On Tuesday, the United Kingdom was introduced to its new Prime Minister. Liz Truss – chosen not via a General Election but by 81,000 Tory Party members – steps into Number 10 with an in-tray groaning under the weight of unprecedented challenges.
A brief overview of what PM Truss is facing? Soaring inflation, spiralling energy costs, stagnant wages, widespread industrial action, historic NHS waiting lists, ongoing trade disputes and the Northern Ireland protocol. All of this coming alongside the climate crisis, as well as the horrific war in Ukraine and Russia’s continuing aggression.
Many of these problems are the result of 12 years of Tory rule. This Government has systematically underinvested and mismanaged, and taken short-term decisions which have had catastrophic long-term consequences.
Take NHS waiting lists as an example. Under the last Labour Government, NHS waiting lists went down from 18 months to 18 weeks. When Gordon Brown left office in 2010, patient satisfaction was at its highest level in history. Compare and contrast with today – where 6.73 million are on an NHS waiting list and 355,000 patients are waiting longer than a year for treatment – and it’s clear that the Conservative Government has failed in its pledge to protect the NHS.
It is, frankly, absurd to see Liz Truss proclaiming that she will focus on “growing the economy” and “unleashing opportunity right across the United Kingdom”. Truss became an MP 12 years ago and has been a Minister in one form or another for 10 of those 12 years. She’s been Justice Secretary, Environment Secretary, Trade Secretary and Foreign Secretary in that time. For her to stand in front of the nation and claim she represents any kind of change from previous Tory administrations is borderline farcical.
The people of Tameside deserve a fresh start. They deserve a government that will work tirelessly to improve the lives of the people it represents. The next Labour Government would freeze energy bills, give working people a Genuine Living Wage, and set about fixing the crisis in our NHS. It would focus on delivering a truly transformative agenda that would undo years of regional and national neglect.
This can’t come soon enough. When I chat to constituents, I can see just how worried they are, how frustrated and fed-up they feel towards a government that has failed to deliver for them. Change is long overdue, and the continuation of a stale Tory Government won’t cut it.