Introducing Election 2024

Introducing Election 2024
Digital Editor Ben Smoke introduces Huck’s election coverage and lets you know what you can expect over the next five weeks.

It’s been just under a week since Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took to the steps of Downing Street to announce that, despite giving assurances on national television just a week before, he was indeed calling a surprise election.

As Sunak made his speech in torrential rain he was drowned out by protestors blaring D:Ream’s Things Can Only Get Better – the theme tune to New Labour’s historic landslide victory over the Conservatives in 1997. An undignified start to the election only got worse as the Prime Minister jumped from gaffe to gaffe before promptly announcing he’d take a day off three days in (though later seemed to rescind on that announcement by going out campaigning).

All in all, it has been a somewhat chaotic launch to this cycle as the Conservatives look set to get pummelled in the polls in just a few weeks time.

With all that in mind, I wanted to take a second to write this piece to formally kick off our UK general election campaign coverage and to explain a bit more about what you’ll see on the site in the coming weeks.

In the 36 days that there are until the election, you will hear and see a lot of things. In the last few days alone the Conservatives have announced a new policy of National Service, seemingly on the hoof and then a triple lock plus pensions that will feel like a further kick in the teeth to young people already struggling. Labour, by contrast, have decided they’re both a party of business and a party of the workers, announcing a new deal for workers that has seemingly managed to piss off the unions they’d only just got back onside. Down in Dover, Farage declared war on the channel and the Lib Dems Ed Davey “accidentally” threw himself into shit-filled Lake Windermere whilst on camera.

The noise over the coming weeks will soon become unbearable as the election slowly reaches fever pitch. At the centre of it though, will be communities here and across the world who wait nervously for what July 5 will bring. Building on previous seasons of content like ‘At What Cost?’ and the ‘Season of Hope’, it’s those people, those stories and those realities that we will be covering.

Back in 2019, during the bruising, cold winter election that saw Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party win an almighty landslide, we ran a series called ‘Cut Out’. We asked writers from across the country to look at the impact of a decade of austerity measures on communities. Whether they were communities of colour, the LGBTQ+ community, rural spaces, the north, those with mental health difficulties and/or those experiencing homelessness, we learnt about the brutal realities of cutting the welfare system to the bone.

Read more from Cut Out 2019 here

CUT OUT

We’re relaunching Cut Out next week looking at the groups, people and organisations who have spent the last five years fighting, creating and resisting at the harshest edges of this last Conservative government. With no guarantee of what the next government may bring, even if, as is looking likely, it’s a Labour government, the knowledge, power and connections these groups have made through their campaigns will be invaluable to all striving for a better settlement. We’re so proud to give them a platform.

This election comes after a parliament where everything from trans rights to road taxes have been turned into a culture war issue. Expect this to be a key feature of the next few weeks as politicians and journalists play the hits - from ‘can a woman have a penis?’ to ‘fellas is it gay to not want the planet to burn up’ to ‘can’t even have a full english breakfast anymore without being put in jail because of woke’. For as laughable and ludicrous as much of the discourse is, it remains true that at the heart of each of these issues are groups of people, often simply trying to go about their lives. Elsewhere, swingeing policy announcements, like that around National Service, are rolled out with seemingly no regard or interest in the people who will be most affected by them.

In our new series of first person op-eds, ‘Missing Voices’, we’re going to try and counter that. Each week, you’ll be hearing from those whose voices are forgotten, ignored or spoken over in debates and announcements. From those at the centre of the immigration debate simply fighting for the safety and security that many of us take for granted day to day to young trans people whose very existence are used as a point scoring exercise by our most senior politicians, we’re creating a space to hear their stories, told their way. Indeed, we’ve already started, with a piece from Shabna Begum of Runnymede Trust on how British Muslims were being demonised for voting following the local elections just a few weeks ago.

British Muslims are being demonised for voting

Read more here

We’ll be diving into some of the key battlegrounds for the left - bringing back our series from the doorstep, ‘Knock Knock’, as well as revisiting some old friends. Elsewhere, there will be classic bits of Huck reportage, deep dives and profiles. Towards the end of the campaign we’ll be getting experts to weigh in on key bits of policy area from the main parties, as well as giving you the low-down on the major battlegrounds ahead of polling day on July 4.

There are a few surprises in there too and I hope I’ll be able to tell you about them very soon.

Of course all of this is happening against the backdrop of converging crises and horrors. Across the world war still rages in places like Yemen, Congo, Ukraine. The genocide in Gaza continues apace despite three rulings from the ICJ seeking to curtail Israeli aggression and a pending application for an ICC arrest warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu. The climate crisis continues to fuel extreme weather events, claiming lives here and abroad. Throughout all of our coverage, we’ll endeavour to centre these crises and horrors to ensure those in power simply cannot look away.

We are, of course, also extremely interested in hearing what it is you want to know about. Whose stories you want to hear, what issues you want to know more about, what politicians you want to know more about. Please drop me an email, and I’ll endeavour to do my best to get back to you all.

In the meantime, if you’d like to keep up with all things Huck do sign up to our Newsletter, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and you can help support grassroots, independent journalism by signing up to become a member of Club Huck.

See you all out on the doorsteps!

Ben

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