In the second instalment of our general election series, Johnny Thalissites tells Epigram why students should vote Conservative on 8th June…
You might not be a Conservative.
In fact, if you’re a student, you probably are not a Conservative.
That is OK – and I probably won’t convince you right here, in Epigram, that the Conservatives are a ‘one-nation’ party that cares about the rich and the poor alike. Even if income inequality is at its lowest level for thirty years; even if NHS funding continues to rise (by £8bn during this parliament); even if Britain continues to contribute more money to foreign aid, at 0.7 per cent of GDP, than any other country.
Hell, Theresa May is even set to cut international students out of net-migration figures. Look (!) – this is, literally, a ‘Tory’ government acting sensibly on a student issue.
Thalasittes featured in the Epigram and UBTV ‘#HugATory’ video
But none of this matters…you don’t need to be a Conservative. Actually, just this once, all you need to do is vote Conservative. And it’s for the national interest.
Here’s why: whether you supported Remain or Leave, Britain has to leave the European Union. To do otherwise would fatally undermine our democratic processes.
So, that is clear – and, therefore, the defining issue at this election becomes: which government is best placed to deliver Brexit? This is where the national interest becomes clear.
Leave won narrowly, promising to ‘Take Back Control’ of laws and borders.
But the Single Market – the European Union’s most influential institution – is built around the ‘free movement’ of goods, services, capital and persons.
Free movement of goods and services requires legislative uniformity. So, if we stay in the Single Market, we cannot make our own laws. Meanwhile, free movement of persons requires that we cede control of our borders.
This is why, for example, the Liberal Democrat position – of a second referendum, staying in the Single Market and so on – is incompatible with delivering Brexit. This is also why, for example, the Labour position – with Jeremy Corbyn advocating leaving the Single Market, but some Blairite moderates opposing the Leader of the Opposition – is incoherent.
Theresa May and the Conservatives, on the other hand, can deliver Brexit.
A Conservative government will leave the Single Market, whilst continuing to be an international nation keen to play a positive and active role in global affairs. This means strengthening ties with the UN, NATO and the G7.
May’s government will go on to seek the most ‘frictionless trade’ possible with the European Union. Theresa May has set out her intention to guarantee the rights of EU nationals, too.
To negotiate with the European Union requires competence and experience. Theresa May has these qualities. Indeed, May was the longest- serving Home Secretary in a century – and she campaigned for a Remain vote.
She is, crucially, a pragmatist, who will champion the national interest.
Britain must be united in negotiations, under strong and stable leadership, with clarity of purpose.
How can a Labour party divided, or a Liberal Democrat party irreconcilable, possibly unite to deliver Brexit? Labour’s leadership – rightly – wants to leave the Single Market and secure employment protections, but has one hand tied behind its back by dissenting, centrist MPs. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats’ support for a second referendum would fatally undermine negotiations, encouraging the European Union to make impossible demands of Britain, in the hope that voters would reject any deal and, thus, rebound unhappily into the club.
Every vote for Labour or the Liberal Democrats will embolden the European Union. If the British government is unenthusiastic about Brexit, unclear about Brexit or, worse still, divided over Brexit – the European Union can play on these ambiguities and rifts, driving a harder bargain at every turn.
A Conservative government with a strong mandate will, instead, demonstrate that Britain stands united and clear in its aims. This will strengthen Britain’s hand in negotiations.
This is why, to get the best possible deal for Britain, – even just this once, at a time of unique national significance – I urge all students to vote Conservative, for the national interest.
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