As a working class, former student, the Tories have never had a lot going for me.
In 2010, I was still in school, unable to vote, but aware of the politics that could shape my future. With the Lib Dems emerging that year as a strong voice, I secretly hoped that they would win the election. However, the year before we started college, my peers and I were forced to understand the reality of false promises, and were hit with the coalition that scrapped the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and hiked tuition fees.
In 2015, I could vote, and ensured that I did. At that time, the Blues had their airbrushed smooth-talker, whilst the Reds were stuck with someone who thought that engraving a manifesto on a gravestone was a good idea. I finally had a voice, but it was also a time when I was most politically uncertain.
I ended up voting for Labour that year with the bigger picture in mind. We do not only vote for a person to lead the country. We vote for their political party. In 2015, those who chose chiselled Cameron over Miliband, despite leaning favourably towards Labour policies, were left with not-so-strong-and-stable May. Boohoo.
We have had seven consecutive years of a Conservative government in this country, and I really hope that number does not grow. So, one day before the election, I present to you a list of ways in which the Tories made it all worse:
Scrapping the EMA, hiking tuition fees without a limit, and abolishing the university student maintenance grant are just a few ways in which the Tories have made higher education less accessible for young people in Britain.
At an earlier stage in a child’s education, major changes were made to the National Curriculum to fit Michael Gove‘s idea of a rigorous system. Gove ignored expert opinion, and completely overhauled the system, with limited support for teachers. Local authorities lost control of their schools, whilst Gove simultaneously pushed for free schools and the academisation of existing schools, who do not even need to follow the National curriculum.
Cuts to schools are leaving young children with larger class sizes, less classes and trips, and limited counselling services. These cuts are going to continue under a Tory government, widen the education gap even more, and leave the most vulnerable worse off.
- The NHS
Two weeks ago, I rang my GP for an appointment at 8am. The call didn’t go through, so I rang again four times, and was put on hold in a queue of 9 people. When I finally got through, I was given one of three appointments left for that day. The next advanced appointment was a month away. Sound familiar? This is what the NHS under a Tory government looks like. After researching and being unable to pinpoint when this new appointment system came about, I found that it was the only way GPs could cope with excessive cuts.
The Tories don’t seem to have a problem with the prospect of privatising our NHS. Think about paying to see the GP the same way we pay to see the dentist. *shudder*
Tory cuts across the board, including housing benefits, mental health services and Child Tax Credit have led to a rise in food bank use, rough sleepers and child poverty over the last seven years. Living in the world’s fifth largest economy, it is unsettling to hear about children, including those from working households, living in poverty.
- Security and Policing
In light of recent events, security in Britain is a very concerning issue for all of us. Since 2010, police officers and armed police have dropped, along with the Home Office Budget. Worries regarding our safety cannot be met with our protection and security services being cut.
- The vulnerable just lost
Cuts to the Disability Living Allowance, and overall changes to systems that were developed to support the most vulnerable, are leaving people without the help they need. Charities are working endlessly to fill the gap our Tory government created, but it is not always enough.
It seems that the Conservatives are only supportive of those who are healthy and wealthy.
Adding to this, Islamophobia in Britain had a sharp rise in 2015, and continues to do so, leaving children and young people vulnerable to faith related bullying in schools. Our media holds some responsibility for this rise in anti-Muslim sentiment. The conservative government’s refusal to implement the Leveson inquiry recommendations shows their lack of concern for ensuring responsible and accountable press in Britain.
Theresa May has also said that the Tories will scrap the Human Rights Act. How ironic that a party who say they care will abolish something which protects our rights from discrimination to torture.
All of this, and I haven’t even mentioned Brexit.
In the end, you have the right to vote for whoever you want. However, the Tories have had seven years to prove that they are worthy of your vote. With a higher national debt than when they were first elected, and the young and vulnerable worse off, they haven’t done a very good job of persuading me.
If you can vote tomorrow, please go out and vote. If you are as determined as me to not spend another four years under the Tories, vote tactically to ensure that your vote counts.
Find out more about voting tactically here.
You have a voice. Use it.
For the many, not the few.
For more information on party manifestos and voting, take a look at the links below:
- Tactical Voting Guide: how to make your vote count in 2017 election
- Labour Party Manifesto
- Liberal Democrats Manifesto
- Conservative Party Manifesto??
- What time do polls open and close? Election 2017 voting guide.