How are you doing this week? It's December now, which means the Christmas season has begun! Have you seen the Hitachi illuminations yet? They're quite nice this year.
Today I'll be talking about a hot British topic. Elections! As you might have heard, brits will go to the polls this month to vote for their favourite political party. It's all over British news. To be honest though, most brits think it's a shame that an election is taking place at this time - in December we're supposed to be full of Christmas cheer, but instead, this year conversation is dominated by election fever.
The British political system is quite unlike the American system, and more like the system in Japan. We elect local MPs ('members of Parliament') and whichever party has a majority of MPs wins. The main parties are the currently governing conservative party (right wing) and the opposition labour party (left wing), but there are many smaller parties also competing for power.
Because the UK is still debating how to (or whether to) leave the European Union, this is a major issue in the election. Some parties want to stay in the EU, some want to leave quickly, and some want to give the public another chance to vote on it. But there are other important issues aside from leaving the EU! Important election issues include the healthcare system, nationalisation of industries, climate change, wealth inequality, and so on. People are worried that if the conservatives stay in power, health care might not remain free. Young people especially are concerned about the effects of climate change in the future, and the price of education and housing.
From what I can tell, it seems that young people are getting increasingly involved in politics. Last time there was an election, my younger sister had no interest. But this time, after having studied education at university, she is a passionate supporter of the labour party, and the same is true of many of her friends. A lot of popular British celebrities have also voiced support for the left. There is quite a big generational divide in the country - young people are much more likely to support the opposition labour party, but older people are more conservative.
Because of this split in support, it's difficult to say who will win the election. The polls are also giving conflicting results. Personally, I hope that the current Prime Minister Johnson doesn't win, because he lies all the time and seems more interested in his own career than improving people's lives. I'd also like for the UK to be closer to Europe, and not too close to the USA.
I'll be casting my vote this year even though I live in Japan! When you live abroad, you can apply to vote by proxy, which means someone I trust will vote on my behalf. My mum will cast my vote for me on election day. I'm glad that I can participate despite living so far away, because it's really important for people in the UK and could change people's lives.
With the election being so close to Christmas, everyone feels like if their favourite party wins it'll be a great Christmas gift. So wish me luck! I hope I have a happy election day, but who knows what will happen.
I hope you enjoyed getting an insight into British elections. It's an interesting time for the country. If you have any questions about it, do feel free to ask any time! I'd be happy to answer.
Have a festive few weeks, and don't forget to sign up for our AEON Christmas party!