The morning of the British election results in my house was equivalent to that of rushing down the stairs on Christmas Day to open presents under the tree. In my household I was the only one who was nearly as excited as a school kid’s last day before the summer holiday.
The British elections had been on people’s minds a few months in advance. I remember sitting next to a man on a big red 91 bus on the way back from Trafalgar Square. He was a middle aged man from Barbados who had lived in London for eight years, holding a newspaper, discussing his frustrations with the country with his wife out loud.
I couldn’t help but overhear and interrupt him with a simple question: “who would you vote for then in the upcoming elections?” The man had no clue, jumping from a topic about Labour to Conservatives to UKIP.
I can say I lived in London for almost two years and if I had to go to that polling station I would probably have no clue either. I would have no clue because I would have had a major dilemma: is there a proper leader fit to run Britain? In my opinion, absolutely not. It is a similar dilemma I had when I had to go cast my vote at the Israeli elections.
Still, when it came down to election day, there was a lot of buzz about Miliband and Cameron being neck in neck in votes. The were was a lot of talk about the fear of the SNP holding Miliband down, Miliband’s face getting splattered all over the tabloids in the most unflattering way and the struggle of the Tories to secure votes and UKIP gaining momentum now more than ever. But let’s face it does anyone really like Farage and UKIP?
The buzz and the hype made it all seem that there was bound to be something different, that something big was going to happen. In my mind I could already see people protesting to get Cameron out of Downing if he considered the coalition between the SNP and Labour as illegitimate. However, Britain woke up to…Cameron again. Nothing had changed, Cameron was back at No. 10 and we were left heartbroken. Why? Because it was all the same when it seemed it was going to be different. Is Sturgeon really the bogyman? I wondered, even though I didn’t really think so. It seemed that Britain woke up believing Cameron was the bogeyman holding all the reigns. This time there will be no Lib Dems, this time it’s the Tories full on, Labour minus Miliband and 56 angry Scots ready to take on the Tories and a shot at independence one more time.
Where Is Britain Headed?
In the aftermath of the Tory victory, the secure overall majority and new line policies include: constituency boundary changes which will make it harder to get the Tories out of office, scrapping the Human Rights Act, less employment rights, a referendum on Europe, austerity, less privacy which means basically monitoring your citizens and what they are up to, welfare cuts etc. No wonder people are mad enough to riot, probably wishing the Lib Dems’ return.
Tory supporters are most likely to claim that when the Conservatives are in office there will be a better economy, a better funded NHS, talks of taxes and more taxes and welfare and more visible blonde hair. I am talking to you, Boris Johnson.
A Tory Britain And The Middle East
Opinions might be gloomy over Cameron’s return to Downing but what about the rest of us? What can a region like the Middle East expect of a Tory led Britain?
Probably not a great deal of support for Syrian refugees, Britain prefers financial aid rather than taking in more refugees like Germany.
Backing America up to a point on its ambitious adventures in the Middle East (the UK will probably not consider another mission like Afghanistan in a while). The British government has “little appetite for sending soldiers abroad” as The Guardian once mentioned.
And finally, an unsettling abundance of support to Mr. Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel.It is no secret that Cameron supports Israel, he is a close ally to Netanyahu. I don’t have a problem with Cameron supporting Israel, I have problem with Cameron’s support for Netanyahu.
In Israel, talks of the UK elections were a “hot topic”. Israelis gushed with pride that Cameron used similar tactics in securing results as Netanyahu did: using fear to drive people to the polls to vote Conservatives. Comparing the British fear of: ‘the Scots are coming!’ to the Israelis and Netanyahu’s fear: the Arabs were “moving in droves to the polls”. Let’s not forget both are credited for being great with the economy and yet I couldn’t find a cheap studio flat in London so I had to stand somewhere between the kitchen and my bed if I needed space which seems pretty similar to flat hunting in Tel-Aviv: annoying and expensive.
As funny as it is to compare the fear of Scots to the fear of Arabs in Israel (because Israelis will jump at an opportunity to showcase that racism exists everywhere), the Scots/Arab analogy is not what really bothers me. The fact that Cameron supports an extreme right wing government of Israel is a concern for me. Cameron certainly has shown a lack of consideration for the Palestinians and the lack of support to press on the matter of a two-state solution. Despite Cameron’s statements in the past about Gaza and how it should not continue to be a prison camp, he does support Israeli’s right to defend itself, claiming that it is the only democracy in the Middle East. I wonder if that is still the case with a newly formed extreme right-wing religious government of Israel especially after toying with the promises of a Jewish nation-state bill that puts Judaism as a priority and above democracy in Israel. It did not stop Cameron however, from gaining support among Jewish communities that were more favorable to the Tories than a Jewish Labour (Ed Miliband) opponent who is well known for condemning Israel’s actions against the Palestinians.
The Palestinians can therefore, certainly expect minimal support beyond financial aid from the Tory party which does not really go a long way in helping the Palestinians.
Cameron can navigate Britain to be an ally to Israel but also push Israel to negotiations with Palestinians. He can steer Britain to be less harsh to its British Muslim citizens and can still know where to push his hard line terrorism policies (that doesn’t border on racism). He can help both the Israelis and the Palestinians if he is a firm believer in human rights, but he cannot be a leader of a country that stands for democracy and freedom and remain as supportive of a Netanyahu government at the same time. But really, what can I expect of a man that wants to scrap the Human Rights Act? Absolutely nothing, good luck Britain!
Luckily, the only remaining optimism that I am clinging onto is one that is enabling every feminist and woman to be overjoyed by the fact that Westminster is admitting more women than ever before and the thought that every party except the conservatives is led by a female. Maybe the only thing I do look forward to with the Tories is Boris Johnson flapping his hair and his blunt jokes which I find amusing.