by Geo Collins
With the appointment of Theresa May as our country’s new Prime Minister, a new era of Conservative politics has begun. A fresh, new cabinet, the second ever female Prime Minister after a long twenty-six year wait, and a determination to serve the people of Britain through to 2020 and beyond. Yet, much of this new direction and upward trajectory which the Conservative Party now posses can be accredited to David Cameron, a leader who will go down in history as a revolutionary politician and a great Prime Minister.
After being out of government for thirteen years, and the country having had experienced the full force of a Blairite existence (Blairite /bleəˈraɪt/ – a type of shy Tory that believe joining Labour hides this fact), what we needed was an updated, modernised, and compassionate Conservative Party which looked to lead the future instead of staying seated in the past. That is exactly the party David Cameron lead.
An upper-class, Oxford-educated public schoolboy, stereotypes would make it easy to believe that David Cameron would be out of touch with the 21st century and too traditional in his ways to spearhead the British politics of the 2010 decade. And yet he is the Prime Minister whose government raised Personal Tax Allowance, giving a much-needed tax relief to those poorest in our society. His was the government that doubled the amount of available childcare for young children. His was the government that fought for a seven-day NHS. His was the government that vowed to protect state pensions. His was the government that was looking out for the most vulnerable in our society; it was the government that truly fought the stereotype of the ‘Nasty Party’, and became the party of the people – no matter what your background.
And as young people, we have a lot to thank Cameron for: raising tuition fees may seem on the surface like an unbeneficial move to young people, but it was in fact a blessing in disguise. The higher tuition fees allow for the universities to receive more funding, providing a better education in return, as well as being able to help the most disadvantaged students. But not only that – the threshold for repayment was raised to a salary of £21000, with interest rates so low that a £27000 degree actually becomes much less than that by the time your loan is written off. An amazing education with one of the best student loan systems on the planet, and all thanks to Cameron’s government.
Tuition fees aren’t the only improvement to education made under Cameron’s government. The introduction of academies has allowed failing schools to become flourishing centres of education. Free schools, while controversial, have provided disadvantaged communities with opportunities that weren’t previously available for their young people. And for those young people for whom a traditional education is not the right path, over 2.5 million apprenticeships have been created over the last six years, giving young people skills, education, and employment prospects, as well as helping businesses to flourish as a result.
Let us not forget that Cameron’s government was also the one to fully legalised same-sex marriage, as well as having a leader, a Chancellor, a Home Secretary, an Education Secretary, among other cabinet members, who have openly called themselves feminists. Their manifesto promises specifically outlined steps to be taken to help transgender people, as well as directing the Passport Office to review the introduction of gender neutral passports – a point not even raised in the LGBT Labour Manifesto. And even after the EU Referendum, progress was still being made, with a change in legislation where transgender people now no longer need to provide medical evidence in order to change their gender on their passport.
As well as everything David Cameron and his government have done for the good of the economy, young people, and society as a whole, it would be hard for anyone to argue that massive social and economic steps forward have not been taken, and that our country is not better off as a result. A leader who never buckled under the weight brought on by the age of the Internet, a leader who always made politics fun (his wit most obvious when let free from the dispatch box every Wednesday afternoon), and a leader who always stood up for what he believed in and did everything he could to improve the lives of the people of the country he loved, David Cameron’s impact on this country is not one that will be easily forgotten. The King’s College London Conservative Association wish all the best of luck to Mr Cameron, thank him for all he has done, and, as a Prime Minister, he shall be truly missed.
Geo Collins is the Social Secretary of KCLCA. Find more of her contributions here.