This week David Cameron marked ten years as leader of the Conservative Party. Many were quick to congratulate him on his record and achievement, with the Telegraph noting that the Prime Minister should be “proud of his record”. As a Labour party supporter, it is unsurprising that I am far from impressed by Cameron’s record. But the Prime Minister has not just failed to bring the country with him on numerous issues or win over Labour voters: he has failed to deliver much of what he promised to deliver for those Tory voters that elected him in the first place.
Cameron made a number of promises in his election speech but perhaps the most topical was his promise to never play politics with terrorism: “I can promise that I will never play politics with that issue, I will do what is right for the country”. While the Prime Minister may believe that what he is doing is right, his labelling of those who disagree with him as “terrorist sympathisers” is a clear show of playing politics. Indeed, the Prime Minister himself promised a new kind of politics that would be distinct from the usual Punch and Judy show we are used too. The way by which his backbenchers heckle and abuse Jeremy Corbyn demonstrates the failure of his plan.
But outside of the Westminster bubble, Cameron’s failures have hurt the nation deeply. In the name of austerity, we have seen significant changes to the nation’s social fabric. In terms of housing, the ‘under-occupancy charge’ or the Bedroom Tax has affected numerous families, 63 per cent of whom live with a disabled person. The national average private rent is now over £1300 higher per year than it was in 2010. Homelessness is up by at least 26 per cent since Cameron became Prime Minister as more and more are forced onto the streets. And local councils are in no position to help, with the Institute for Fiscal studies demonstrating that Cameron has cut local budgets by an astonishing 79 per cent.
In terms of education, the Tories are responsible for the scrapping of Educational Maintenance Allowance, the tripling of tuition fees and the closure of over four hundred local schools in the name of their overarching academy programme. According to the IFS, Cameron has overseen the largest real term cut to Education spending since the 1950s as the plan to renovate schools across the country was scrapped in the name of government spending.
For the NHS, the Prime Minister has presided over the closure of 66 per cent of A&Es and maternity wards, while there are nearly 500 fewer GP surgeries caused by a £987m cut in general practitioner funding. In just three years, Category A response times for the ambulance service dropped from 75 per cent to 69 per cent. The Tories have axed almost 10,000 hospital beds as the UK has become one of the worst nations in terms of bed to patient ratios in the developed world.
Under his premiership, absolute child poverty has risen by 13 per cent while the number of people at risk of poverty or exclusion has climbed by a staggering 1.5 million. The Trussell Trust estimates that between 2014-2015 over a million people used their food banks up from 40,898 during the last year of Gordon Brown’s government. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has predicted that since coming to power, the Tories have overseen a rise in the number of children in relative poverty by 800,000 meaning that 22.2 per cent of children now live in poverty across the UK.
And all of this as debt continues to rise and borrowing continues to grow. Indeed, the Prime Minister has borrowed more in his almost six years as Prime Minister than Labour did in 13. So while I may be a little biased in believing that the Tories have been a curse for the nation, I believe that my reasons are fair and proper. Britain needs a Corbyn Labour government more than ever.