With negotiations for Brexit to be finally executed come March 2017, as announced by Theresa May last week, a burning question yet to be properly tackled by the Conservative Party is: what exactly is their overarching plan to ensure future economic sustainability and prosperity for the country? Now that a major source of economic strength has been cut off (read: migrants), a fully laid-out plan to outline Britain’s steps towards continued economic growth in their absence has yet to be tabled.
May, who has sought to define herself as the leader of the post-referendum era, has instead been busy catering to the Brexit-voting crowd by promising the protection of jobs and the “repairing” of free markets. Yesterday, the prime minister said the government promises to “restore fairness” in Britain and spread economic prosperity more widely. In fact, she went so far as to tell the party’s conference that the British people ought to “seize the day” after their “quiet revolution” from the Brexit vote. Interestingly, May even claimed that working people have been ignored by the “privileged and powerful” for too long and that their vote reflected the deep divisions growing in the nation over the decades, as well as reflected their desire for greater control over the country. Yet in spite of her pledge to give back to the people, the issue nevertheless remains that the pound has plunged to its lowest value in recent times for the past 31 years as a result of Brexit and is now well beyond “sustainable” at this point.
plans have been announced from Home Secretary Amber Rudd to make firms do more to employ British people, which, suffice to say, haven’t been well-received
As part of this “revolution”, plans have been announced from Home Secretary Amber Rudd to make firms do more to employ British people, which, suffice to say, haven’t been well-received. In fact, businesses have scoffed at the idea while one Tory MP called it “divisive”. Under these proposals, businesses could be forced to disclose the percentage of their non-British workforce in order to encourage them to hire more locals. Companies hiring from outside the EU may also have to prove their efforts to develop a pool of local candidates, as well as demonstrate the impact their overseas candidates have had on the local labour market. Ms Rudd claimed the existing system does not offer firms a clear incentive to properly consider the merits of local workers, or to spend more on them for job training. To add further insult to injury, Rudd has insisted that she not be call ed “a racist” for addressing the issue of immigration either. But Labour has already retaliated by stating that it will “fan the flames of xenophobia” in the community, while the SNP has called it “the most disgraceful display of reactionary right-wing politics in living memory”.
The NHS remains another major issue. Despite the Conservatives’ previous promises to increase NHS spending by £8 billion a year – the minimum demanded by its managers – a potential crisis within the institution threatens a financial shortfall of £20 billion by 2020-21. As a result, the NHS may have to undergo a massive reorganisation that could include hospital closures and cuts that could start soon, and all just before the NHS suffers its winter overload this year. Today, the British population is almost a third larger than it was in 1948-49; there are now 64 million people compared to the 50 million during the 1951 census. Yet in spite of the fact that standards of living, levels of disposable income as well as awareness of the dangers of smoking have all improved since 1948, the fact remains that governments have simply failed to ensure the NHS receives the funding it needs to survive.
And yet with all this continued worry over immigration and NHS funding, what about Britain’s current reputation for being the world’s second-biggest arms dealer in recent years, with most of their weapons fueling deadly conflicts in the Middle East? In fact, statistics compiled by UK Trade and Investment show that the UK has on average sold more arms than Russia, China, or France over the last decade. Only the United States is a bigger exporter. The reality is that very little has been done to address the trend, which simply continues to this day. Since 2010 Britain has sold arms to 39 of the 51 countries ranked “not free” on the Freedom House “Freedom in the world” report, as well as to 22 of the 30 countries on the UK Government’s own human rights watch list. Furthermore, two-thirds of UK weapons were sold during this period to nations in the Middle East, resulting in instability that has promoted the risk of terror threats to Britain and the West. The Conservative Government has also repeatedly ignored calls to stop selling weapons to repressive regimes, such as Sunni Saudi Arabia, which has been accused by the UN of committing war crimes in Yemen against the Shi’ite Houthi rebels.
Today, Britain faces a plunging pound, heightened xenophobia, the continued lack of NHS reform and increased tensions in the Middle East. What the British people really need to be asking is: do they really want their economy to continue to be boosted from weapons sales, while problems pertaining to bread-and-butter issues such as the NHS continue to remain ignored? Where, in reality, does all this profit really go? And furthermore, people should also start asking themselves that, purely from a moral and ethical viewpoint, is this really the way to go for Britain’s overall future?
Header image via newsexplored.co.uk