'As a teacher I am very much in a minority for voting Conservative'
We asked four women who voted differently give us their election reaction.
‘As a teacher I am very much in a minority for voting Conservative, but I feel that I made an informed decision based on what I had read. I have been a strong supporter of the Tory party for a long time and, given the current situation with Brexit, I felt that I wanted to see the Conservative government follow through with their plans. The Tories are also the best government for the needs of my family and friends (many of whom are serving in the Armed forces) and although I feel Theresa May has made mistakes, certainly with the campaign, I still feel that she should continue as Prime Minister. I had read through the three main manifestos, and although Labour had some very promising ideas I could not see how any of their ‘promises’ to the youth could be upheld given the current financial climate. The outcome of the election, however, does not surprise me at all, but I am now concerned as to how the country as a whole will fare with such chaos and an unclear future. On a separate note I was thrilled to know that so many of the youth took this seriously and voted!’
Dr Laura-Jane Smith
Occupation: NHS hospital doctor
‘Waking up after the last general election and after the Brexit vote I felt a sense of hopelessness, alienation and despair. What kind of country was I living in? This morning things are very different. I have voted Labour for years, but have done so grudgingly on more than one occasion, feeling it was the best choice of a narrow offering. Yesterday I voted enthusiastically for Labour, and for Jeremy Corbyn. I woke up feeling hopeful and excited for a brighter future.
As an NHS hospital doctor, and regular foodbank volunteer I have watched people’s lives get harder and harder under the Conservatives. The system works for a very small number of the incredibly wealthy who have received tax breaks, whilst those on low and middle incomes have seen wages stagnate, the cost of living rise, and opportunities for education and training shrink. Hope has dwindled.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour manifesto offered a real alternative to the misery of the last few years of austerity. It had a fully costed plan of sustainable investment in our NHS, social care, and education system. It pledged to value education by scrapping tuition fees, to make work pay by providing a real living wage, and to invest in essential infrastructure of rail, water and energy. I fear for the future of the NHS in the hands of the Tories, who have underfunded, understaffed and undermined this essential safety net. They have already privatised large chunks by stealth and their plan to run it into the ground is sadly going to plan. Labour understands that illness and poverty are not personal failings, but consequences of a broken system, inequality and bad luck. People must be cared for during the most difficult and vulnerable times of their lives.
The conservative campaign was empty, dishonest and cruel. Teresa May was unconvincing, repetitive and cold. The Conservative manifesto offered more of the same, accompanied by bizarre regressive pledges such as bringing back fox hunting. It felt out of touch and selfish. There was a clear choice in this election and what gives me hope is that so many people ignored the messages of the media and saw Jeremy Corbyn for what he is, a man with integrity, compassion and incredible resilience. Our European neighbours also see him as a better ally than Teresa May, crucial for the upcoming Brexit negotiations. People voted on issues, not sound bites. The number of young people registering to vote, and getting involved in grassroots campaigning, gives me hope that this is just the start. We now have a hung parliament, and the near future will be complex and difficult. But there has been a shift, and commentators must now take seriously a progressive left political agenda. I am excited and ready to get involved.’
Occupation: landscape designer
Voted: Lib Dem
‘I voted for the Lib Dems but only just. It was between Labour and the Lib Dems for me right up until I put the cross in the box. Jeremy Corbyn is my Labour candidate and although I am now glad he won the seat by such a big majority I felt unable to vote for him yesterday, mainly because of his approach to the EU Referendum. I felt, and still feel, that had he been a stronger supporter of Remain, and campaigned as hard for that as he did for this General Election, we wouldn’t be about to leave the EU (whether that’s a ‘soft’ or a ‘hard’ exit).
I also feel that the Lib Dems’ more moderate economic approach coupled with their strongly progressive social standpoint is aligned more comprehensively with my own political views. I find some elements of Labour’s approach to economics unconvincing. Given the blinkered, aggressive austerity imposed by the Tories, their pushing through of the Brexit agenda, and my lack of faith in the personalities who make up the proposed cabinet, there was no way I was going to vote for them.
Right now I’m not sure what to make of the result, it’s still unclear what will actually happen. I’m glad that the cynical gamble that was taken by Theresa May in calling this election, and the subsequently shambolic campaign run by the Tories, have been rewarded with a defeat of sorts. Nobody should ever bank on winning an election. If Brexit showed us anything, it’s that.
I know that “uncertainty” created by the result can be detrimental to economic stability, at least temporarily, so I can understand that risk. But I do feel hopeful about the possibilities for the future. Either a minority Tory government will have to soften its approach to the Brexit negotiations, and perhaps also to many of its domestic policies. Or there will be some sort of coalition that could present a politics that more closely reflects the needs of everyone in society, and attends to the huge problems in the NHS, social care, and education system. One can always hope. I also hope that the Lib Dems continue to grow stronger and occupy the socially progressive middle ground to present another alternative to the two main parties in Westminster, which now seem more polarised than ever.
Overall the national support for Labour (rather than the Tories) has been heartening, given a seeming drift towards the right in recent U.K. and European politics. It’s also hugely cheering that UKIP were practically wiped out. Nobody needs their vitriolic brand of basic hate politics.’
Occupation: florist and small business owner
‘I am a member of the Labour Party and have previously voted Labour because fundamentally, I believe that we are all responsible for, and have a duty of care towards, each other. I felt that by producing such a strong, reasonable and fully-costed manifesto, Labour showed they respect the electorate and have hope for the future. Jeremy Corbyn is, in my view, one of the last decent politicians and responsible for huge numbers of young people getting passionate about and involved in politics, which should be celebrated.
Theresa May’s dismissive approach to Human Rights Law is so dangerous and makes me incredibly sad. I feel the same about the Conservative Foreign Policy, as well as the horrible treatment of Junior Doctors and the NHS in general, plus their mishandling of the whole Brexit mess. Also that ridiculous and totally patronising ‘there’s no magic money tree’ line drove me mad!
I’ve got great admiration for the Greens and and the poor Lib Dems, but I would rather put my vote with a strong opposition where it can really make a difference! Who knows what will happen now?! Hopefully, this will encourage a ‘softer’ Brexit than was previously suggested. Regardless of the result, voter turnout was up which is amazing news and if more young people are getting engaged and using their voices then we’ve got a brighter future ahead. The failure of UKIP and a clear refusal by the country to turn to far-right politics in the light of recent terror attacks is something we should be very proud of.’