Over the past few weeks it has become increasingly clear that the Conservatives aren’t the cornerstone of unity that they claim to be, but are instead becoming increasingly divided.
Friday evening signified this – Iain Duncan Smith released his resignation letter from his post as Work and Pensions Secretary.
He writes that the his decision was based on the Budget cuts to the disability benefits, declaring them as “a compromise too far” and “not defensible.” Although this may have contributed to his resignation, it is clear that this decision boiled down to his political view on the relationship that the UK has with the EU and ultimately his advocation of ‘Brexit.’
This is conclusive evidence that the Conservative Party is beginning to crumble from the very foundations; divisions are intensifying, contention continues to rise and the wounds grow deeper. IDS’ resignation marks the point where the Conservatives begin to decline, many predicted it, but Friday’s event established that these internal divisions will become external challenges.
As the EU Referendum approaches and campaigns begin to gather momentum, these deep-rooted differences have the possibility of becoming paramount to the debate. Indeed, a large focus is now not only going to be on the Referendum, but also the impact it has on political parties – most crucially, the Conservatives.
Rivalry amongst the membership will inevitably develop into an underlying force and rebellions will become a familiarity.
This can only be a positive for the opposition benches, it gives them an opportunity to reestablish unity and engage voters that become dissociated with the conflicted Conservative Party.
Last year’s General Election result was a shock to the majority of the electorate. The people across the UK (excluding Scotland) didn’t vote for change, essentially a Conservative Government that promoted unity was elected.
But, if this unity is no longer apparent and their policies continue to penalise those who are most vulnerable, the electorate will, with time, become antagonistic towards the Government.
The political atmosphere is on a movement towards dynamic change, 2016 marks the first step of this journey.