One of the things that took away almost all of my attention Wednesday evening through Saturday afternoon was the 2015 UK General Election. I don’t think I’ve ever followed an international election this closely (even though I only just heard about it a week before election day), since the 2014 Referendum for Scottish Independence and the 2013 Iranian Presidential Election. These were my takeaways:
1. I was immensely enamored, and am still wowed, by the figure of Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister and leader of the SNP. This article really puts it into focus: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/02/nicola-sturgeon-im-the-boss-now
2. On election day, I stayed up practically all night until almost all of the election votes had come in (paying attention to the election returns from 2pm Thursday to almost 12/1am Friday)
First, the level of turnout all across Scotland for the SNP was AMAZING!
Second, I was especially awed by the election of Mhairi Black to British Parliament at ONLY age 20. That’s right, you heard me. 20!
Finally, I was amazed that so much change could happen in a system that is pretty well known for its stability. Compared to congressional and presidential elections in the US, parliamentary systems are more stable.
But to see leaders from UKIP, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats all resigning the day after the election was something I was surprised by. Add to that, the regained footing of the Conservatives, and the new influence of the SNP, coupled with the lost influence of Labour in both the UK (where it’s too far to the left) and Scotland (where it’s perceived as being too far to the right), and you have so much to consider!
This is what makes me want to go into politics for the US Foreign Service! Being able to not only look at the surface, and see how different outcomes could affect the US and US foreign policy, but also looking deeper (almost to a level of the resident of a country) to see just what those outcomes might be and how the citizens of a country might react/ what it says about them.