Dear Rishi Sunak, Please Call A General Election.
Highlighting Rishi Sunak And His Blunders In Parliament.
By James McAlinden
The British conservative party have just finished their annual conference meeting in
Manchester. Over the past few days, the conservative party was sharing their optimistic message, by talking about a variety of things such as increasing the living wage and cracking down on benefit claimants who are exploiting the system. You could have described the conference as any other political party conference you would attend - full of promises and cheering. Having said this, there was one unique feature to the conservative party conference this year – Greg Hands, the Conservative Party chairman, walked to the podium and displayed a pair of flip flops with a picture of Sir Keir Starmer’s (labour party leader) face on it. The symbolic meaning is that Keir Starmer makes a party pledge or promise and then backs down from it.
However, not everyone shared the same optimistic message of the conservative party. Indeed, throughout Manchester, there were many people chanting and holding protest signs reading “tories out”, “bring down the Tories”, and “save our public services”. Can anyone blame them for thinking this? I don’t. Our public services are badly handled and managed by the current government. For example, the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS has experienced major budget cuts under conservative governance. According to NHS Confederation, the health service has faced funding cuts of between £4 billion and £9.4 billion last year. As a result, data suggests NHS waiting lists have reached record levels and there is a major staff member shortage. This means vulnerable patients may not receive the efficient diagnosis and treatment that they need.
We do, of course, need to talk about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s performance at the conference. At one point, Sunak displayed his highest level of intolerance by commenting that “a man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense”. This received thunderous applause from conservative party members and other members of the audience. This comment sparked outrage from members of the public. For instance, India Willoughby, a trans woman and journalist, said that Sunak’s comment was “terrifying” and was troubled by the audience’s applause. This is not the first anti-trans comment Sunak made. In June 2023, Sunak mocked Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey for supporting civil rights for trans people. In August 2022, Sunak argued trans women aren’t women during the Conservative leadership at the Hustings. It is worth noting that Sunak made this comment at a time where anti-trans hate crimes are increasing in Britain. According to the Home Office, anti-trans hate crimes increased by 11% from March 2022 to March 2023. This is the highest rate since 2012, where the figures were first recorded.
Sunak’s comments about trans people were not the only worrying thing, he has also delayed or even reversed some of the climate targets, stating that these delays or reverses will save taxpayers money. Sunak pledged that modern and new cars with combustion engines will be banned from sale by 2030. Now, the government has moved this to 2035 and declared that by 2035, a huge majority of cars sold on the market would be electric. However, some environmental experts have pushed back on this. Bob Ward, who is the policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, stated “Delaying the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars would mean that UK drivers will remain exposed to the volatility of international oil prices, which are rising due to cuts by major producers such as Saudi Arabia and Russia. The UK’s dependence on fossil fuels is costly and economically damaging”. Ward further highlighted that “weakening of the targets…will undermine investment, as many furious companies have pointed out today”. As a consequence, we the public will face grave costs because of Sunak’s net-zero reversal. The Office for Budget Responsibility discovered that the economic cost of Britain's constant consumption of fossil fuels was slightly more than double those of aiming for net-zero.
Furthermore, at the conservative party conference, Sunak stated that in England he plans to scrap A-levels and replace them with a new qualification called the “Advanced British Standard”. By implementing this new qualification, school students would study maths and English to the age of 18. By students achieving the “Advanced British Standard”, Sunak said the new qualification will "finally deliver on the promise of parity of esteem between academic and technical education". However, education unions have argued that the new plan is “pie in the sky” due to the shortage of teachers in England. Additionally, the general secretary of the Association of School and college leaders, Geoff Barton, stated that "principles of these proposals are good, the practicalities are daunting because of the severity of the teacher recruitment and retention crisis". Barton also stated that "Teacher shortages are widespread and very problematic in many subjects. This problem requires a much broader strategy to improve pay, conditions, and education funding”.
Whilst Sunak was displaying his bigotry against the trans community and showing us how out of touch with reality he is, there is a deeper problem facing Sunak. The problem is this, we are on our fifth prime minister since 2010 - the year the conservative party won power. Some news outlets have described this as a “revolving door of prime ministers”. The broader public are getting the impression that the conservative party are not giving us stable governments, and the public are probably fed up with the drama behind the halls of Westminster where conservative leadership candidates scramble to win enough support from their fellow peers.
All this may explain why Rishi Sunak and the conservative party are on course to lose the next general election. According to the latest YouGov voting intention poll, the conservatives will win 24% of the vote compared to Labour’s 45%. I ask Rishi Sunak to call a general election. If he were to do this, then judging by the polling data, he and the conservative party will head towards a crushing defeat, which they deserve. I personally don’t know if labour’s policies will leave us better off. But all I do know is that under the conservative party, our public services are in a desperate situation, they are bigoted towards the trans community, and their policy proposals regarding climate change and education are unworkable.