The Conservative Party Doesn’t Care About Free Speech or Women’s Safety – Labour Article
Politics in this country has fundamentally changed. 2016 may feel like a lifetime ago to some; a sort of bygone era with “steady leadership” under the Conservative Party and fundamentally less divisive ideas.
Truthfully we live in a strange time; a time where more than ever the politics of the leader dictate the politics of the party. The Brexit referendum served as a turning point for the main political parties to reassess their positions and fundamental views to serve in post-European Britain.
The Tory hegemony in power has done much to damage our living standards over the last decade; from the increase in child poverty and the surge in food bank dependency to the longest NHS wait times to date.
However, we rarely talk about the ideological mandate of our ruling government. The government that won on a populist and patriotic platform; supposedly taking the reigns of Britain back and steer us all to greatness.
However, in reality, we find ourselves under the whims of an increasingly despotic, nationalist, corrupt cabinet with no clear ideological purpose to serve. The police, crime, sentencing and court bill is the pinnacle of this rot at Number 10.
The Tory government would love for you to believe that it is a champion of free speech; from its appointment of a “free speech Czar” to tackle loony left PC culture on campuses to Liz Truss boldly proclaiming that the white working-class needs had been neglected in favour of the simple “identity politics” of BAME and LGBTQ+ groups.
However, this bill falls shockingly flat to protect meaningful ideas of actual free speech. A party that goes to war against university campuses while simultaneously allowing the police to break up any protest and prosecute activists is an utter farce. Funnelling power to the Home Secretary to choose on a whim what she decides as a disruptive protest without the consultation of parliament is reckless and authoritarian. Especially under a Home Office as nationalistic and reactionary as it is.
The horrific murder of Sarah Everard is a tragedy. It sparks a need to address our attitudes to women’s safety and the protections police provide to that safety. However, we find that the government is shamelessly using the issue to boost the popularity of the bill.
What problem is solved where you give people who vandalize statues of white supremacists 10 years, while a rape charge, that is even unlikely to be prosecuted, will land you only five years? What are you doing to help the common people when you don’t even mention the word “women” in the bill yet you give the police power to hound out travellers simply suspected of being “likely” to do something wrong?
This bill is shocking. It is past the threshold of useless and into the quagmire of antagonistic, harmful and autocratic. You cannot help but simply wonder what values do the Conservative party even stand for anymore?
It seems we are far past the days of old ideals of meritocracy, freedom or justice. Instead, we hear party slogans of “control” and “security” from politicians who claim to preserve our national identity. It’s a facade of a party that seems to only stand against social progress; allying itself to whatever cause it must.
How can we trust the party of “fiscal responsibility” that enriches its own donors with dodgy public sector contracts to run our economy? How can we trust this party that will give nurses an insulting 1% rise yet can seemingly find the money to pay for 40% more nukes to care about our public institutions? The Conservative party is not fit for purpose and serves no reason to help the common voter.
I implore every reader and writer on this site to contact your local MP. Tell them that this bill is a dangerous infringement on our democratic values; that it utterly fails to address the much-needed reform to protect women against violence.
Written by Guest Labour Writer, Joseph McLaughlin
Point of Information
The Conservative Party Aren’t Conservative Anymore – A Liberal Response
I agree with Joseph. The Conservative Party have lost sight of what used to matter to them. The party of fiscal and economic responsibility are no more. In their place stands the party that follows Boris Johnson; a reactionary right-wing body that follows public opinion too closely and quickly to make a meaningful and beneficial change.
What is conservatism intended to stand for? From my understanding, there should be a key emphasis on liberty and personal responsibility of the individual, as well as economic frugality. We have seen none of this over the last Conservative government – and what are we left with? A Cabinet that has proved itself to be incompetent and running an agenda that does not serve the country’s needs.
They claim to be championing free speech on campuses while running around up in arms when students use their free speech to call them out on their failings and flaws. If they truly cared about free speech, they wouldn’t be creating a ‘Czar of free speech’. They would be protecting the right to protest. They would ensure that police were trained not to unnecessarily tackle peaceful protestors to the floor nor help in turning protests into riots. Instead, we hand the police more powers and become more authoritarian; targeting those who voice opposition to the status quo. That is not freedom.
Every time this country has a crime-scare, the instant line trotted out by the Home Office and Number 10 is “tougher and longer sentences”. Not “increased funding for the legal system so that criminals can be brought to justice sooner”. Not “reform police processes to be more victim-led so victims of sexual violence aren’t interrogated like criminals”.
We are asking for women to be better protected than statues; the bar is so low it is practically on the floor. And yet, Johnson’s Conservative party continues to limbo underneath it.
Written by Junior Liberal Writer, Emma Hall
And Where Was the Opposition Party? – A Conservative Response
Frankly, the article and response above are trivialising the complex subjects of freedom of speech and protecting women from sexual violence.
If either of my colleagues had decided to focus on criticising the new police bill for the abhorrent piece of legislation that it is, I could have quite happily agreed with them. But instead, they devolved into the practice of Tory bashing without offering anything constructive to the issues they mention.
Firstly, I would like to ask my Labour colleague, where is the supposed opposition party? Sir Kier Starmer has been the leader of the Labour Party since April 2020. Since then he has shown himself to be a spineless demagogue who has flipped constantly with his “policies” in order to try to recoup the working-class vote lost through constant appealing to middle-class ‘wokeness’. It is quite telling that Rishi Sunak has been placed by the bookies to be a more likely successor to Boris Johnson than Sir Kier Starmer.
The only true opposition to the Conservatives over the past year has been Nigel Farage. Frankly, it is a shame that more people did not listen to him. Unlike the ‘opposition’ party, he constantly spoke out against extending lockdown and increasing police powers during the pandemic. Labour on the other hand has been avid supports of the lockdown policies that have been put in place; giving the police these powers that my colleagues now criticise.
I can agree to an extent that the powers being used by the Conservatives are verging on the authoritarian. But in a world where Nigel Farage has acted as a more successful opposition than the Labour party, there truly is no foot to stand on when solely accusing Boris and his government. It is rather amusing to notice how the almost obsolete Lib Dems got a boost in popularity when speaking out against the Conservatives. Labour could learn something from them.
Furthermore, I find it utterly despicable that both my Labour and Liberal colleagues have attempted to hijack the tragic incident of Sarah Everard to try to support their arguments. There is a pan-party agreement that what happened to that poor women was truly awful. By trying to hide this pan-party agreement to further your own beliefs is no better than the far-left who tried to hijack the Clapham Common vigil itself.
Trivialising sexual violence through what you have written above truly is shocking; I strongly suggest some internal reflection. On top of this, the causes of sexual violence are incredibly complex and nuanced. To solely blame the Conservatives because you simply want to not only does nothing to address the issue but disrespects those who have suffered from it severely.
Overall, it is a shame both of my colleagues decided to be facetious and trivialise some of the most pressing issues facing Britain today. This article had the potential for a discussion on how to combat the new police bill. But my two colleagues prevented this from happening; taking the easy option of blaming others and not taking any responsibility for the inaction of their own political allegiances.
I can concede the Conservatives have their faults. But so does the inactive left currently inhabiting Parliament. It truly is a shame there is no one in the Labour Party like their last respectable leader, Clement Attlee. Instead, we are left with those like Sir Kier Starmer, who has nothing to add to the pressing issues of our time.
Written by Senior Conservative Writer, Peter Pearce
I am going into my second year at the University of Exeter studying a flexible combined honour in Geography and Politics. My interest in politics and geography stems from an interest in current events and the wider world, with geography being the study of all world processes.