The laughing stock known as the Conservative party has done it again. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been the topic of one of the first viral memes of 2023. As the country falls to its knees with union strikes, the NHS reaching an all-time low and the cost of living crisis still cripping most of the British public, Sunak decided that the focus of his party should be on making maths a compulsory part of education until 18.
This plan for 'education dictatorship' has its own list of problems but it's the painfully misguided priorities that have baffled the public. Sunak took up the position of Prime Minister following the
disasters of his predecessors, the political crises that require his attention are listless and yet he decided that pushing his maths agenda to be the forefronting issue.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Starmer’s new year’s speech focussed on plans to repair the government and by extension the country’s extensive struggles. Of course, like any speech from the opposition, there’s a level of political pandering throughout, but unlike Sunak, Starmer identified key issues within the mechanics of politics.
Starmer spoke of ‘sticking plaster politics’ claiming the conservative party offer desperate short-term solutions rather than any long-term cures. He uses the example of the energy price guarantee we saw last year: “an expensive, last-minute fix, papering over cracks in our energy security that have been on display for years.”
This self-reflection of Westminster demonstrates Labour's potential for change: “ it’s not just Tory ideology that drives “sticking plaster politics”, it’s the whole Westminster system. No similar country puts so much decision-making in the hands of so few people. So it’s no wonder the problems of communities up and down this country don’t get the attention they deserve.”
Starmer recognises the defining issues of our government, finally, politicians are seeing what the public has seen for years. Labour is promising a new approach to governing this country and if these are merely empty promises and political tactics I for one am definitely falling for it.
A speech such as this draws in the public’s confidence away from the Tories and towards the labour party. It isn't a hard task either, Sunak practically delivers the public’s favour on a silver platter when he prioritises a mathematics proposal, no one wants. The Labour party simply have to look at what the Conservatives are doing and promise the opposite, that is how easy the Tories have made it.
The only saving grace the Conservatives have to hold on to is that a general election is, at present, 2 years away. The call for a general election this year is growing and unless the Prime Minister can step down from his mountain of wealth and see the reality of the country’s struggles, then the call will only become louder.
Who knows, perhaps King Charles will be forced to call for the dissolution of parliament before his coronation in May.