• Thu. May 30th, 2024

The future of UK Politics

ByRuweyda Ahmed

Mar 24, 2023
image of the debating chamber

In February the Economist ran an article saying the image of Britain ‘as a land of common sense has taken a beating’. Since Boris Johnson’s resignation British politics has seemed too turbulent to fully engage in. With the resignations, ‘Trussonomics’ and recent strikes in the public sector I don’t have much hope for British politics. 

The right to protest peacefully, protection of human rights and ability for journalists to criticise government wrongdoings are all under threat. In January last year the UK House of Lords voted down a series of measures in the government’s Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill which were introduced with little time for debate. This included the power to stop and search anyone at a protest without the need for reasonable suspicion. This would also allow courts to ban people from attending protests in future even if they hadn’t been convicted. This Bill in 2022 was a small part of a bigger move by the Conservatives to limit the right to protest and arguably an authoritarian weapon. I think it is unfair and undemocratic to restrict people’s right to protest, it’s a gateway towards bigger suppression. And this has been shown by more developments in politics such as the Tories attacking the right to strike.

I am sure we have all heard of the strikes in many different public sectors, with the cost-of-living crisis and stagnant pay it is only expected that workers exercise their right to strike. But the conservative government, instead of negotiating fairly proposed an anti-strike bill. I don’t think this would do anything to end current disputes but instead carry out the precedent set earlier in politics to attack human rights. There has been a trend historically in British politics to attack trade unions, going back to Thatcher. The anti-strike restricts the right to strike and allows employers to sack workers if a proportion of members don’t continue working. Restricting the right to strike is an underhanded attempt to remove any agency to demand for better conditions. All privileges in society right now came from striking. Mick Lynch even compared the Bill to what happens in Russia and other politically repressive regimes. Which I think has some merit to it. 

Despite some of the developments that have been outlined, it seems like 13 years of failure from the Tories isn’t slowing them down. Braverman proposed an ‘Illegal Migrant Bill’ which itself is illegal under international law. This Bill seeks to removes the right to seek asylum and deport any refugees who make the ‘illegal’ journey to be deported to Rwanda. Braverman has already been under attack by other Tory MPs and Human Rights groups for proposing an illegal bill which violates European Court of Human Rights. Braverman on her tax-funded trip to Rwanda to promote the policy did not invite the BBC and the Guardian – media that would be critical of the new policy. In my opinion, the Tories are creating a hostile and repressive political landscape towards anyone that might question them. The attempt to undermine and restrict human rights by an unelected Prime Minister doesn’t feel uber-democratic. And the weakness of the opposition with Starmer leaves me feeling disillusioned for politics.

41. The House of Commons sits for the first time in the new Parliament, following State Opening” by UK Parliament is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.