An economy that works for everyone: The Conservative Party conference and sealing Labour’s fate

By Sophia Bryant

Last week as the Conservative Party Conference drew to a close, the path which May’s government will follow towards the next General Election became somewhat clearer from the indefinite position she succeeded. Perhaps the most interesting illuminations came from Philip Hammond’s speech regarding the economic direction of the Party, and the emphasis from Theresa May herself on the working class of Britain. What is evident is that this Conservative Party has sought to distance itself from its recent predecessors and promote a different kind of politics, one which will surely seal Labour’s fate.

Indeed, as Philip Hammond, our new Chancellor of the Exchequer, took to the stage to proclaim he wants “an economy that works for everyone” he certainly surprised many in the audience, including myself. While acknowledging the uncertainty British business will face, he emphasised May’s words that their government “will fight for the best possible deal for British business and British workers.” Of course, his speech always had to underline stability regarding Brexit, however his emphasis on the working class of Britain, often thought left behind by previous Conservative governments, continued. Hammond reversed Osbourne’s pledge to target a surplus at the end of their Parliament, and emphasised instead “when times change, we must change with them”. Hammond repeatedly recognised the role of investment “to build an economy that works for everyone”.

While Hammond signalled the scaling back of austerity, May pledged that “change must come” after the Brexit vote. She has decidedly detached herself from Cameron and responded the message which the electorate put forward on 23rd June, with commitments to crack down on immigration and intervene on behalf of workers. May declared the Conservatives were now “the party of the workers, the party of public servants, the party of the NHS” and even called Labour the “new nasty party.”

As anticipated, she was attacked by Corbyn for “fanning the flames of xenophobia and hatred in our communities” but perhaps his greatest worry is that the Conservatives are once again appealing to his core voter base. She has simultaneously begun altering the damaging Party image of establishment cronies, and pushed for “an agenda that…understands the good government can do, that will never hesitate to face down the powerful when they abuse their positions of privilege, that will always act in the interests of ordinary, working class people”.

Corbyn’s allegiance to the traditional working class through his trade union alliances is perhaps one of the only factors keeping him as leader. As this Conservative Party pushes ahead from a position of strength, they are truly wiping Labour from the political map of Westminster. Through appealing to the electorate who are left behind by Corbyn’s socialist policy, but deeply care about workers’ rights, we can predict the Conservative’s support base will expand even further towards 2020.

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