As Chancellor Philip Hammond calls to reinvent the image of capitalism within Britain, heated exchanges have persisted between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.
One of the biggest highlights of the conference was Theresa May’s promise to finally end austerity after 8 years. She proclaimed that Britain’s citizens had ‘sacrificed’ enough and their hard work had finally ‘paid off’. However, local council funds have decreased by 49% since David Cameron’s term. In early 2018, Northamptonshire Council declared bankruptcy and voted to abolish itself. Neo-Dickensian conditions are prevalent. Rough sleeping is up by 169% since 2010.
Labour views austerity as a self-destructing ideological project. After 8 years of seeing increasing homelessness and poverty-related deaths amongst vulnerable groups, many are inclined to consider the promise of ‘ending austerity’ to be a Tory farce.
The conference did not seem to adequately cover the issue of Brexit. As, Mrs. May avoided it when she petitioned her party to put Brexit behind them and unite as one force, ending all party factions. She avoided discussing the Chequers plan, whilst reassuring her party companions that she will reach out to Labour MPs concerning a Brexit deal. Labour has suggested that the ‘remain’ option is still on the table.
Both Theresa May and Sajid Javid urged councils to borrow to make up for their funding deficits. The party promised to reduce the overseas budget to make up for the decreased domestic public spending. Many suggested this is the Tories’ way of hinting at a form of capitalist redistribution. The Conservatives have promised a social care package of £240m. In a speech in Birmingham, Javid promised to tackle middle-class drug users and the creation of new ‘’secure’’ schools for young offenders. The drug-use reduction project alone would cost £200m.
Prime Minister May also expressed that the Tory Party’s aim this winter would be to provide as much welfare as possible to Britain’s elderly population by increasing NHS funding. Mrs May said, ‘The conservative party must be a party for everyone’.
According to Sebastian Payne of the Financial Times, it is the fear of Corbyn which is holding the Tory Party together. The Conservative government has a current budget hole of about £53bn, with Philip Hammond tasked to deliver a talk on ‘borrowing budgets’, scheduled for 29 October.
Jeremy Corbyn called on his fellow party members to end internal strife against one another and to unite. Furthermore, Corbyn assured the pro-Brexit heartlands of the UK that not all Brexit promises will be wrecked; he argued that the UK could benefit from a customs union, no hard border between NI and the UK, a protection of jobs for workers, a preservation of people’s rights at work, and maintaining high environmental and consumer standards.
Corbyn quoted Nye Bevan on the idea of the free health service being ‘pure socialism’ and continued with his remark of ‘and so it is’.
His speech touched on the Representation of the People Act, the Waterloo Massacre, and the Foundations of the NHS services. He added poems by both Percy B Shelley and the Chartist poet Ernest Jones. To rebrand himself anew, he also showed regret towards having appeared on Iran World TV, which was complicit in the detention and torture of a Channel 4 reporter.
Corbyn also stated that the Tories unite policies of the 1950s with the economics of the 19th Century. He vowed for an end to shameless greed culture.