Thursday, November 21, 2019
Home All Categories Opinion: Tories neglect the young and disabled at their peril

Opinion: Tories neglect the young and disabled at their peril

There’s an air of complacency about the Conservative Party at the moment. They seem to have developed a sense of invincibility, particularly after their victory in the Copeland by-election, and feel as if they can do whatever they like without any real consequences.

But complacency has a way of coming back to bite you where it hurts, as Labour found out to their detriment in Scotland.

While there may not be a credible opposition threat at this time – some might disagree – there will come a time when Labour and others finally sort themselves out.

And if not we may yet see the emergence of a new party of the working class, perhaps run by the same people who have been so cruelly brutalised by this government and its predecessor. Some may think this chain of events is unlikely to happen, but few would say it’s impossible.

I know some of you may believe the SNP are “the only real opposition to the Tories”, as they keep saying to us all, but the SNP only has MPs in Scotland and cannot, by themselves, win a UK-wide General Election.

They could of course become part of a coalition, but union parties like Labour and the Liberal Democrats are unlikely to go for it.  Indeed, in years to come Scotland may no longer be part of the union at all.

There are, however, rumors of growing discontent among Theresa May’s own MPs, with at least some of them feeling increasingly uncomfortable about the party’s image and how the Tories keep hitting the young, the poor, and the disabled, with cut after cut. May herself promised to build a Britain “that works for everyone” – a pledge that has so far failed to materialise.

And let us not forget the group of working age adults the PM admits are “just about managing”, many of whom will be affected by cuts to tax credits and Universal Credit. Even those who are not in receipt of state benefits, but still on modest incomes, are struggling to make ends meet.

They (the Tories) may be able to weather the storm of mounting criticism for now, and it’s true they look to be on course for victory at the next general election, but negative image tends to follow you around and will stain the party’s reputation for years to come.

People will not forget what the Tories have done to them and their families, and will ultimately pass this information down to their children and grandchildren.

Children will not forget how their parents had to go to a foodbank to feed them, or how they have been saddled with debt due to the extortionate cost of a university education. Perhaps they will remember the feeling of being frozen to the bone because mum and dad didn’t have enough money to turn the heating on?

Whatever their memories, they’ll know exactly who is to blame.

Children and young people today are the voters of the future. Many young people feel let down by this government and will be eligible to express their anger at the ballot box in only a few years time.

Others are already angry about the way people with disabilities have been made scapegoats for austerity. Some of them may have disabled friends or relatives who have lost their independence at the hands of the cruel and callous government.

It’ll be the job of opposition parties like Labour to encourage them to vote, not that they’ll need much encouragement to punish those who hurt them and those they care about.

The Tories’ short-term thinking of policies designed to appeal only to older voters, such as the triple-lock on pensions, may be working for them for now. But it’ll be the young people of today who’ll have the last laugh of tomorrow. How many of those young people will be voting Tory? I doubt it’ll be very many….

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