Film Editor James Evenden looks ahead to 2023 and asks what we might expect from a government at odds with its people

Written by James Evenden
Former Film Editor and English Literature Graduate
Images by Kristina Gadeikyte

When looking ahead to a new year, it can be easy to make reactionary statements about what it has in store for us. What I have to say might sound dramatic, and I wish this was not the case, but I believe 2023 is set to be worryingly more of the same national chaos that has become a normal part of life ever since the dawn of the new decade.

It seems the world has never fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and the upheaval it caused. The mayhem COVID-19 brought has never dissipated – in fact I’d say it has only gotten worse. In my opinion, 2022 was a year of political strife in the UK, including a winter of bitter discontent and exposures of our government’s blatant disregard for its citizens. I am writing this less than ten days into 2023, and already, it seems to me that this year will bring more of the same.

It is very impressive that in under two weeks there have already been several moments that have shown the sheer gulf between the Conservative government and the people. As we fall headfirst into another year of Conservative power, I do not know where they can go from here. 2022 thoroughly exposed the Conservatives as, in my opinion, utterly inept and tone deaf in their public image. This seems set to continue in 2023. 

Utterly inept and tone deaf in their public image

The winter of discontent continues, as the end of 2022 saw mass strikes from rail staff, postal workers, and nurses. This comes after a lack of pay increases across several sectors and disagreements over working conditions. The cost of living crisis continues to sweep the nation, and I do not think the Conservatives have any idea of how to combat it. 

On January 8th 2023, a report was released detailing MP earnings. It revealed that since the end of 2019, Conservative members have earned £15.2 million out of the £17.1 million earned by MPs in total. Personally, I do not think this is particularly shocking information. It does not come as news to me that the Conservatives earn lots of money on the side, sadly it’s a part of politics. However, with the cost of living crisis continuing, and strikers demanding more pay, the gap in wealth has proved a stark reminder that 2023 will not see an end to the disparity we have become accustomed to. 

I think the government is showing itself to be dysfunctional in times of national panic. As the crisis continues it doesn’t look like the strikes will end with a handshake and fake Tory smiles, and promises for a brighter future. The day after the MP earnings report, on January 9th, it was reported that the negotiations with the unions were disappointing, with some saying it left union leaders’ ‘extremely angry’. In my opinion, there seems to be no end in sight for the trouble we find ourselves in, and if anything, 2023 is showing that our leaders are not up to the task of leading us.

There seems to be no end in sight for the trouble we find ourselves in

It is easy to become overly negative in times like these. 2023 has, so far, proved to be a continuation of the troubles we were hoping to leave in 2022. In my opinion, we are living through some of the most difficult times in recent memory, and certainly our young lifetimes. I wish I had some good political news to impart, but I argue this good news is hard to come by in 2023’s short existence. All we can do is look to the future, and hope that politics in 2023 will see a renewal in the values we seek in our leaders. 

Looking forward to 2023, it seems, in my opinion, that the UK government is looking to its competitors for answers, instead of the crisis currently unfolding at home. As Sunak proposes a mandatory study of maths until eighteen, it appears to me that the Tories are only concerned with our global image. British workers justifiably want answers for their poor treatment, and I think that the only way we can ever hope to make 2023 one to remember is to get behind them to make their voices louder, before 2023 becomes another year we might wish to forget. 

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