The results from the June 2017 UK General Election have offered hope.
Young people became more interested in politics, with 72 per cent of 18 to 34 year-olds coming out to vote, and the highlights did not stop there.
I think it was inspirational to see Jeremy Corbyn campaign so well as leader of the Labour party. He campaigned on values of decency, and responsibility to those who are less fortunate. It showed that one can run a compassionate campaign; politics doesn’t always have to be sleazy and dirty, or exploitative.
It also revealed bias in the UK’s media coverage. The media initially tried to sell us that Theresa May was “strong and stable” and Jeremy Corbyn was “unelectable”.
Taking a comfortable Tory position and turning it into a hung parliament – is this what “strong and stable” leadership looks like?
It came to surface that the BBC’s top bosses have strong ties with Conservative leaders and that across the board, there had been disproportionate negative coverage of Jeremy Corbyn since his appointment. It was when media firms were caught out in their biased coverage that Labour started to rise again in the polls.
The reason for such bias? One can only speculate, but the fact that the vast majority of media corporations are owned by three or four people, including Rupert Murdoch – who benefit massively from Tory policies and will likely continue to do so in the long-term, cannot be ignored. Even corporations such as Google – that have a lot of control over online media – pay little to no tax in the UK under Conservative leadership.
The campaign also revealed bias attributed to journalist self-censorship.
As the Canary article linked above states, when modern philosopher Noam Chomsky was recently interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Chomsky addressed the role of self-censorship by journalists.
“How can you know if I am self-censoring?” asked Marr, stating that he had never been censored by his bosses, or told what to think.
Chomsky responds: “I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying, but what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting.”
I hope whatever happens now, Jeremy Corbyn stays on as Labour leader.
I was also delighted to see the appointment of two Sikh MPs – one in my home town of Slough.
Tan Dhesi was victorious in the illustrious borough of Slough, and his appointment will see the first turban-wearing member of UK Parliament.
Dhesi, who replaces long-serving former Slough Labour MP Fiona McTaggart, faced stiff competition from the Tories. On the day before the election, Boris Johnson and Theresa May actually came round “my ends” sniffing around for voters. Dhesi not only fought them off but helped increase Labour’s majority lead here by 10,000 voters to 63 per cent. Meanwhile Preet Kaur Gill edged it in Edgbaston. I say “edged” but she actually won by 25,000 votes, becoming the first female Sikh MP in Britain.
I also found it inspirational to see Jagmeet Singh campaign so well. To independently set up a party from scratch – with no existing voter base – representing Sikh values, and obtain the amount of media coverage that he did takes some doing. I do hope this is not the last we see of the Panth Party.
I’m sure Jagmeet Singh learned a lot from the work he put in over the past few weeks and months. I’m sure his team did too, in fact, I think we all did; I certainly took a lot from his campaign.
At the time of writing, the plan for the future is unclear. A hung parliament has been confirmed, and May will preside while negotiations over a coalition take place. I understand that it could take weeks to find a solution and another general election is likely to take place in the near future. However, the seeds of a Labour resurgence may well have been sown in this general election.