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A Breakdown in Government, the United Kingdom

Author: Edward Smith, staff writer uk general elections


The Conservative party has held power in the United Kingdom for fourteen years, ten years without a major coalition partner, meaning they have had more or less the power to pass any legislation they wanted. Economically, their focus has centred around top-down changes allowing already wealthy groups and individuals to gain more wealth with fewer restrictions under the idea that this would stimulate growth.


The United Kingdom’s ongoing infrastructural, social and economic management has a specific term attached to it: ‘Managed decline’ is a governmental policy of attempting to ease ongoing problems into becoming the new status quo rather than attempting to course correct away from underlying issues causing those problems. The tell-tale signs of this policy lie in neglected infrastructure and public services, rising costs, and stagnant income, both on a governmental level, and amongst the public.


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Unfortunately this has lead to institutional decline and a general Generally the UK’s ability to cope with outside stresses has been consistently worse than other comparable countries, taking damage very easily and then failing to recover in a timely fashion.


Frequently, the UK’s financial and infrastructural decline have been put down to global crises’ such as covid, and the earlier 2008 financial crash, or larger issues such as Brexit. However, when analysed, a pattern of stagnancy compared to other nations of a similar economic size can be observed both pre, and post-pandemic.

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When considering all but the most niche of economic targets, the UK has consistently floundered in the face of what the IMF (International Monetary Fund) described as a situation where “ambitious reforms are needed”. They characterised the current conservative government’s economic policy as shrinking opportunities for businesses where they have grown amongst other G7 nations and lacking in supporting safety nets for those facing poverty.


The IMF, in another report, also said that the UK’s net zero and green target efforts were lacking, something that, in their view, presented a clear example of the UK’s lacking investment in infrastructure and development. For a country facing major energy issues, not expanding into green or renewable energy leaves the UK increasingly dependent on imports of foreign non-renewable sources. In the wake of Gas imports falling due to poor relations with Russia, this has even seen oil imports increase.


This is largely in the face of one of the UK’s most endemic issues: delays to new construction and development projects. Stories can be found from any area of the UK of an ambitious plan for new infrastructure, be it energy production, housing, or something as simple as freshwater reservoirs being blocked, usually by older residents, local councillors vetoing investigations, or environmental groups. Even the UK’s own green party has a habit of blocking green energy developments in regions it governs out of wanting to not engage with private enterprise and concerns over damaging the habitats of local wildlife. This pattern of behaviour has even seen local Green councillors siding with conservative politicians against local green energy schemes.


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Similarly, the conservatives, following recent COP events, put lofty goals to introduce green energy and slash carbon emissions in place. However, as recently as last year, they’ve begun cancelling policies to phase out diesel and petrol vehicles, while using prior positive changes as an excuse to curb further changes. This year, in their recent manifesto they promised a more “pragmatic approach” to energy efficient and environmentally friendly industries, namely, cutting costs while protecting the Green Belt from development.


The Green Belt, a protected area of rural Britain made to contain cities and protect local wildlife, is often brought up by politicians when discussing environmental policies. This is despite most of the Green Belt being taken up by waste land which is generally not productive towards slowing climate change or helping preserve endangered species. Its other main component  The lack of expansion into the Green Belt also, by stated purpose, prevents the merging of towns and the expansion of urban areas within it. This is a blocking factor even when rural communities are in need of such mergers or expansion. This points to another issue in UK politics in general, a general failure to address chronic issues, the Green Belt as an example having proposed changes and reforms that are rarely pushed through or supported by major parties.


Examples of the UK’s issues in addressing well diagnosed problems can be found at many levels. Policies reaching back years have had huge effects on the modern day, from Thatcherite economics to the social welfare policies of old labour governments being neglected and misused in the modern day.


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The UK’s recent general election has placed the Labour Party in power for the first time in over a decade, and major changes must be made to keep the UK from further stagnating or economically declining. Labour has a massive majority in Parliament and has spoken at length about wanting to reform the UK’s various systems, branding itself as the party of change.



Labour has the means and claims to have the will to effect a major course correction through law and through investment. For the UK to be economically relevant or to be in any way progressive into the future, either socially or in regards to climate action, these claims must be backed up in the coming years.

 

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UK general elections, Labour party, Keir Starmer, Conservative Party, UK, politics



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