General Election 8th June

On the 18th April 2017 Theresa May announced a snap election. On the 8th of June polls opened to the British public, allowing them to select a party to led us into the future of a nation away from the European Union.

May believed that the Conservative Party were in a position of strength that would win them a majority. Thus, she believed that she would have a better hand for negotiating a Brexit deal. However, the election resulted in a hung parliament, whereby no party received a majority. The Conservatives were the largest party but failed to achieve the 326 seats required for a majority government. The Conservatives lost 13 seats. Labour gained 30 seats. SNP lost 21 seats. The Liberal Democrats gained 4 seats. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) gained 2.

 

Notable Events of the Election Results:

  • Paul Nuttell stepped down as UKIP leader after the Party failed to win any seats.
  • Alex Salmond, who served as First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014 lost his seat to the Conservative candidate.
  • Former Liberal Democrat leader nick Clegg lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam to the Labour candidate.
  • After a third recount, it was announced that labour had taken the Kensington seat from the Tories for the first time since the creation of the constituency in 1974.

 

What Happened After the Results were Announced?

Theresa May visited Buckingham Palace at 12:30 BST on the 9th of June to request permission to form a minority government. After prominent parties stayed true to their pre-election statements of not forming coalitions with the Conservatives, Theresa May turned to the DUP.

 

Any Questions:

More than 1600 people requested tickets to the BBC’s Any Questions scheduled on the 9th of June. However, only 300 were able to get tickets. The panel consisted of Jon Ashworth (Labour MP for Leicester South), Brandon Lewis (MP for Great Yarmouth), Tim Montgomerie (writer for The Times and creator of the ConservativeHome website) and Polly Toynbee (columnist for The Guardian and supporter of the labour Party).

 

Noteworthy Moments:

  • Brandon Lewis supported Theresa May’s decision to call for a snap election and even deemed it ‘necessary.’ He showed full support for May’s administration but also displayed hesitancy towards a DUP coalition.
  • Conservative Tim Montgomerie denounced Theresa May and her ‘failed vision’ of a new Conservative Party. Montgomerie stated that the Prime Minister and her advisers had made a mistake in calling the snap election without a manifesto. The political activist even went as far as to call for her to step down. Most memorable of the event was Montgomerie’s prediction for another election in the near future.
  • Jon Ashworth called the post-election Conservatives ‘weak and unstable’. Ashworth also stressed his concerns about the potential of a Conservative-DUP coalition. Ashworth stated that the uncertainty of this coalition was worrying but more importantly that the DUP did not represent the people of his constituency in Leicester South. Ashworth announced that at least with the 2010 Cameron-Clegg coalition the British public knew ‘what they were getting’ as the Liberal Democrat candidates had campaigned in his constituency and across the UK with a manifesto. However, Ashworth emphasised that DUP did not.
  • Polly Toynee commended Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his success in gaining seats and in the party’s appeal to youths, despite the demonization in the press.

 

To hear the opinions of the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party candidates listen on the Insanity Radio News Mixcloud.
Disclaimer: All candidates from the Runnymede and Weybridge Constituency were invited to the Big Debate on Friday 26th May and to an interview with Insanity Radio afterwards. However, the Conservative candidate was unable to stay for the interview and the UKIP candidate could not attend either.

A Conversation with Sir Ben Kingsley

Tuesday 6th, Royal Holloway were fortunate enough to host a conversation with Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA and Golden Globe winner, Sir Ben Kingsley. His talent and popularity was shown in both the waiting list for the event and the number of individuals who brought books and films for Sir Ben to autograph at the meet and greet afterwards.

Despite, his overwhelming success with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and later within the film industry, Kingsley maintained an air of humbleness. Frequently, Sir Ben thanked his early work with the RSC for all the opportunities it provided him with. He then stayed to meet fans and answer any questions he had.

Kingsley’s acting career is immensely diverse; ranging from Shakespeare’s Twelfth night, the psychological thriller Shutter Island, Marvel’s Iron Man 3, his lead role in Gandhi and many more. However, the event hosted by Professor Robert Eaglestone and Professor Barry Langford, both members of Royal Holloway’s Holocaust Research Institute, focused on Kingsley’s involvement in the representation of the Holocaust. The night looked at his roles as Otto Frank in Anne Frank: The Whole Story and as Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List, amongst others.

The Debate Over Representing the Holocaust

There is significant debate regarding whether it is moral or appropriate to attempt to portray the Holocaust on film. It is possible to accurately depict the horrors experienced? Will it desensitise us to human atrocities? How will Holocaust survivors feel about their stories being retold?

Originally, I too was amongst these skeptics. However, the Conversion with Ben Kingsley event began to reform my opinions. Perhaps with the right production, cast and research it would be possible, and an important tool in reminding forthcoming generations how important remembering the Holocaust is.
For me, the most harrowing part of the evening came from an anecdote Sir Ben told. Whilst filming Anne Frank: The Whole Story, a close friend of Otto Frank surprised Kingsley on set. After watching some of the filming his visitor commended Sir Ben Kingsley for bringing his dear friend to life. It was with the utmost sympathy, respect and caution that Kingsley approached his roles within Holocaust media.

In particular, his close relationship with Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, allowed him to provide an authentic, emotional and personal portrayal in Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story.

Overall, the event was eye-opening and incredibly engaging. I heard nothing but praise for the actor and the event at the reception afterwards.

For further information on upcoming events look on Royal Holloway Holocaust Research Institute’s website or the Royal Holloway events page.