It’s official: the United Kingdom has been under Tory rule for 10 years.
And if the last five hadn’t been so utterly weird, we might now be welcoming a new prime minister to the country’s helm, because it was just five years ago that David Cameron secured a surprise majority in 2015.
Cameron was first elected on 7 May 2010 and again on 8 May 2015, albeit without his coalition buddy Nick Clegg the second time.
But rather than the electoral cycle playing out in its usual way, we’ve instead had four years of Brexit, two snap elections and now five more guaranteed years of Tory rule.
To mark this milestone, we’ve rounded up the most defining moments of the last decade of Tory prime ministers.
2010: Raised tuition fees to £9,000 a year
Immediately after his election, David Cameron began making decisive changes to Britain’s economy. Chancellor George Osborne announced dramatic cuts to public services and introduced a cap on pay rises for public sector workers, ushering in what would become a decade of austerity.
The government also famously tripled university fees to £9,000 a year. University graduates now typically enter the workforce tens of thousands of pounds in debt.
A new contract for junior doctors sparked widespread protests as it redefined that constituted “unsociable hours”. Under the plans proposed by Jeremy Hunt, weekends and late evenings were considered “normal working hours”.
Changes in how part-time work was paid was also determined to disproportionately affect women. The dispute, which lead to walk outs and strikes, wasn’t resolved until 2019.
The majority of those affected were people invited to live and work in the UK during the post-war labour shortage from the Caribbean, who were named the "Windrush generation".
2019: Unlawfully prorogued parliament
Boris Johnson became prime minister in 2019, and one of the first things he did was unlawfully suspended parliament for five weeks.
Johnson’s antics were no less erratic in his subsequent election campaign and included grabbing a reporter’s phone out of his hand and hiding in a fridge. All in all, it was a scandalous first few months on the job.
2020: Acted slowly to respond to the threat of coronavirus
Britain has the second highest death toll from coronavirus in the world behind the USA. Johnson has been accused of being too slow to recognise and act on the threat the pandemic posed, according to a report by The Sunday Times.
... So there we have it: a decade of Tories in Downing Street, bad decision by bad decision.
The UK is set for at least another five years of Conservative governments, and likely more according to precedent: no opposition party has won an election immediately after a win the size of Boris Johnson’s, meaning that if Labour doesn’t successfully appeal to voters by the mid-2020s Britain could be looking at two decades of Tory rule.
The worst hit by the Conservative Party’s economic reforms and funding cuts tend to be the most deprived and marginalised. People on lower incomes, BAME people and women suffer most from cuts to public services. And with the UK potentially looking at another recession after the coronavirus lockdown, it’s important to remember that.
But for now, let's "stay alert" and wait for the next scandal to come along... because judging from the last decade, it won't take too long.