursday and it was met equally with praise as it was with criticism. The 105-page manifesto has been criticised for being unrealistic and too costly, but economists have rallied behind Corbyn signing a letter that was published in the Financial Times. The letter called for “a serious injection of public investment” and said that Britain needed greater state involvement.
Labour’s Grime4Corbyn campaign re-emergedwith a refreshed roster of artists such as MIA, Lily Allen, Ken Loach and Emeli Sandé. The campaign aims to encourage young people to register to vote and does so quite successfully. Stormzy took to Instagram to encourage young voters to register and subsequentially caused a huge 351k spike in registrations only a day before the deadline.
Recent polls continue to put the Conservatives in the lead, but the recent increase in young registered voters may shift the tides.