In his first public address of the New Year, the Prime Minister made five pledges which he says are the foundations for a better future. After thirteen years, aren’t we entitled to more than laying the foundations?
He says he’ll half inflation before the end of the year which, as Chancellor, he let rip. Of course, it will fall if, as many experts predict, we’re plunged into recession. He’s also promised to grow the economy. When his predecessor said that she almost bankrupted the country. The independent Office of Budget Responsibility predicts our economy will shrink by 1.4% this year, with a rise in unemployment of half a million.
There’s also a promise to reduce the National Debt which gets the hairs on the back of my neck standing because, last time the Tories became obsessed with debt, we suffered 10 years of austerity which wrecked our public services and has ended with the National Debt rising to a staggering £2.48 trillion.
There’s a claim he’ll stop small boats and tackle smuggling gangs. His four immediate predecessors all made similar claims as smuggling and channel crossings continued to expand. There was also a reference to anti-social behaviour which he apparently thinks can be a gateway activity leading to further criminality. Pity the Tories have ignored it for so long.
Finally, he promises to cut NHS waiting lists. They’re now at a record 7 million, almost three times what they were when the Tories came to power in 2010. In his most recent comments, the Secretary of State for Health seems to be pinning his hopes on ‘virtual wards’. My fear is that might lead to virtual care. As veteran Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh put it, Labour has a long-term plan and the Tories don’t.
I wish the PM well with his pledges. The five or is that six, worrying that he has a problem with numbers, are the minimum we should expect, but after thirteen years we’re entitled to demand much more. My New Year message is that if he can’t do better, he should make way for a party that can.