Understanding British Politics


During our stay here in the United Kingdom, my classmates and I have witnessed two monarchs and three Prime Ministers thus far. Being here during this time of heightened political contention has made for a very interesting understanding of British society. It seems that now, more than most times, with the exception of the years following Brexit, British people are at a strong political divide in hopes for some stability for their government. Yesterday, we attended Parliament to watch a debate in the House of Commons. This included some harsh splits of opinion between the Labour and Conservative parties, increasing tension about the demand for a general election, and disagreement about what action to take with Britain’s relationship with Iran during this time. Watching how they debate and respond to each other live helped us all to gain a better understanding of the issues really facing this country right now. Many times, the cost of living crisis was brought up and addressed, with Labour party members pointing out the Conservative’s failure during their party’s time of power to aid this ongoing issue. As Britain goes through more political changes and stability, tensions rise and patience decreases from the people who want something real to change. Coming from America, which is a country known for its harsh political partisan divide, it is interesting to see this type of dynamic go on somewhere else. Unlike America, democracy of choosing leaders does not exist in the exact same way. In order for Labour to have a Prime Minister from their own party, there would need to be a general election to reallocate seats in the electorate, which is currently made up of a majority of Conservatives. As Liz Truss steps down from office, we now see Rishi Sunak stepping up to the job. With Britain’s third PM in 6 weeks, people are impatient and hoping for a better outcome from this new leader. It has been intriguing to live in London during all of this, and get to talk to real citizens about their opinions on everything that is happening. Although it may not be a flourishing time in British history, it is certainly an interesting one.