The overwhelming coverage of Brexit in the news has meant very few segments are left to cover the domestic crises that have riddled this country. Since the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition was sworn into Downing Street in 2010, a wave of intense cuts to critical public services has followed.
The NHS has faced an existential staff shortage that has struggled to cope with the increased use of the service in recent times. Local governments are forced to cut back, many facing bankruptcy, meaning a litany of their local services for children in need and poverty-stricken communities have been dismantled. A record number of people, particularly, workers are now relying on food banks than ever before. Next year, a new inhumane scheme introduced by the Tories will see 3 million working families be affected by a new benefits roll out already being deplored by leading politicians.
These are just a few examples that coincide with numerous others that are proof the country is facing a socioeconomic devastation. The 2008 financial crash has seen wages stagnated further since the post-war period. Communities and low-skilled workers are relying heavily on their elected representatives to help them overcome hardship. The mood of the nation reflects the period of economic uncertainty that was rife in early 1930’s America. An administration formed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, willing to transform America’s economic and social emergency after the 1929 Wall Street crash, was sworn in to Washington in a landslide win.
The recovery efforts in the U.S under Roosevelt could be an inspiration to help the British predicament in the present day. Roosevelt implemented a ‘New Deal’ strategy, with its primary aims to provide relief for the poor, revitalise infrastructure and re-inflate the strained banking industry. Around one-third of the American population were struggling financially, so Roosevelt provided immediate relief through programs to get people back into work by improving hospitals, schools and roads. Many of the unemployed were given job opportunities that were previously non-existent. School meals were readily available and the workers’ wages were paid by Roosevelt’s programs. Roosevelt also took note of the debilitating rural poverty that had struck the American landscape. With an increase in mechanisation and modernisation in poorer farm regions, Roosevelt was vigorous in helping agriculture beat hard times. With farming improving, the prosperity of the nation also increased.
The New Deal’s legacy has generally been approved by historians as left-wing politics’ greatest achievement. The Democratic party in the U.S sustained popular support from the 1930’s until the 60’s. A centralised government, the evisceration of poverty and safeguards on banks meant the New Deal was propagated as an anti-individualist approach to governance by hardcore Republicans.
The New Deal has been celebrated in history as a great cause and recovery scheme for the American working-class. Many argue that Roosevelt’s New Deal was a socialist strategy intent on overhauling America’s frustrated underclass. With the wealth gap widening in Britain and the working-class voter base becoming firmer, a transformative agenda like the New Deal could be salutary to many in the U.K. A socialist-led Labour party today could expose the Tories as inept and ignorant in helping the average worker come out of austerity. Austerity measures in Britain are crippling the many but the presence of a right-wing mainstream media and conservative dominance in parliament means it generally goes unnoticed.
There are 4 million children estimated to be living in poverty. There are 3 million families relying on food banks. There are NHS services currently preparing for a winter period set to be draining on their resources and staff. The signs are all there. Britain needs instrumental change to its deteriorating communities and general attitude. A New Deal manifesto, inspired by the late Roosevelt, could help the current Labour party attract voters and bring the country back to its best.
The Conservative party are destroying their own self-image with Brexit. To ensure a British government takes pride in assisting workers and the lower class, a Roosevelt 1930’s America would be applauding from the grave.