Many people speak about the budget, the austerity cuts and the NHS, and truly that is what bost people in Britain look for in the manifestos, except when you are a UKIP supporter and the only measure of things is the membership to the EU. However reading the manifestos has actually high merit because one recognizes the general political zeitgeist.
One of the really positive things from most manifestos is the drive towards more equality on gender and sexuality and general tightening of discrimination. Even UKIP cough up references on tolerance. The Greens make equality their main theme, but it is also a theme for the Lib Dems and Labour.
However both Conservatives and of UKIP could mean that Britain soon leaves the European Human Rights Court and the guarantees it gives, not to speak of European migration issues and the freedom of movement.
One point UKIP fails but all other parties more than recognise on is actually another, a comprehensive and deep understanding on climate change. Not one of the four others excludes the topic. Whilst the Conservatives are less specific and comprehensive on on it than the Lib Dems, and the Greens the two most elaborate parties on this, as well as Labour, you have a feeling that they felt they needed to act, both on grounds of negotiated global targets and because of the accusation that their aims as the new green party on the block announced last time around where not acted upon.
Education is another key area beyond the budget and the NHS. All parties seem to believe more child care is better, though there are huge differences in outlook. The Conservatives believe in an increase of free schools and tight testing. Labour on the other hand is against free schools. The ib Dems and the Greens are the only two who would take school curriculum development away from state, whilst the Greens are the only party that talks about school to start only at 7 like around the world, and that there must be a new emphasis on the inter-social.
If you like a breath of fresh air it is well worth saving through the Lib Dem and the Green party manifestos. Labour, whilst more socially attune than the Conservatives are not as radical and several issues as Miliband makes us believe. However the reality of the questionable first past the post system will have it that this will remain a race between Labour and the Conservatives.
Of course at the end it is the deficit and austerity and how much needs to be cut that many people ask. The Conservatives stand alone with a fast repay, followed by the Lib Dems in their thought on necessity. Labour remains rather vague on how much the deficit will go down, whilst the Greens feel it is time to invest as the economy changes and new jobs and relationships will transform society.
As a press person I also noticed the Lib Dem reaction to Wikileaks and similar. Newspapers and the Media should be able to argue for exceptional special freedoms in court if their investigative journalism brings to light corruption, and human rights abuse, and infringements on liberty and the like. Most other parties at mention references to Leveson and the need of a charter.
The best policy that UKIP offers and biannual people’s referenda on major policy issues, however such votes whilst they increase democracy, will also come with a price tag.
Many parties are making huge promises on the NHS, even UKIP finds somehow 12 Billion Pounds, the largest amount of all parties.
on with my notes which were first shown on my facebook.
So read the #UKIP Manifesto. Here are some of the points I picked up:
The #UKIPManifesto is interesting to read because it is not as far removed from reality as some may believe to be, though some policies may let some raise eye brows, such as their cavalier attitude towards the climate change targets (they are not mentioned. Their key policy is the stop of EU membership which has a set of consequences. Their trade vision is global, and they talk of Japan, China and the U.S. alongside Europe as equal partners. They also want to leave the European Court of #HumanRights.
But it insists that Britain is and UKIP is a as a party tolerant. One of its policies states however to work against policies in the name of “multiculturalism that are divisive.”
They are against the keeping of data of innocent people, but the DNA samples and similar foreigners to be sentenced abroad are to be kept.
They like the budget for the #NHS to be lifted to £12bn and reintroduce housing benefit for the under 25s. To save costs it wants to abolish three departments, and offices, the Environment and Climate Change department, the National Service Office and the Big Society Office, the the Department of Overseas Aid.
They like to see an increase to police and security personnel
and a moratorium on #unskilled migration for 5 years. Generally they want an Australian point system on migration.
On housing they support new builds on brown fields and they support the right to buy option.
Big housing projects should be able to be opposed with 5% of local votes, there are to be biannual referenda on the most important issues of parliament to give back democracy. They are pro fracking and want to abolish incentives in wind and solar power as only hydro would work, they say. To solve the airport crisis they suggest the opening of a small airport that was closed. HS2 is to be scrabbed, and there are several pro car policies such as a 25 yr rule on classic cars excise duty release, ending toll roads, and decreasing speed cameras. They also are opposed to any pay as you drive schema, part of some environmental policies of others.
The #Smokingban is to be reviewed according to UKIP to add smoking rooms to pubs, and micro-breweries are to be assisted. As #FGM is non-British, it is specifically mentioned in the section on “British culture” as an issue that needs to be watched by all agencies involved. Similarly they specifically mention sham marriages and honour killings as to be watched. I wonder if it tells us something about how UKIP views certain migrants and how they position themselves against them?
They support the NATO 2 percent investment (they still like to be member of that) and support the nuclear deterrent option and #Trident.
They are big on animal welfare but also pro GM.
Taxationwise they have a three tear system between normal tax, 30% for mid level earners and 40% for high earners
Those studying Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine will be excluded from tuition fees. They like to create schools that look after kids between 08.00 and 18.00 and during the holidays.
The #LibDemManifesto. The first thing to mind is the size of the Manifesto of the #LiberalDemocrats. 158 pages, almost double the amount necessary by Labour, the Conservatives or the Greens, whilst there are thinned down easy read versions available I thought!
Once you have a look at manifesto number four (after Greens, Conservatives, Lib Dem), it becomes clear that all parties have decided on several key areas which are the same, based on assessments of what they thought are important. With the Lib Dems you even recognise this on the cover page. #LowCarbon Economy, Education, fight climate change, raise personal allowance, £8 bn for #NHS, emphasising in particular the Mental Health system, it says in colourful blocks.
The comprehensive copy of the LibDem Manifesto is well worth reading. It is mature and understands global challenges such as on the climate. It also knows how to work things out from the inside. But they do mostly without the dogmas of other parties work hard gain much, although their policy is not that much different it aims to emphasise positives. As LibDems their policies on the economy but also on rights in general,, democracy and human rights shine out as much as an incredibly strong drive on meeting the climate change targets, though some will be disappointed about their position on nuclear.
On the economy the Lib Dems intend to balance the books, but like Labour intend to do it in a fairer way. In that way they intend to upkeep taxation as a way to reduced the budget and be able to use a more sustainable percentage from 2017/2018. They say that would be the fairer way forward. They feel that further cuts to public services would be unsustainable. A big diagram states they will cut less than the Tories and borrow less than Labour.
Many of their policies are based on what has already been set during the coalition, including building on new banks, the New Green Investment Bank, and the building of #HS2 and double innovation in the next government. One of the familiar themes, supported by most parties is their drive to apprenticeship increase and the regional growth fund, which they label success. The financial policies are directional rather than specific, like wanting to support more alternative financing like crowdfunding and supporting an independent #Banko England. If they had their wy they would like to introduce Land Value Tax. Interesting is their commitment to set a zero carbon economy by 2050, they want more legally binding targets on pollution and inadequate resource use and put the Green agenda on the list of the NHS and school priorities. They have the most interesting policy on airport expansion, being opposed to the expansion of any of the London airports and rather seeing this as an issue for Britain as a whole. Airports should not interfere with the 2050 zero carbon policy. Like the Greens they specify of the need of energy reduction. By 2030 60% of the energy should come from renewables, however they remain open on nuclear energy and on fracking but insist on stringent safety. 70% of waste should be recycled they argue. They also like to create more national parks where local communities want it. One tree is to be planted fpr each baby born, amounting to 750.000 trees a year. They like to support all EU emission and pollution standards. They will introduce a Green Transport Act, a Zero Carbon Britain Act, and a Green Buildings Act (to include insulation regulation). 300.000 new homes to be built per year with new rent to own housing and 10 new Garden Cities. They like to ban letting agent fees to keep rental costs down and consider licensing rental, and rent repayment orders where rental properties are deficient of standards.
Their increase of #personalallowance is the same as the Conservatives, £12500 and they state they like to introduce free child care for two year olds, and free child care of up to 20 hours fr children up to 4 years old and expand the shared paternity leave and make child care up to £2000 tax free. Like Labour they support a mansion tax set at a £2 M threshold and wish to ensure there are no ore tax loopholes. On benefits they support the Tories Universal Credit. The fuel allowance and TV licence for pensioners is to be means tested. The Lib Dem education policy is based on fairness and access and making sure qualified teachers ensure set standards in numeracy and reading and writing. However interestingly they mention the #Education Endowment Foundation in order to establish what world in education rather than pre assume politically what works (e..g. Tories grammar schools), and an Educational Standards Authority that is totally removed from ministerial interference. They also specifically mention the teaching of religious and non religious views. Other policies they mention are for looked after children and a 2/3 reduction on bus for young people between 16-21 years. The abolish tuition fees promise is gone, they focus instead on making the student debt repay as fair as possible and helping those who most need it to study.
On rights they would like a digital bill and freedom of rights act introduced to protect from undue governmental interference or spying. They champion equality on gender and sexuality and like to see a continuation of it, with targets of 30% of women in companies boards. They also like to increase legislation for secular ceremonies allowing humanist weddings for example. To make employment more equal they like to have name blank recruitment in the public sector. Interestingly on freedom of press, they like to allow journalists special and exceptional powers to break the law in order to expose and judicial approval before journalists have to give free their sources. They are generally supportive of penal reform, including special education programmes for drug offenders, and to review both #LegalAid. They also want to permit cannabis for medical use and review the experiments on legalisation elsewhere. They support on the other hand strong border checks (exit and entry) and want to continue employment and school checks. But #EUmigration is not to be interfered with, although they will tighten some rules like on child benefit to children abroad. Loss of life in the Mediterranean trafficking is supposed to be worked with on a united approach. Despite having lost out on parliamentary reform in the last government they want to continue to work for a reform of the house of lords an proportional governmental representation. Parliament must also become more family friendly with more job shares on offer. Naturally they support the devolution and decentralisation processes. Their foreign and defence policies are mature with many specific examples. They explain why they kept the NATO 2% spending requirement and know what challenges lie ahead. However crucially they see defence as a partnership with others arrangement rather than one of sole lead. Economically they support the EU market and #Ttips. Their overseas Aid is supposed to be kept at 0.7% with aims on eradicating poverty and discrimination and promote sustainability.
The #GreenPartyManifesto spends much time explaining its rational, going through the fact that resources are finite, and that if all people on earthy consumed the same as in the UK we needed three earths, if as much as in the US four earth. They seem most closely to understand voters apathy and dissatisfaction with current politics. Their starting thesis is that they do not believe that the economy is a dire as indicated. More important than growth they argue is equality. They like to stop measuring the UK by GDP but instead by Adjusted National Product which would take into account the environment and unpaid work performed at home. The policies are in part well argued, it looks like experts are behind many of them, for example on the school policy, certainly on their environmental policy. The #Greens surprise with costing at the end of the chapter though whilst they save 21 bn the costs of spending will go up, but it is assumed that the economy will improve through the equality based and environmental system they propose. If the policies of Labour and the Conservatives may only excite in part as new approaches, the Greens come up with a wealth of ideas and policies missing from current political debates. On the other hand some of their policies may need proper checks if they are not to be abused, such as their family unification policy for immigrants. Without prospects of the Greens becoming the winning party in May, some of what they propose could be a useful point of departure in potential coalition or even as a guide to the larger parties how they could enrich their thinking. The Greens make use of pointing at failures over the New Labour and the Conservative / Lib Dem coalition, for example the privatisation of Royal Mail.
Some ideas are merely directive, but others are very clear we will, we will not, many with a price tag. What the Greens do further well herein is to explain the background to each policy, as many people may read such ideas for the first time. Greens want to use the opportunity and interest in them to be understood and pass on their message of a alternative.The policy I disagree with is their call for a boycott of Israel. Here they have fallen in the trap of the anti-Israel lobby. It is singular, as they only ask this of Israel, and sets in the footsteps of a long racist history of boycotting and excluding Jewish people. They would be much better of to engage with all those progressive organisations and parties that exist in Israel.
Should they become coalition partners one or the other policy may enter the actual political discourse.
Some of the bits I picked out:
Local #CreditUnions are to provide alternatives to banks and credit sharks.
Ban on cages in poultry
CCTV in all #slaughterhouses
ban on foe gras, cloning.and ending genetic selection on fast growing animals
protection of UK farmers from low welfare imports
stop non medical animal experiences,
stop #GM animal breeding,
end puppy farming,
review dog legislation.
Publish free publicly funded scientific research,
prevent gene patenting, banning waste food and organic material to landfill,
recycle 70% of domestic waste by 2020 and move towards zero waste,
tighten targets on #CO2emissions taking consideration of the fact that the UK has used above its world population share over many decades. Cut energy demand by ½ 2020, by ½ 2030, 2/3 by 2050
free nationwide retrofit house insulation to avoid fuel poverty, costing £45 bn but creating 100.000 jobs.
£4.5bn into research less energy costing processes over one parliament, priority on community base energy creation.
Invest up to £35bn in renewable grid in next parliament
All public buildings to have solar panels by 2020
up to £2.5bn into research of alternative energy, such as tidal and wave power
phase out all carbon fuel by 2023, exit nuclear within 10 years, ban all fracking, expand electricity storage capacity, prevent new builds on flood plains.
- Reinstate finding for equality and human rights commission,
- Equality and diversity education to be compulsory in all schools,
- continue to tackle #institutionalRacism,
- 40% of all public bodies to be made up of women,
- £100M over course of gov. to nationwide rape crisis centres
- retain independent living fund
- provide 0.5bn for free social care for 18
- increase disability living allowance by £1bn per year
- increases carers allowance by 50% (=£1.2bn per year) 6.5 M careres saves state £119 bn
- end external testing of disabled persons,
- free local transport to all young people and students (£4bn/yr)
- raise criminal age to 14, lower voting right to 16, make higher education free,reinstate beneft
- for under 25 yr olds
- free NHS prescriptions for all, abolish #TVlicence, but support BBC
- Repeal Health and social care act 2012, gov needs to provide comprehensive health service,
- NHS have to declare financial interests and conflict of intr, stop further PFI, increase /
- re-establish public governance,
- NHS budget incr by 12bn icr tobacco and alcohol taxes
- access within one month to talking therapy
- schools: democratic accountability, comprehensive system of which grammars should be part!
- Local authority to decide how they want to spend education money , play, social cohesion, confidence building for 6yr. compulsory educ. to start at age 7, abolishment of SATS, broad balanced and enriching curriculum, coherent 16-19 framework and mix between vocational and academic, increase outdoor,
- Power to #BankofEngland to limit mortgage size, make buy to let less incentful through taxes, scrap help to buy schema,
- 500.000 new sociallyrental homes,
- 35 h. week, end 0 hours contracts, living wage, #RobinHoodTax, encourage small firms to thrive because they are closer to local community,
- 45% GDP to spend on public goods
- Wealth tax of 2% on the 1%
- make tax avoidance hard
- introduction of a basic income as opposed to benefit
- double child benefit
- #Billofrights with reform of house of lords,
- reintroduce legal aid
- no cap on council tax. And new taxes, eg. Tourist tax,
- human rights and press freedom
- renationalise and electrification of railway, but no expansion at Gatwick and Heathrow,
- Migration. International policies to help stop war and crisis
- family reunification facilitated because of family benefit
- allow foreign students to work for 2 yrs after graduation
- trafficked migrants: no immediate fear of deportation
- corporations not to take over African food market,
- smaller prison system, right to vote etc
Overall the Conservative Manifesto is a mature and strong manifesto that can build on the strength of being in government. It is quite strong on facilitating business, other sections noteworthy are its elaborative points on immigration and migration control and conserving the natural environment. Its £8 bn. commitments on the #NHS and the inheritance allowance for properties worth up to £1M have been mentioned in the news, as much as the commitment to enlarge the Right to Buy. It aims to abolish the European Human Rights Charter with a Bill of Rights, create English votes for English issues as well as Scottish Devolution and renegotiate the relationship with Europe.
The manifesto of the Conservatives strikes almost as a financial academic document. Its language is held somewhat more governmental and business jargon. The first chapters strike in the way it is mindful of anything that enables and could ease business, including expansion of transport infrastructure such as HS2. Interestingly the document fails to mention the real benefit of the rail links which is not the increase in travel time, but the freeing up of the old tracks for commercial transport. The plan looks at all areas of business and how these can be made better, for example increasing cutting of red tape plus many business incentives.
They argue to have found a good formula for benefit recipients with the universal formula and explain that to make work pay they will lower the threshold for benefit entitlement to 23.000 Pounds.
The Conservatives recognise that the reliability on the finance sector has been detrimental for Britain. They aim to invest in more manufacturing and establish a Northern power house. In order to help the poorer they higher the threshold for income tax to £12.500 annual earning.
Their section on immigration is elaborate and detailed. EU Migrants will have to wait up to four years for certain benefits like housing and there are safe guards that are directly linked to successful employment. Failure to work after six months will mean that people will have to leave, a direct infringement on the current treaty rights, which the Conservatives wish to renegotiate. Exit controls are to be implemented and people to be deported are to be satellite tracked.
On education they on the one hand continue to support free schools, but on the other continue increased statistical evaluation with set standards for progress from age 11 that are relatively narrow on basically maths (timetables) and reading (a book) and writing a concise well punctuated report. Social and Creative skills are not mentioned, but they like to increase the amount of teachers that teach Mandarine and increase science teachers. A first is a phD and postgrad loan system, truly missing in the education system.
On the NHS their 7 day NHS have been well advertised, as has their promise of an additional £8bn into the system for the next five years. The conservatives too mention the new cancer taskforce as a priority. Insufficient cancer treatment made the headlines in the weeks prior to the manifesto launches.
The manifesto is mindful of the games in Rio and mentions support to school sport with £150M per year so that all children have two hours of sport each week.
The Big Society also returns with national civic service for 16-17 year olds. The Manifesto also specifically talks of pardoning all wrongly convicted LGBT people in British history along the example of Alan Turing.
A further £25-30bn savings until 2020 on government services that are wasted or inefficient including a reduction of MPs to 600. Further on governance they want to introduce English votes for English laws. They promise to honour the devolution agreement on Scotland and add to it a promise for Wales and continue to work on Northern Ireland.
On housing 200.000 new starter homes for first buyers under 40, a help to buy ISA and the extension of buying your own housing association home.
There is an emphasis on protecting the Green Belt areas and a program on developing small parks, they promise to do more on air pollution but what and how they would do that is not elaborated. However there appears to be an understanding of re-establishing a more valuable natural habit, including flood defences and a Thames Tidal Tunnel and a Blue Belt, a marine protection area.
Its energy policy is supposed to go slowly off carbon, but still has nuclear listed with Hinkley. Due to the lack of public support they will stop subsidies for onshore wind farms.
The sex abuse cases of recent years have found themselves into the manifesto too. Like Labour the Tories promise to make sexual crime and protecting women an issue, and particularly mention the lessons of Rotherham.
The Conservatives want to scrap the #HumanRights Accords (Abu Qatada) and introduce a British Bill of Rights, which will have enshrined issues such as Press Freedom. They mention the right to deport people, and the prisoners voting issue, that has been an issue with the European Court of Human Rights, to be addressed by the new Bill of Rights. A tighter relationship between security and police on data is supposed to be crucial to prevent against terrorism, and the Tories wish to be less tolerant on non violent extremism here.
Properties worth up to £1M will go out of inheritance tax and continued freedom to spend pension on what pensioners like.
On defence £160 billion in new military equipment over the next decade is to be spent, including six new destroyers, seven submarines and the Joint Strike
Fighter, Scout armoured vehicles, and frigates. The word Trident is absent but probably included.
0.7% of national income are to continue go to international development and aid in line with UN targets.
Firstly to note t is well written. Much easier on the eye than Conservatives, the Greens and UKIP and less voluminous that the Lib Dems Manifesto. I would call it softer in impact, distanced from the Tories with some social initiatives, though crucially not super radical in areas of housing and families. State child care still ends at age 4, and parity is mainly an issue of paternity leave after birth. This is a far way from the #Nordic progressive economies. On #schools Labour is more obsessed with the state sector’s governance rather than with radical reform in line with progressive research on education, except with reducing class sizes for the 4-7 year olds. They also talk of more freedom for heads and structural control issues. It deals with alternative free schools by simply not wanting any more, though the policy on private schools having to work with the state education sector in order to maintain some benefits like tax cuts is not a bad idea. On #mentalhealth #Labour has made good suggestions, equalizing psychological access to drugs. The overall commitments on the environment, defence and the international overseas aid are in line with what one expects but not excessively radical either. Interesting is that #TTIPS should not affect the #NHS. Labour maintains a rise of 2.5 bn in the NHS budget with 48 h GP guarantees and on the same day if need. The most progressive point here is a special cancer commission that will make the best and most up to date cancer treatments available in the UK, a reaction to UK’s bad record on cancer. Further, Labour’s commitment on the increase in the minimum wage, reductions on business rates for smaller businesses and a 50% rate for people on incomes over £150.000 is part of its idea that bigger companies and earners should pay their share rather than receive preferenced treatment. There is also a reduction in university tuition fees. Labour talks also about continuing devolution including in England and be guided to end top down policy, making extra money for local communities available. Labour stresses its manifesto is fully costed and will reduce the debt, though it does not give a figure by how much. Interestingly it talks about a programme to rehabilitate #radicalised Britons who return from fighting in #Syria. On #socialhousing #affordable homes,using the new buzz word that can get rents up to 80 percent market rate and not proper social housing (council flats). They promise to build more homes (not necessary affordable) and put some checks on estate agents commissions and the rental market.I could not help feeling that its message on the front cover sounded like an old Lutheran church heading, work hard gain God’s grace. As a German I feel there is lack of emphasis on life being more than work, and that means investments in leisure services, free time off work, and good cities to live in after work. END I will try to read the other manifestos as well as they come but can’t promise that always immediately as they come up.
In Bullet points is my reading of the SNP referendum. It is a progressive manifesto, with a probably workable increase of spending. However the SNP is rather thinly spread on the specific details of education, NHS, policing, and equality. The main principles are there, but compare this with the breath of especially the Lib Dem Manifesto and aspects of the Greens it lacks in thoroughness in my opinion, though it gives clear directions. The Manifesto has a clear intent: Aim of the SNP is to achieve financial independence of Scotland. Hereby lies the interesting question, if one can trust a the progressive honey of a nationalist party, if you do not support complete independence.