This week marks four years since the last General Election and it is surely now time for another. Every day that goes by, Broken Britain drifts into ever steeper decline. Is this what we all want? We know that the current government, like Mr. Micawber, is hanging on, hoping for something, anything, to come and save them; giving themselves more time to find employment after the election, when it is assumed so many will lose their seats. But should we just be accepting this?
While we are waiting
While we wait for a General Election, waiting lists for the NHS continue to grow. It was reported last month that in September, the number of people waiting more than 18 months for treatment went back over the 10,000 mark, which was a similar number to that recorded in March, and up from 8,998 in August.
Workloads are rising
Similarly, the crisis in education continues to worsen. It was reported in the Guardian in April of last year that a poll had demonstrated that almost 50% teachers in England plan to quit within the next five years. It was noted that: “in a survey of 1,788 teachers, a fifth (22%) said they would leave within two years. Teachers said their heavy workload was a significant factor in their decision to leave. More than half of respondents (52%) said the workload was “unmanageable” or “unmanageable most of the time”, up from 35% in 2021.”
Infrastructure is crumbling
Meanwhile the Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) Crisis exposed just how run-down our school buildings are with over 200 schools across the Country affected. Then on 5 December, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), reported that more than one in 10 UK 15-year-olds (11%) had. missed meals because of poverty, which it was noted put the UK on a par with countries like Mexico and Moldova.
Children are suffering
As for the actual teaching, Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) are still allowed to run amok destroying careers and lives unhindered; while the curriculum lets down hundreds of thousands of our young people. It is asking them to navigate subject material, which is at best inappropriate and little use to them, and at worst inaccessible, and setting them up to fail.
Water is contaminated
Meanwhile, our water continues to be contaminated as privatised water companies put profit before people and continue to allow our water, that most basic of resources, without which life cannot exist to be dirty and dangerous. Indeed, it was reported in the Guardian on 28 November that, potentially toxic “forever chemicals” had been detected in the drinking water sources at 17 of 18 England’s water companies, with 11,853 samples testing positive; something about which experts were reported to say they were “extremely alarmed”. Yet our government does nothing.
Trains run late
And let us not forget the ongoing crisis in public transport, with so many of our trains running late or cancelled altogether. It was reported by the BBC in early September that up until then 13% of scheduled trains in 2023 had been cancelled. Earlier in the year, the BBC had also noted that the lives of train passengers in northern England were being seriously hampered by cancellations. Avanti West Coast and TransPennine Express were singled out for criticism, with the latter cancelling about a quarter of its services in the first two months of 2023. It was further noted that, “TransPennine Express, which operates between major towns and cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, cancelled 1,781 services during the last four-week reporting period according to official data from the Office of Road and Rail. That represented almost a quarter of all their trains between 8 January and 4 February and 10% of all cancellations in England and Wales, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said.”
What ‘levelling up’?
As for our region specifically, we have been let down yet again by this Conservative government. The much trumpeted levelling up agenda has turned out to be nothing more than a cheap electioneering slogan, while our public transport and our public services continue to be starved of funding, as they have been since 2010. Investment per head of population still lags way behind the South East, and in numerous places across the region the fraction of children now growing up in poverty, has risen by almost a half.
Government fiddles and distracts
Yet what has Sunak been fixated on recently? A row over the Parthenon Marbles and a ridiculous, unworkable scheme to send some poor souls to Rwanda. Pathetic behaviour, even by the standards of recent Prime Ministers.
It is clear that the Conservatives have no answers to our problems, and indeed they have caused many of them. They have underfunded the NHS and ravaged the education system for years now. They have allowed water companies to make huge profits while our water quality suffers, and time and time again allowed our railway companies to let passengers and our country down. They have favoured the wealthy over the working people of the country and allowed a small minority to hoard great wealth, while in cities like Newcastle children are now living in poverty.
Perhaps most serious of all, they put the health and well-being of the children of Britain and future generations at risk by doing nothing meaningful about the Climate Crisis; especially after Sunak announced a U-turn on green targets, in the forlorn hope of thinking it will help him stay at 10 Downing Street after the next General Election.
It really is not good enough.
For ten years the country has been run for the benefit of the Conservative Party, not the other way round as of course it should.
Do the decent thing
Sunak should try for once to do one decent thing, call a General Election and put us all out of our misery. Then perhaps he can do what I suspect he really wants to do anyway. Take his ‘Green Card’ and his wife’s money and go off to a life of luxury in California, pretending to be a well-connected ‘tech bro’. And perhaps the rest of us can start to rebuild this broken country.