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GE2015: The Conservatives: The only real choice by Charlotte Sharman

Sunday, April 19, 2015

 

The Conservative Party is a centre-right political party that was founded in 1834 and are one of the two major parties in the UK. Until the dissolution of Parliament in March 2015, the party held 302 out of 650 seats in the House of Commons, making them the largest party in chamber, and have been in a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats since the 2010 general election, which produced a hung parliament where no single party received the majority of seats. Typical Conservative values are based on a free market, British unionism and a smaller state with less central government intervention.

David Cameron: Is he right for the job?

David Cameron has been the Member of Parliament for Witney since 2001, leader of the Conservative Party since 2005 and has been Prime Minister since 2010. 

Many see Cameron as a rather moderate figure compared to his predecessors; although his stance appeals to the younger, more liberal wing of the party, I believe that this shift towards the centre was slightly problematic, with many former Conservative voters now intending to vote for UKIP on 7th May.

Many also see Cameron as your typical Conservative politician – a white, male, privately educated Oxbridge graduate. He is seen to be out of touch with the people, but similar could be said for most politicians. However, at the end of the day, I would argue that he is the best leader to run our country. During his time as Prime Minister, the Conservatives have passed some controversial pieces of legislation, such as the increase of university tuition fees and the bedroom tax. However, in doing so, I believe that Britain’s economy has grown stronger, with the deficit that was left by the previous Labour government being halved.

Compared to the 2010 debates, I wouldn’t say that the leaders debate on 2nd April was a game changer, but I still believe that Cameron performed well on the night. Judging by Ed Miliband’s performance, you could tell that he was trying his best to connect with the audience at home, but his constant eye contact with the camera was slightly off-putting. Considering this, I believe that Cameron should make more of an effort to be in touch with the people – just not using the techniques that Miliband used.

A stronger economy for Britain

The phrase ‘long-term economic plan’ is one that has been mentioned many times by the Conservatives over the past year, but what does this plan involve?

In order to build a stronger economy for Britain, the Conservatives aim to reduce the deficit, cut income tax, create more jobs, cap welfare and immigration and deliver the best schools. Yes, this phrase is overused, but the plan has been quite effective; as mentioned previously, the deficit has been reduced and unemployment has decreased since 2010. Considering the state of the economy five years ago, I believe that the country is a lot better off today.

A wake up call for the Conservatives?

I would argue that if it weren’t for UKIP, immigration would not be a high priority for any of the parties. 

The Conservatives aim to cap immigration to ensure that the system is fair for hardworking British people; the Immigration Act 2014 ensures that illegal immigrants will not exploit our public services and will restrict their access to benefits. Although some aspects of immigration can be good for a country, I believe that it is vital that it is controlled and restricted to those who want to contribute to our society, and they should by no means take advantage of our public services.

Britain’s membership in the EU has also become an important issue. As a result, the Conservatives have pledged to hold a referendum by 2017 to determine Britain’s EU membership. I argue that the Conservatives are the only party who will provide the electorate with such a choice; Labour won’t offer a referendum and UKIP do not have the power or support to offer one.

The campaign for Number 10

Critics have said that Cameron has lacked passion during the campaign. Although other party leaders may appear to be more passionate in comparison, such as Nicola Sturgeon, I would not necessarily agree that Cameron completely lacks passion. I think that this might be due to the fact that he’s out of touch with voters, which once again is something that he needs to work on.

In regards to the party as a whole, I believe that the Conservatives have run a fair campaign in the run up to this election. Their RoadTrip2015 campaign has been extremely effective, where many activists from all over the country come together to campaign in certain marginal seats. This has left the other parties slightly nervous, so even if Cameron may appear to lack passion, it is clear that Conservative activists are very committed to their cause.

A plethora of outcomes

I am confident that this election will produce a hung parliament, but I still do not have a clear idea of who will gain the most seats, or rather, who will go into a coalition with who; this is why I believe it will be a very exciting general election.

Despite sharing similar views, I do not think that the Conservatives would form a coalition with UKIP and it would be very unhealthy for the Conservatives in the long run. 

Also, due to the First-Past-The-Post electoral system, I anticipate that UKIP will not live up to the hype that the party has built up over the past two years; I predict that they will gain five or less seats, making them an ineffective coalition partner. That being said, I believe that it is possible that a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition may be repeated, despite the unpopularity of the Liberal Democrats.

If the Conservatives were unsuccessful, I would not be surprised if a Labour-Liberal Democrat or SNP coalition was formed, even though most of the parties claim that they are not willing to form a coalition with anyone. We also shouldn’t forget that there is also the possibility of a minority government or even a three-way coalition, which I believe would result in disastrous consequences.

I would expect Cameron to resign if the Conservatives weren’t victorious in May. When considering his replacement, I would like to see some diversity in the role, with Theresa May and Sajid Javid being my preferences. However, I definitely would not be opposed to a Conservative Party led by Boris Johnson, whose charisma and humour makes him by far the most approachable to the electorate.

Although Britain is gradually becoming a multi-party system due to the rise of minor and nationalist parties, the Conservatives and Labour will still gain the most votes and seats in Parliament, so I believe that it is certain that we will still end up with either Cameron or Miliband as our Prime Minister following the 2015 general election.

BRIT POLITICS General Election 2015 Team - about Charlotte

Charlotte SharmanCharlotte Sharman, 19, is a first year Politics and International Relations student at the University of Kent. 

During her gap year, she was an intern in the Westminster office of an MP and has recently completed an internship programme run by the Civil Service Fast Stream.

Originally from Surrey, Charlotte became interested in politics during the 2010 general election, and hopes that more young people get involved in politics following the general election this year.

Read more articles like this and find out more about UK General Election 2015

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