Enough is enough

8 Jun, 2017

Political mud-slinging has little effect on the electorate

The attack on London Bridge last weekend was the second significant attack in Britain within two weeks. As Manchester had united, so too did London as the news unfolded over the course of Saturday night. The overarching message from both cities has been of community, and getting on with day-to-day life to ensure that the impact of the attacks is limited only to the tragic deaths of those who lost their lives.

As citizens got on with their lives, so too did the leaders of our political parties. There was a day’s break in campaigning as a mark of respect from both May and Corbyn.However both delivered speeches that day that were labelled as politically charged by their respective opposition.

But what effect did their speeches, both on Sunday and in the days following, have on voters if any? Surely, when emotions are running high and the country is witnessing such troubling times, people look towards an individual to lead them through the dark times into a brighter tomorrow?

Well, not really. As both the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn seemed to point the finger at each other’s weaknesses, they essentially cancelled each other out. Some have labelled the speeches on Sunday as opportunistic, but frankly, the biggest opportunity was for either of the leaders to do something different and inspire the fearful citizenship to get behind them in this time of need.

“The people want to know how our Prime Minister (whoever that will be) will keep the people of this country safe from terrorists” – Amanda C.

Amongst the melee of manifestos, debates and social media noise where one party smears the other, Britain has learned to expect this behaviour. People felt that May and Corbyn stayed true to type, May delivering stern words and Corbyn adopting a more conversational stance. Neither approach has altered voters’ minds about who they will vote for today. It was a story of same old, same old.

It’s not that the electorate doesn’t care; their focus on security and anti-terrorism policies in both manifestos has naturally increased, it is just that the speeches delivered fell on “heard it all before” ears.

“Of course, since the tragic events the campaign has focused on security and rightly so. However, I do not like it when one party attacks another on this issue as it is far too important for politicking.” Margaret H.

The awful events, not the follow up political rallying, have caused voters to think more about these issues. Frustratingly, they’re left with more questions than answers. The Tory policies are seen by Britons as weak, but will Corbyn’s approach be any stronger? Corbyn’s suggested rise in policing numbers (which may well be a direct attack on May’s earlier reduction) is received positively, but many feel this is only part of the overall problem. May’s words of “enough is enough” have landed well with the UK population who have grown weary with a more stand-offish approach, but actions are required, not words.

The time for talking is over now, as Britain heads to the polling station. Whatever the result, actions will speak far louder than words.

Divided nations?

Divided nations?

By Julie Wittes Schlack In their 2016 book, Democracy for Realists, political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels assemble compelling evidence to support their central premise that “even the most informed voters typically make choices not on the basis of...