The Conservative party (the Tories) have been in power in the UK for the last 10 years. In that time there has been three different Prime Ministers and four elections. One in 2010,2015,2017 and 2019 and two referendums, one in 2014 on Scottish independence and one on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU in 2016.
In those 10 years of power homelessness has increased, food stamp and bank usage has increased, working class people’s wealth decreased and a global pandemic broke out which only strengthened the gap between the rich and the poor in the UK.
The Tories have notoriously throughout history been against the welfare state and have very individualistic beliefs. Their attitude throughout the years has been that your financial and living situation is down to you to fix with as little support as possible from the government. Although they have not scrapped the system overall, they’ve cut and stripped it to its bare bones. That was until the COVID-19 pandemic happened.
The pandemic forced the Tories to become more collectivist and to invest more money into the public and welfare state. The UK Government introduced the furlough scheme which initially was only meant to last a few months and cover 80% of workers wages if they were unable to work due to the pandemic. They also made grants available to English self-employed people and rate relief fund and provided extra money to the devolved nations of the UK so they could offer the same. But the Tories tried to strip back and stop these schemes until they faced extreme media and political backlash and were forced to keep them in place for longer.
Originally in March 2020 Boris Johnson wanted to take a herd immunity approach to the virus which would’ve seen over 300,000 people dying in order to achieve that number. People were outraged and as such lockdown was implemented. During the lockdown the Tories have given vital NHS contracts to private companies with ties to the party and its members even if the companies didn’t specialise in the relevant industry. Matt Hancock the Health Secretary for the UK was even found to have acted unlawfully in his handling of government contracts.
A huge spike in Covid cases was seen across the UK in September which scientists have linked to Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme in August after he announced that Monday-Wednesday for the full month restaurant meals would be cheaper in order to encourage people to go out and boost the economy again. There are talks of this scheme returning once the hospitality sector re-opens but the Tories have yet to accept full responsibility for the scheme’s role in the September rise in cases and deaths.
Continuously throughout the pandemic the Tories have made detrimental mistakes which have led to over 120,000 people losing their lives and millions of people being infected.
During the worst economic times of recent years where majority of people were either earning less or unemployed the Tory government actively voted against offering free school meals for children in poverty during school holidays and closures. Matt Hancock was one of the 322 MPs that voted against the initiative went on TV and said he was happy it was eventually introduced after Manchester United player Marcus Rashford took social action against the government but even then, their plans fell short as the £30 budget that was supposedly spent on these meals provided a lackluster and degrading parcel filled with single pieces of single fruit, a quarter of a bag of pasta and singular yoghourts meant to last families for a week. There was little to no nutritional value or substance to these packets or proper meals.
Now Boris Johnson has announced a roadmap out of lockdown and has promised all social-distancing measures will be no longer necessary by June 21st. By giving the nation similar false hope to what he promised at Christmas, can his words and plans really be trusted? And although the next UK general election is three years away going off the way Covid-19 has been handled so far will the Tories be able to sweep their mistakes under the rug and claim another victory? Or will the pandemic finally end their 10-year rule?