As events unfolded during 2022, the future of our country was blighted not only by catastrophic global issues, but also by a government in a permanent state of crisis, largely of their own making.
The year began under the cloud of ‘Partygate’ and the prime minister’s pathetic attempts to delay any investigations into his failure to comply with his own lockdown laws. Even within his own party, Johnson’s popularity declined as rapidly as his credibility.
The Conservative Party was about to implode. Opinion polls increasingly indicated Johnson’s popularity was waning, fuelling fears among Tory MPs of losing their seat. They eventually removed him.
The lack of leadership, vision and a plan for the future from the government was becoming increasingly apparent and now there was the additional disruption in the form of a Tory leadership battle.
Undoubtedly, the year had been tough for everyone. Then the growing post-lockdown optimism evaporated almost overnight as another global crisis emerged in the form of Vladimir Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine.
The horror of the pandemic was replaced by the horror of a war within Europe and the loss of life. Our dependency on Russian fuel exposed our economic vulnerability as spiralling energy costs sent the global economy into turmoil.
Then things got a whole lot worse.
Liz Truss was thrust into the role of PM by the Conservative Party membership which ultimately turned out to be unpopular amongst many Tory MPs.
Her record breaking shortest term of office (just 44 days) will be remembered mainly for her disastrous “mini budget” on September 23 that spooked markets, sent borrowing rates up, and tanked the British pound.
Robert Halfon (Minister for State) told the prime minister her actions which caused market turmoil, an increase in mortgage bills and a collapse in political support had undone a decade’s work.
Rishi Sunak became the third prime minister this year, bringing a series of U-turns including a confused policy on renewable energy. Expanding fossil fuel production, plans to open a new coal mine, and lack of investment in renewable energy posing a threat to our long-term energy security, the environment, and our economy.
As the full impact of the cost of living crisis begins to bite, long-term lack of investment in the NHS, and finally a government refusal to even discuss pay, brought matters to a head resulting in rarely considered strike action by a nursing profession driven by a commitment to providing care for patients.
Lifting the cap on banker’s bonuses with 50,000 NHS vacancies, as public money is frittered away on agency fees and temporary agency nurses’ wages, epitomises current government thinking.
This week, Kier Starmer’s demand for non-dom residents to pay their taxes in this country generating £3.6bn revenue, provides an example of the solutions available if the political will exists.
It is the fundamental role of a government to establish the conditions required to promote the economic, mental and physical well-being of all the members of every community.
A vision for the future supported by a clear plan provides protection from inevitable threats and setbacks. We need a government to provide that plan and security. The past 12 years, the current year of turmoil and the mood in the population reflects not only a failure to fulfil that obligation, but also a lack of confidence in their capacity to do so.
With an election looming, a change of government increasingly offers hope for many people who deserve better.