The general election is only a few weeks away. This morning, at the University of Bradford, Jeremy Corbyn announced the Labour Party’s manifesto. A manifesto which in Labour’s own words is ‘For the many not the few’. The launch of this manifesto seems like the perfect opportunity to address my own opinions on the snap general election.
Since I was born I have lived in Barnsley. Barnsley is often described by the media as a small mining town in the heart of South Yorkshire. Within Barnsley, the main constituency is Barnsley Central and is considered to be a Labour safe seat. To anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time in our small town, it is not difficult to understand why this is the case. Walking around our currently half-demolished town centre, the level of poverty here is obvious to everyone. People within Barnsley are suffering more than ever, arguably as a direct result of the current Conservative government and their policies. Since September I have been living in York to study for my degree and coming back to Barnsley after spending a considerable amount of time in York, the difference in wealth is astonishingly clear.
The new Labour manifesto focuses strongly upon starting to support the weakest in society, as well as the vast majority of the public, whilst reigning in the richest in an attempt to redistribute wealth. They plan to do this through improving the education and health systems as well as beginning to renationalise public services. One of the biggest promises that Jeremy Corbyn has made is to increase living wage to £10 an hour. This increase in living wage is an increase which is desperately needed by the large amount of people who currently are struggling just to get by and who are relying upon donations such as food banks. Food banks have become a necessary part of many people’s daily lives, including many of our nurses.
The NHS is currently strained, almost to the breaking point. Across the country hospitals are running at full capacity, in a system where people can only able to be admitted once other patients have been discharged. This is in a system where there is also a lack of nurses and junior doctors available to run the wards to the high standards that we hope for in our hospitals. Barnsley Hospital is one of the hospitals being affected by the lack of funding within the healthcare system. A few years ago I was admitted to Barnsley Hospital for emergency surgery. Whilst I was there it was shocking to witness that because of the debt surrounding the hospital, there were entire wards completely closed dow. During my stay post-op I was moved into one of the wards which, the day before was empty. The ward in question had been re-opened to deal with the high intake of patients over the weekend. Two nurses covered this entire ward of new patients alone for the two days I spent there. The nurses in question provided me with excellent care throughout my stay in Barnsley Hospital, as did every other member of staff who treated me during the week. However with more funding and more staff, Barnsley Hospital could be providing an even higher standard of care than they currently are. A Conservative government, going forward from 2017, would attempt to privatise an increasing amount of the NHS. However I strongly believe that the value of patients lives should not be judged upon what they can or cannot afford.
In September 2016 I became a full time undergraduate student at York St John university. Throughout my time living in York over the past year I have been faced with a wide range of political opinions. Currently in York Central, the MP is Rachael Maskell who is a member of the Labour Party. York Central is a highly contested seat between Labour and the Conservatives. The four other constituencies which are under The City of York council are all currently Conservative held seats, including York Outer. When taking into consideration the average household income within York this is not a surprising fact. The Conservatives are widely known as the party of the wealthy. However within York there is also a large student population as a result of being a city with two universities. The majority of students now are surrounded by debt after taking out loans to cover their education, myself included.
Currently, as government statistics suggest, it is the younger voters who have the power to sway the results of the election. 18-25 year olds are the demographic which have been proven as the least likely to vote or even register to vote. In regards to the general election in June, it is vitally important that they do register, as various polls suggest that this demographic is vastly in support of Jeremy Corbyn and a new Labour government. This is not surprising when increase in tuition fees and the withdrawal of bursaries over the last few years is taken into consideration.
The last day to register to vote for the snap election is the 22nd of May. It is important to register to vote so you can have your say in the election.
Although there are many conflicting opinions between the main political parties, there is one message which is universally agreed upon: REGISTER AND USE YOUR VOTE.