Today was my first General Election and I’ve never been so torn in my life. What are you supposed to vote for when you have no faith and disagree with both parties who are taking part in a Two-Horse Race?
In the one corner, we have conservatives, the party who will get us through Brexit and ensure we get a good deal out of it. In the other corner, we have labour, the party for the “working man,” and who wants to save our NHS. But for me, both these parties have fatal flaws that I cannot justify to vote for either of them.
Let’s start with Conservatives, who many will say are there to make the rich, richer. They are fighting for a cap on social care costs, scrapping of free school meals for primary school students, cutting taxes for the large corporations, Dementia Tax, preventing a pay rise for hard-working Nurses, and finally, bringing back Fox Hunting. There has also been speculation that they plan to privatise the NHS, however, the party has pledged to increase NHS spending “by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years.” They also claim immigrants using the NHS will face increased charges, and that they will secure the status of the 140,000 health and social care sector staff from EU countries. In their actual manifesto, the party pledge to lower immigration, raise the tax-free personal allowance, as well as the above mentioned increased funding to the NHS.
Then we’ve got Labour, the party who want to make University Tuition free, increase the national minimum wage, increase Corporation tax as well as higher taxes for the high earners, and increase funding to the NHS. Now all of this may seem positive, but have you really thought about all of this?
I am a 19-year-old girl, who is both in education and working (paying tax may I also add,) and I just cannot add all of Labours plans together? To start with, the free University Tuition just does not sit right with me. Understandable for degrees leading to essential jobs we need in our Country such as; the teachers, the doctors, the nurses, the researchers etc. But I will not be supportive of sending Mr Bloggs from Newport to University for three years, for free, to study Photography, just to come out and go work in a job that a degree wasn’t needed. If that’s the case, maybe I’ll go study “Surf Science and Technology” in Cornwall if I’m getting it for free! Surely that £27,000 is better off in the NHS? Especially when between the years of 2010 to 2015, the annual cost of Cancer treatment alone in our NHS was an astonishing £5 billion. Quite frankly, supporting free tuition fees to me feels like we are promoting kids to go have three years in university for the social life, when actually maybe they should start taking some responsibility for their future.
Next, we have the increase in higher earners taxes and corporation tax, in which the money recovered will apparently go to increasing NHS funding and this free tuition for students. Now before I start stating my opinion on this topic, I’d like to make a point that I am nowhere near being a high earner and have only recently started making enough money to even get taxed. Yet it still doesn’t sit right with me that somebody who has worked hard to get to the position they are in or have a real talent to show the World, should have their tax increased so I can go and study “Surf Science and Technology” for free. If a normal person won £64 million on the lottery, they are not expected to pay tax on the winnings, and they’ve acquired that money on sheer luck. That type of money is still more than some of these high earners are likely to earn in their working lifetime, yet for some reason, we are entitled to this money tax-free. This brings me onto the corporation tax. So yes, large companies need to be paying the right amount of tax which hasn’t necessarily been happening. However, paying the right amount of tax and increasing that tax even further is a different ball game. When you pair that with Corbyn wanting an increase in the National Minimum Wage (meaning some of these companies outgoings in wages may near enough increase by a quarter) and then adding in the factor the people behind the decision making at these companies are also going to get personally taxed more (if in the UK) for their high wage, would you really want to keep trading in this country if it was you, or move your focus elsewhere where there is a lower minimum wage you have to pay your employees. Yes, there is the argument that currently, we have one of the lowest corporation taxes in Europe and that the increase would only make us on par with the rest of the nations, however, with the uncertainty of the deals going to be made regarding BREXIT, shouldn’t we consider corporation tax as a factor that could potentially persuade companies not to jump ship to another country?
Then we’ve got the national minimum wage increase as a problem on its own. An increase in the national minimum wage could be devastating to those independent small businesses that are becoming harder and harder to come across every day. These businesses are already struggling to compete with larger corporations competitive prices and the convenience they provide in where we can get multiple types of goods in one place. Increasing the minimum wage means their outgoings would be increased with no potential of it increasing their profitability. This will only make these businesses lose money, which may even have the potential of closing these businesses down and therefore making more people unemployed. It’s all well and good increasing the national minimum wage, but if businesses can’t afford to pay it, these people are facing having no wage at all because there is no longer a job for them.
And Finally, the thing that concerns me the most potentially about Labour is them trying to get the Best BREXIT deal for our country. Leaving the EU was a decision made by us last year, and regardless if we’ve changed our minds, it’s happening. I’m struggling to have any faith that any party that was against leaving the EU will be able to get what we need when making deals with other countries. Is Jeremy Corbyn really strong enough to get what we need when leaving the EU? I respected David Cameron for stepping down when we sided against his fight for staying in the EU. I don’t think he would be in a place to negotiate for our benefit, in the same way, we would find it very hard to fight for a cause we don’t believe in.
I want to see a party willing to change how our system works. Too many people get away with abusing our system. I’ve seen and know people first hand who are able to work, yet choose to live off the state through our benefits system because it’s an easier option and we are allowing them to do it. Even more so, I’ve worked with some people who are actually worse off for working than they would be claiming benefits. The cost of childcare and other things related to this which they’d get support for off the state if they didn’t choose to work makes these people lose money every week. Furthermore the abusing of our NHS should not go on and needs to be tightened. We have some people who are going to the doctor’s each week to get their note for why they can’t work and need benefits, and then they are going off doing “odd jobs” on the side, tax-free. Then we have those who’ll go for a prescription of paracetamol costing the NHS four times as much as we can pick it up for, and I’m sure many of you have seen the article about people flying into the country for medical treatment they cannot pay for.
And finally, I still do not understand why the refugees we accept have no right to work? Some of these people are highly educated. We have doctor’s coming in and the only option they have is to be supported by the state? Surely something should be implemented where we can make use of the skills these people have and lessen the burden they have on our economy?
For me, it felt like today I had to decide which one of these parties was the lesser evil. I disagreed with both Labour and Conservatives and knew the only party that I have any hope for had no chance of getting in. So do I decide which of these parties is the lesser evil? Or do I stick with my gut and vote for a minority party who’s manifesto and policies I believed in? Even saying this, not one party addressed some of the issues that I wanted to be addressed. And furthermore, I don’t actually believe that any of the parties will stick to their word, just like with BREXIT and the promises made to us if we voted to leave, which were then back-tracked just a day after the vote.