By Shiv Pillai
In the past 18 months, many of the UK’s citizens have been used to sudden and drastic changes in the nation’s law. From social distancing rules, to mask wearing, and to even multiple strict lockdowns - Britain has been through a great ordeal in the past year and a half. But what could happen in the next decade? Well, in this article I highlight my key predictions which are based on current controversies and affairs, which may spark particular interest with those dictating the power in Westminster in the next decade.
One of the key laws which has already been in use, but will play a key role in how people live their lives in the next decade, is the use of Covid Vaccine Passports. In Boris Johnson’s own words ‘we are going to have to learn to live with the (corona)virus’. The Chief Medical Officer himself, Prof Chris Whitty, has said that we have to learn to live with Covid in a similar way to the flu. With that being said, at the current moment, vaccine passports are encouraged but not mandatory. However, come September, in order to enter large gatherings such as nightclubs and concerts everyone will be required to have been double jabbed and have their vaccine passport on the NHS app, or have it as a paper version. This rule will dictate how people socialise, receive entertainment, and even do business. Already there has been a huge outcry for this rule to be abolished, however it looks as if it is here to stay. Other nations are already making laws on how you can enter their country with Covid Passports. The European Union for example has created a Digital Covid Certificate for citizens of their member states who are double vaccinated. This means that a holder of this certificate will be able to travel in and around Europe, free of any restrictions. It is believed that many other countries across the world are thinking of doing something similar to what the EU has done for those who are double vaccinated, and foreigners of their country. This would undoubtedly make the world get closer to a normal state, however it does spark criticisms for the idea of these passports being discriminatory to those who choose to invoke their freedom of what they do to their own body.
Laws surrounding abuse are inevitably going to become stricter in the UK, particularly around social media and the internet. There has been a large number of racist abuse reported in recent years, especially around black athletes, which has led to activists, influencers and politicians calling for new laws to be put in place for social media platforms to act on the abuse users are receiving. If these laws are put in place, the narrative around online abuse could change, from the abusers getting away with their crime, to many receiving fines and even jail time for their use of discriminatory and offensive language online. Already we are starting to see some people receive jailtime for racial abuse, most notably after the European Championship final, which saw England lose to Italy. Four people were arrested over their abuse of the black English football players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka. If new laws are put in place which call on social media companies to ban people straight away for their use of racist and foul language, then there could be a development in restricting abusers online, and perhaps from receiving jobs, or even going to foreign countries.
Another law that could potentially come into place, but yet seems so fantastical, is the legalisation of cannabis in London, if not the entire nation, in the next decade. During his successful campaign for a second term, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that he will consider setting up an independent drugs commission to investigate the benefits of decriminalising cannabis. If the commission finds that the legalisation of cannabis is good, this could see a drastic change in London’s economy, which may even cause a tidal wave of jobs, leading to the legalisation of cannabis in the entire UK. This has happened before in Canada, its legalisation of cannabis caused an $8.2 billion growth in Canada’s economy, whilst creating over 9000 jobs in the first year of the decriminalisation alone.
Tuition fees have always been a topic of hot debate in the Britain. Many support the idea of tuition fees, saying that you should pay for progressing your future, but others say that education is a universal right, as it says in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, has called the debt that students collate from their education a ‘scandal’. If a Labour government comes into power in the next decade, it is likely that the abolishment of tuition fees is one of the first things they do. Whilst tuition fees were brought in by a Labour government, it does seem that it is a policy that they regret greatly, as it is now one of their top priorities to abolish.
Another Scottish Independence Referendum seems to be getting closer and closer. Out of the 124 MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, 64 are from the SNP, a majority which dictates what happens in Holyrood. If Scotland does leave the United Kingdom, it would change Britain’s constitution. Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom since the Act of Union in 1707, therefore if Scotland chose to become independent, they would need to form an entirely new state which would require setting up all its own domestic institutions and of course the possibility of re-joining the EU which is a wish of the SNP. The rest of the UK would continue as normal.
These are the 5 Key Laws that could shape Britain most notably this next decade. There is of course the possibility that they may not happen, however if they do, they will undoubtedly have a lasting effect on the citizens of this nation, the economy, and perhaps even other countries.