#ToriesOutNow - This Weekend in the UK
On Friday the 8th of May, the result of the UK’s General Election was revealed. In the country’s first-past-the-post voting system, the Conservative Party won the most amount of seats and has, therefore, become the UK’s sole government for the next 5 years. Since 2010, they had been in a joint-power coalition with the Liberal Democrats - but now they get to fly solo, and many of the UK’s public is not happy about it.
Under the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government, the amount of food banks rose from just 66 to over 400. Studies predict that due to the Conservative’s planned £12 billion welfare cuts, there could, in the coming years, be as many as two million people a year depending on food banks to survive. The cuts are a part of David Cameron’s plan to fix the deficit in the UK - a deficit that the wealthy created, and that they now play no part in repairing. Instead, the money is taken from the most vulnerable people in the country: the disabled, the elderly, the mentally ill, the poor, and victims of sexual and domestic violence. Bedroom tax forces people in council houses to pay extra tax if they have “too many” bedrooms. The NHS faces privatisation.
And that’s not all. The Conservative Party want to scrap the Human Rights Act, which includes such things as: the right to life; the right to not be tortured; the right to be free from slavery; the right to a fair trial; the right to an education; the right to free elections; abolition of the death penalty; the right to freedom of assembly; and the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. They claim that they will ‘restore sovereignty to Westminster’ through a parliamentary override. Their strategy paper ’Protecting human rights in the UK’ includes a clause that suggests that the British government would be able to “Limit the reach of human rights cases to the UK so that the British Armed Forces overseas are not subject to persistent human rights claims that undermine their ability to do their job and keep us safe.” It also suggests that they should be able to “Prevent our laws from effectively being rewritten through 'interpretation’”. Sounds promising, right?
There are many blatant issues in their manifesto. Fracking is to become a priority, despite it already having caused minor earthquakes near Blackpool. There will be a referendum on Britain’s membership within the EU. And then there is TTIP, aka the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is a series of trade negotiations being carried out between the EU and the US, which are “about reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations”. This implicates the NHS, our food and environmental safety, banking regulations, privacy, jobs, and democracy itself.
And amidst all this is the realisation that the Conservative Party won on 36.9% of the votes. Just over 11 million people voted for the Conservatives: the rest of the public - just over 30 million people - voted largely for Labour, the Green Party, and UKIP. 62.1% of the country did not choose a Tory government. Yet that is what they have been condemned to for the next 5 years.
Protests have already begun in London and across the country, and there is an anti-austerity demonstration planned for June the 20th in London. But the media, which has been largely pro-Tory throughout the election campaign, has mainly ignored the protests of the people or, in the case of the BBC, scaled down the extent of the anger. Describing the protests of yesterday (May 9th) as a gathering of 100 or so people, the BBC also failed to mention the violence that the protestors were met with by police - instead focusing on the few protestors who were arrested, and the vandalism of a war memorial by one or two rogue protestors.
But let’s be honest about this: the graffiti itself read “Fuck Tory Scum” and was scribbled on a memorial devoted to the women of World War II. How many of them would have really disagreed with the sentiment?
Words by Sophie Elliott