In the upcoming elections, it is widely predicted that Boris Johnson will form the next government, with some pollsters even predicting him a majority of 68 (359 seats), whilst Corbyn’s Labour are on course to suffer their second worst post-war defeat with 211 seats. That said, whilst this election has been characterised by Boris making political capital out of the issue of Brexit, the Conservative Party have mostly escaped unscathed in terms of scrutiny on issues such as the NHS, the economy, the climate change debate and housing, and this article will seek to assess how the Conservative Party performs on these matters and what policies they will pursue to tackle them in the likely event they win, compared to those of Labour’s.

Whilst the Labour manifesto is radical, seeking to resolve the social and economic problems our country faces and perhaps suffers in the eyes of some from being too ambitious, the Conservative Party manifesto is conspicuously short, perhaps a clever strategy giving Boris Johnson’s track record of dishonesty and failing to follow through with promises, and more importantly, offer little new other than policies which are widely said to perpetuate the same cycle of austerity and privatisation.

Given the climate change emergency is such a grave and existential threat to humanity, the absence of Boris Johnson, the man likely to be the next Prime Minister in Britain, at the Channel 4 climate debate was starkly conspicuous to say the least. If this wasn’t enough to attest to the Conservative Party’s worryingly blase attitude to this extremely important issue, upon looking into the precise minutiae of the Conservative Party manifesto, there is worryingly little in the way of policy that looks to address this inordinately pertinent issue of the climate change emergency, and indeed the governments of May and Cameron have been independently shown as doing little to properly tackle this issue. Conversely, Labour’s manifesto looks more convincing on this front, as it pledges to address the climate emergency problem through creating hundreds of thousands of skilled green jobs in renewable energy, insulating homes, reforesting the country and making new electric vehicles, policies which have been independently costed and can be sustainably funded through a windfall tax on the biggest polluters.

A contentious issue which has flown surprisingly under the radar in the midst of Johnson’s disingenuous ‘Get Brexit Done’ propaganda blitz (which naturally shall be scrutinised later) is the NHS. Under the Conservative government, the NHS is currently at its longest funding squeeze since it was founded, 100,000 staff shortages, 78,981 operations cancelled last year, 14,463 bed cuts, the number of A&E patients seen is currently at its lowest recorded rate, at a mere 89%, yet there has been surprisingly little scrutiny on the media’s part on the Conservative Party’s track record in relation to the NHS. Furthermore, the efficiency of the NHS, a pivotal public service within Britain, has been hamstrung by the Conservatives’ peacemeal moves towards privatisation and indeed a Tory Brexit could spell disaster for the NHS. Secret leaked documents suggest the NHS will be used as leverage in an asymmetrical trade with the US and even Dominic Raab, a senior Tory official admits Donald Trump would be free to hike the price of NHS drugs. Conversely, Labour proposes an investment of £26 billion into our NHS to recruit doctors and nurses we need, the reversal of privatised aspects of the NHS and reduced NHS waiting lists. Furthermore, it is of note that in an interview with Laura Kuennesberg, Boris Johnson refused to rule out yet more NHS privatisation, which could very likely spell yet more underfunding, shortages and cancellations within the NHS. Even John Major, one of your own said that the NHS is about as safe with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove “as a pet hamster would be with a hungry python"?, which signifies the threat to the NHS of a Tory-led Brexit.

Given they were the party who introduced the ‘right to buy scheme’, which drastically reduced the availability of social housing, it is perhaps unsurprising that under the last three Tory governments, there has been a steady but worrying trend of home ownership being under collapse, with figures showing the lack of home ownership to be worse than 1980s levels.

Furthermore, there is a massive lack of council housing, which has been sold off and privatised, the private rented sector offers extortionate rip-off rates and a lack of security, and under the last two Tory governments, there has been a massive spike in the number of those rough sleeping. Whilst the Tory manifesto offers vague promises to increase the number of houses, there is little clarification over the nature of this housing, and whether this will be affordable social housing that operates in the interests of the many, or private sector housing, and given the last three Tory governments have exacerbated the housing crisis, this doesn’t exactly inspire optimism. On the other hand, Labour pledges to build a million new social houses to rent and buy, top quality council housing that caters for the many rather than punishing the many and demeaning them for the advancement of the few, which is inevitable under a Boris-led Tory shambles of a government. It should also be remembered that some Conservative MPs, 27% of whom are also private landlords profit from the epic housing crisis when evaluating how the Conservatives will tackle the housing crisis facing Britain if they get elected once more.

Whilst the Tories have waged a war on the youth with tuition fees and reduced facilities in schools, Labour pledges to scrap university fees, implement free bus travel for under 25s, ntroduce a viable national education service, provide more money for skills, significantly reduce class sizes and increase the standard of education. Youth crime has risen as a direct result of Tory austerity, a sharp reduction in the number of councillors, funding for youth work being cut by 63% in the last decade and in some councils, it’s been cut by 91% in just 3 years. Whereas the Conservative Party’s policies seem to exacerbate the burden placed upon the youth, Labour have pledged to doubling the spending on mental healthcare provision, early intervention, youth and outreach services and reducing child poverty, because we care about the youth and want to resolve youth problems in a productive manner.

When besmirching the contents of Labour’s manifesto, leading Conservative figures have pointed to the supposed economic inviability of their proposed policies. It should be noted that 163 economists and academics have backed Labour's spending plans, most prominently The Financial Times, and in contrast to the Tories, where senior MPs feel it is okay to ‘not bandy about with figures’ and cost their policies, the Labour Party’s manifesto is fully costed and has been independently proven to be economically viable, with their projected spending still being lower than France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Ultimately, whilst this article has scrutinised the track record and policies of the Conservative Party and its leading figures, it is up to you, the electorate to make your voice heard on December 12 and give a mandate to whoever you feel is the most trustworthy, capable party to lead our country through a time of immense political difficulty.

That said, there is a Brexit crisis, a crisis of homelessness, a crisis of low paid, precarious and insecure employment, a crisis in our justice system and a crisis in our NHS that haven’t been properly resolved by any of the major parties as of yet and it should also be recognised, the "Get Brexit Done" slogan that has taken up the majority of the Tories’ election campaign press coverage also is nothing more than a fraudulent soundbite, a con that insults the intelligence of our learned audience, because we'll be stuck with years and years of trade negotiations. 


Jamali Blair, Wallington County Grammar School