Whatever happened to the ‘burning injustices?’

In her speech on the steps on Downing Street in July 2016, Theresa May said that her new administration would be committed to battling the ‘burning injustices’ that faced many in modern Britain. The promises to curb racial inequality among some of the most vital organs of law and state resonated well with the public and the new Prime Minister’s initial poll ratings were high. Over the course of her mainly disastrous premiership, May has decided to ignore most of her promises to the country in the face of the ongoing decline of any Tory Party unity, instructing her MPs to stop any talk of solving large-scale inequalities. With knife crime on the rise across Britain as a prime result of cuts, there is no legitimate plan from the government to solve the crisis that has halted social progress in Britain for decades.

While the ongoing threat that a hard Brexit poses is taking up the large majority of the government’s agenda, the issues that Theresa May spoke of in 2016 are being widely ignored. There is still a deep North-South divide, which is due to a lack of sufficient investment and infrastructure, despite George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse programme. Due to this failure of consecutive administration to tackle this problem, the UK is being deeply split beyond Brexit, but their remonstrations in Westminster, many are not able to pick up on it.

There are many factors that contribute to the burning injustices that people face across Britain. The numbers of those living on our streets is rising, young people are feeling increasingly polarised from society, and the inadequate systems to help struggling people away from crime.

The Tory Party have previously sold themselves as the party tough on crime and strong on law and order. With crime rising exponentially under their watch, this reputation is being heavily tarnished, and is a large selling point for Jeremy Corbyn. In many ways, Brexit has saved the Tories, by shifting public focus away from the large social fractures being exposed.

Although there have been large pay packets given to selected government departments, tokenistic giveaways at electorally successful time do not solve the problems.

The Prime Minister claimed last year that the policy of austerity was ‘over.’ Judging by her intransigence as Home Secretary and as Prime Minister, there seems to be little chance of the inequalities she spoke of being removed. The policy of Universal Credit has been underfunded and recklessly rolled-out, but May seems more focused upon securing Cabinet loyalty than the real consequences of the government’s flagship welfare policy.

It speaks volumes about the current state of the political establishment that a catastrophe such as Brexit shows no imminent signs of bringing down the government. Jeremy Corbyn is at heart as vociferous a Brexiteer as the members of the ERG, and ultimately, only the Lib Dems will be the only force in the British politics that can be relied on to have a credible position. In many ways, Brexit has managed to be the unlikely saviour of Tory Party interests, with a disastrous record on domestic problems. If Theresa May wants to salvage a positive legacy, she will need to start tackling the multifaceted and multiple problems that swamp the domestic agenda. The Lib Dems must be at the forefront of pursuing this agenda to revitalise the beleaguered state sector.

* Patrick Maxwell is a Liberal Democrat member and political blogger at www.gerrymander.blog and a commentator at bbench.co.uk.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.

One Comment

  • Peter Hirst 11th Mar '19 - 4:06pm

    If you don’t want to do something you have said you would, one of the easiest ways is to find something more urgent that consumes all your time and energy. The Conservatives must shoulder blame for knowing the distraction Brexit would cause whichever way it turned out. Without an obvious game plan, it was foolhardy to embark on this perilous endeavour.

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