Saturday, 22 April 2017

What exactly do Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May supporters see in them (and the other)?

Theresa May vs Jeremy Corbyn
Theresa May vs Jeremy Corbyn

June 8 is the date for the next General Elections in the UK and for the first time in a very long time, the electorate have genuine options. No more the days of David Cameron and David Cameron-lite. In Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, UK citizens have two candidates that see the world in almost entirely different ways and have different visions for it. (I know there are other candidates and parties in the race but if we are being honest, most of them are no more than protest votes so I wont be focusing on them in this post. Maybe next time)

Campaigning has started in earnest and some supporters of both candidates have already shared more social media posts than would've been necessary for a nationwide campaign a few years ago. The intentions to help are undoubted but, too often, these post are overflowing with bias and just short of lying. If Theresa May is not being described as 'only interested in the wealthiest in the nation', Corbyn is described as a feckless and hopeless leader that is only useful for organising political protests. The honest truth is that both candidates actually want similar things for the country, albeit via different paths. But beyond this, these two are backed by armies of supporters. All equally convinced that their candidate is the right person for the job.

It's easy to dismiss people with opposing views but Brexit and Trump should have taught us that we would be doing that at our own peril. So, I think it is only right that consider what supporters really see in the two front runners.

With Theresa May, her supporters see a pragmatic and steady politician who has shown herself to be capable handling high profile positions. From her days as an opposition MP to her days in government (serving as Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities), May's supporters have seen a steady hand. They feel like she will improve on what exists and that she is genuinely trying to build a society that works for everybody. Not just the very wealthy.

With Corbyn, many of Theresa May's supporters see him as a disruptive maverick who is bent on throwing the baby out with the bath water. His integrity is never questioned but his ability and desire to lead is always up for discussion. They see him as a naïve optimist charting new frontiers that will take the country to somewhere it has never been before and should never be.

To Corbyn's supporters, he is something of a messiah. He is the figure head for the revolution they feel the country has needed for a very long time. The system is rigged and the Tories are a cancer that only Corbyn can remove. His track record on issues like the Iraq war and nuclear weapons is a major plus-point and the issue of leadership qualities doesn't get much airtime.

Corbyn's supporters see May as the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the UK establishment. She is 'more of the same' and a vote for her would be another reason to despair for the future of the country. They see her as divisive and only interested in her own personal gains. For example, some have said even this election is entirely about her and her personal gain, and nothing to do with the country.

However you look at it, both sides have valid points. With Brexit and the current state of world politics, the UK is at a crossroads and needs to decide on how it wants to define itself for the next generation. May is bent on building on what we have (whatever you think that is) and Corbyn wants to put a stop to that. Whatever you think of the options, please make sure you go out to vote. The only wrong choice here is not voting at all.


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