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Conservative Manifesto

Here is the much anticipated Tory Manifesto.

We’ll start with Brexit (just briefly). Good Points: They have a deal. It might not be the best but they have one that has been agreed by all sides. If there is a Tory Majority, then this deal will be passed through the house and we will leave in January. That’s the crux of it.

Bad points: What they neglect to mention, is that the deal is basically a re-hash of Theresa’s deal, they got the EU to make exceptions for Ireland but that’s about it. They also neglect to mention that Brexit won’t be ‘over’ at this stage, as we then have to negotiate our ‘future relationship’ and a trade deal. However, these are both made easier with a working majority, so slightly good and bad.

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That’s it, I won’t go into much more detail, as I don’t want to bore you. This election should be about the policies (as always), so let’s see what Boris can offer.

Let’s start with Security & Policing, as it is their strong point.

20,000 more Police officers costing £750m over three years.

Good points: A welcome boost to the police force. It will start with immediate effect so the idea is to make you feel safer straight away which, if you live in London (1/6 of the population does) should make you feel slightly better.

Bad points: We’ve seen the stories about Boris including in this figure of 20,000, asking Police Officers who were planning to retire to stay on. I can see it from both sides in that, you’re retaining the experience which can be put to use straight away (no training involved) and can also pass that experience on hand in hand with the recruitment drive. However, it fudges the figures so it’s not entirely there, it would probably be nearer 15-17k new officers.

We will back our police by equipping officers with the powers and tools they need to keep themselves and all of us safe, including tasers and body cameras.

Good points: Very strong policy and will go down well. I have said for a long time that the use of tasers should be rolled out. It de-escalates every situation it’s used in (i’m a saddo and watch these things on youtube) it can turn a very hostile situation like a knife wielding madman, into a safe controlled situation with him spasming on the floor. It’s also not a fatal firearm and it’s use will be used as a last resort. So good points all round.

Bad points: Some people might think this erodes civil liberties but to be honest, they will only use it on you if you’re in an uncontrollable state, in which case necessary force should and will be used. Buzz buzz bitches!

We will introduce tougher sentencing for the worst offenders and end automatic halfway release from prison for serious crimes. For child murderers, there will be life imprisonment without parole.

Good points: Yes. Not even going to put bad points, as you can’t disagree with this.

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£2.75 billion will be spent on creating modern, efficient prisons to better reform criminals and keep the public safe, whilst an extra £100 million will aid the crackdown on crime within prisons.

Good points: They will need extra prisons to cope with the extra sentencing and extra numbers they will get from the crack down on crime. It’s not an excessive amount to spend on this either. They will also try and address the issues inside prisons across the country, commendable.

Bad points: I’m not sure how having nice shiny new prisons will reform prisoners better, it lacks a bit of detail.

One thing I will draw attention to at this point is that the Conservatives do a better job at creating a manifesto. It’s so much less clunky, it’s clear, concise and compact. It looks a lot better too and most importantly, is a lot shorter! (My poor eyes are still bleeding from the Labour manifesto!) Without much further ado I will move onto the economy.

We not only want to freeze taxes, but to cut them too. We will raise the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 next year – representing a tax cut for 31 million workers. Our ultimate ambition is to ensure that the first £12,500 you earn is completely free of tax – which would put almost £500 per year in people’s pockets.

Good points: Tax cuts. No one likes paying tax but it’s a necessary evil for a strong functioning economy and keeps the country’s heart pumping. This mainly helps lower earners and £500 doesn’t sound like a lot but if you’re on minimum wage then that will help a lot.

Bad points: They should have included tax breaks for new families, which would have gotten a lot of praise but I suppose this is aimed at the workers because that’s the core demographic they go after.

We will use our freedom from the EU to improve the UK’s tax regime – not least by abolishing the tampon tax.

Good points: You shouldn’t pay tax on necessary objects. Especially considering you can’t pick if you have a period. Also due to there being more women than men in the country, it effects more of the population.

Bad points: I get why they included the EU but they could have refrained from using their name as a bashing stick and make it more about our country than those fuckers.

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We want to give parents the freedom, support and choice to look after their children in the way that works best for them. We will establish a new £1 billion fund to help create more high quality, affordable childcare, including before and after school and during the school holidays.

Good points: What was I saying about helping parents a second ago? It’s a step in the right direct for the strict social policies of the Tories.

Bad points: It’s simply not enough. Like I say, it’s a good start but £1bn is the tip of the iceberg. There is also no clue if this is a gradual thing or if it’s starting straight away, slightly unclear. Not complaining though!

Our new £3 billion National Skills Fund, alongside other major investment in skills and training and our reforms to high-skilled immigration, will ensure that businesses can find and hire the workers they need.

Good points: Due to the clamp down on immigration and only taking in the workers we NEED, this is a nice way of investing in our own people to give them the skills they need to compete in the labour market. It will also push competition and make workers better at their jobs as the criteria will be slightly higher.

Bad points: The term ‘other major investments’ is vague to say the least. This is your manifesto, if you have major investments, it’s the one place you want to put it so people can work out a) How much it is? and b) Whether it’s a worthy use of our money? They might touch upon it later, as i’m doing this point by point due to my lack of time writing this.

As a first step, we will further reduce business rates for retail businesses, as well as extending the discount to grassroots music venues, small cinemas and pubs. That means protecting your high street and community from excessive tax hikes and keeping town centres vibrant.

Good points: This is a good policy. More needs to be done to ‘save the high street’ and local businesses. The internet has invaded the market and makes it harder for local business to survive. Any pub owner will also tell you there’s no money in running a pub, so this could very well save a local pub you know and love.

Bad points: None.

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We will set out a new anti-tax avoidance and evasion law which will double the maximum prison term to 14 years for individuals convicted of the most egregious examples of tax fraud.

Good points: Making sure you pay your fair share. It’s a balanced way of going after tax dodgers.

Bad points: It depends what they deem as ‘egregious examples’. A lot of us started out labouring and working cash in hand when we were younger. Under these new rules would that be classed as egregious? I’m guessing this is geared up towards serial offenders and people evading paying on vast sums. The one thing Tories definitely can be seen as is harsh and I worry that leniency isn’t the word of the day. Not a fan of this policy if i’m honest, as it can be interpreted in that manner.

That’s the economy over with. To be honest it was a bit too short, however the results speak for themselves when it comes to the wealth creators of the Tory party. It’s the one thing they’re immensely good at is creating the wealth from business. It’s the one thing i’d trust them 100% on. The economy is in safe hands under the Tories. You can already see the vast differences in spending from the Labour Manifesto and this. Labour: “We’re throwing £250bn at this project”, Tories: “A couple billion here, a couple of billion there”. It’s being fiscally responsible and not being wasteful, as I alluded to in the other run throughs. The reason the Tories don’t need to cost this part of the manifesto is because a few billion can be found just from growth of the economy itself. There are no massive spending sprees (yet) or increased borrowing. I shall now move onto Education, usually Labour territory but we’ll see what the Tories can muster up.

We’re increasing school funding by £14 billion, with those areas historically underfunded receiving the greatest increase. Each secondary school pupil will receive a minimum of £5,000 next year, and each primary school pupil will receive £4,000 by 2021-22 meaning that every child has the resources they need for a good education.

Good points: It’s a good chunk of money to throw at this issue. They’re also targeting the worst hit areas. Good policy.

Bad points: It’s not costed. £14bn is a little bit bigger than throwing a few billion here and there. I can’t deny it’s needed but on balance they need to say where they can produce this money from.

There is also a funding boost of £400 million in education for 16-19-year olds, including further education and sixth form colleges, to give our young people the skills they need for well-paid jobs in the modern economy.

Good points: Further increases in spending on the education system.

Bad points: It’s not enough. The reason behind this is because their flagship policy in education has been Apprenticeships, so that will get more funding than standard students. I think that this age group is crucial as they’re picking the industry and career path they wish to follow. This should be encouraged so that we get the right individuals in the best positions which increases competition in the job market, something the Tories should want. Even though it’s an increase in public spending and on an area that needs it badly, this isn’t a good policy and I can’t get behind it. Do better.

We will also invest £10 million in national Behaviour Hubs to enable schools which already have an excellent behaviour culture to work closely with other schools to drive improvement to make sure the best education is available regardless of where you live.

‍Good points: It’s a good spin, haven’t heard of this before and is a different approach to schooling.

Bad points: Doesn’t seem like enough money? I mean if this is a national thing surely the wages of people running these Hubs is going to take up a large section of this money? That being said I like the policy, just think that maybe more money should be made available or at least a gradual injection of money every year?

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In the biggest reform to teacher pay in a generation, salaries for new teachers will be increased to £30,000 by 2022-23 and we’re funding increased contributions into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme so that school leaders can focus as much of their resources as possible on the front line.

Good points: Fuck me. They’re going toe-to-toe with Labour on this policy. Admittedly it’s a gradual change over four years but this isn’t something you’d expect from the Tories. Quite rightly so though, I wholeheartedly agree that teachers should get paid more and like it says should stop them leaving for higher paid jobs, keeping the experience and knowledge in the education system.

Bad points: None, great policy from the political parties. Showing the teaching profession some love and appreciation.

We retain our commitment to the core subjects and also want young people to learn creative skills and widen their horizons, so we will offer an ‘arts premium’ to secondary schools to fund enriching activities for all pupils. And to ensure children are getting an active start to life, we will invest in primary school PE teaching and ensure that it is being properly delivered. We want to do more to help schools make good use of their sports facilities and to promote physical literacy and competitive sport.

Good points: I think an investment into the arts is good, as I said in the Labour manifesto.

Bad points: They haven’t put quite how much they will give and it’s very vague. Almost an empty promise, this is why the Tories don’t usually do well with Education. More needs to be done to address this.

That wraps up education. Some good and bad policies in there, can’t help but feel slightly underwhelmed by that section. The main policy missing is new schools and the repair of the existing ones, massively disappointed. To be fair, they’re the sitting government they can’t promise all this magical money like Labour, so it’s understandable. I know it’s the horrible slogan of Theresa the Appeaser but they genuinely are strong and stable. They get the job done efficiently. Enough, now onto healthcare, the ever growing political football. My betting is this is where all the money is going as they have played on this heavily throughout the campaign. Also if the figures were to be believed on the infamous bus, Boris has to follow through (only metaphorically) with this and actually throw some good money at the NHS. Especially after his hand was forced with this faked photo of the child on the floor of the Leeds hospital by a Labour activist (and supposed) parent of this child. This has obviously been debunked by nurses at the hospital and your common sense tells you that if your child really was that ill, you’d be holding them or would have them sat on your lap. Or better still, you’d give up your own fucking chair for them! For those of you without kids I don’t expect you to understand but being a parent it is frustrating that they’d try and use this as a points scoring exercise, it’s just shitty parenting.

The NHS budget will go up by £33.9 billion by 2023-24. That’s the biggest cash boost in its history.

Good points: Well I was right on the money with that, quite literally. That is probably their flagship policy due to the amount of money involved. The NHS is underfunded and the Tories have been hounded by opposing parties about this, so this is a gigantic step in winning people over and showing they do care about the NHS. This should win some votes and hopefully a little bit of trust from the electorate, even voters from other parties.

Bad points: It’s not costed. I’m beginning to feel like I have a complex because of this sentence! Where is £33bn going to come from? I’m guessing there will have to be a minor amount of borrowing to fund part of this. That being said, we can all agree this is a worthwhile policy and needs to be enacted. Sure it’s over 4 years but that’s how politics works, on a 4-5 year cycle. Strong policy and likely to swing a lot of the votes. Doorstep research is probably behind this.

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We’re providing £850 million for 20 hospital upgrades, £2.7 billion for the first six new hospitals, and seed funding so that work on 34 more can make progress.

Good points: Now we’re getting to the meat and drink of the NHS policies. Strong. Decent amount for upgrading the current hospitals and a building plan for others. Might not be the amount expected but it’s all good stuff. Also the seed funding is an appetiser for more building of new hospitals.

Bad points: None.

78 hospital trusts will receive state-of-the-art MRI, CT and mammography screening machines, so cancer can be detected more quickly to boost survival rates.

Good points: Couldn’t agree more. Much like the Labour Manifesto pledge to kit out the hospitals with the equipment they need, this does exactly that too. Cancer is such a bastard any attempt to beat it is appreciated.

Bad points: None.

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Over 1 million NHS staff – nurses, midwives and cleaners – are getting a well-deserved pay rise of at least 6.5% per cent and doctors will also see their pay increase.

Good points: They’re on a roll. The most under appreciated public servants (teachers, nurses, etc…) are getting a nice wedge and you love to see it. This is 1.5% more of an increase in pay for hospital staff than what Labour are offering. I’m not about point scoring but that’s a big difference and it was probably designed to be a vote winner amongst NHS workers.

Bad points: None, if you think they don’t deserve an increase you’re heartless. They do a great job that a lot us couldn’t and they do back breaking shifts (sometimes without breaks) just so that we’re taken care of.

We’re also opening five new medical schools to make sure we can plan for the future with confidence as we train the next generation of NHS staff here at home.

Good points: This is backing up and doubling down on their promise of the Australian style immigration system. We will only take in the best, the rest is to be filled with out own people. This is a good positive step in encouraging people to join the health service.

Bad points: None.

50,000 more nurses, with students receiving a £5,000-£8,000 annual maintenance grant every year during their course to help with their cost of living – and they won’t have to pay it back.

Good points: They’re really going the whole hog here. I know the NHS has a large contingent of foreign workers but they’re not all suddenly going to jump ship and go back to their country of origin? That would say more about them than us if it were true.

Bad points: It’s a lot of money, not costed again but they can obviously see a gap in the market that needs addressing so are ‘heading it off at the pass’. Responsible to stop a problem before it becomes one.

Our new funding will deliver 50 million extra general practice appointments a year, an increase of over 15 per cent. That means that if you need an appointment, waiting times will be shorter and you’ll get the service you deserve.

Good points: Sounds good.

Bad points: They will struggle to enforce it. GPs are notoriously opposed to all Tory plans to improve our system. Cast your mind back to the idea of Saturday appointments and the backlash from that.

That is why overseas qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals with a job offer from the NHS, who have been trained to a recognised standard, and who have good working English, will be offered fast-track entry, reduced visa fees and dedicated support to come to the UK with their families.

Good points: This will also help to address the shortfall in NHS workers that have threatened to go home. Fast track visas for the very best healthcare professionals.

Bad points: None.

That is the end of the Conservative manifesto. Although I don’t feel overwhelmed or buried under policies and jargon like the others so far, there was something left a little wanting. They could have fleshed out a few ideas and explained spending slightly better but on the whole there were some good strong policies in there. Let’s rate it and see how it stacks up.

Fresh original ideas: 2.5/5
Practicality and realistic pledges: 3.5/5
Financial viability: 4/5
Responsible and sensible pledges: 3.5/5
Total: 12.5 out of 20

I feel more could have been done in the way of innovative fresh ideas, I remember doing the Conservative manifesto from the 2015 election (I think) and remember feeling like Britain could take on the world, looking out to space and being pioneers and controllers of our own destiny. This feels like more of the same of what we have except with a majority so they can actually get some legislating done. Which whilst it isn’t bad and shows responsibility and grip of being in office already, it doesn’t scream excitement to me. I also marked it down on practicality and realism because I found quite a few of the policies to be vague and not really groundbreaking in terms of setting things in stone. Of course I marked it the highest on financial viability for a number of factors. Being that they’re the best wealth creators, no massive increase in spending across the board, no excessive borrowing and the increases that were made, seemed completely doable as I explained ‘a few billion here, a few billion there’. Finally, I gave it fair to medium rating for responsibility of the pledges. There were a few that stood out and made perfect sense whilst others didn’t, you’re never going to get a perfect manifesto, it’s just a popularity contest on which is the most wanted. To be entirely honest, if you’ve watched politics as long as me, the amount of pledges that actually get forgotten or scrapped once in power is noticeable.

I know a lot of you reading will know of my political stand point and think i’ve rated the Tories better, as they’re more aligned to my own personal politics. I’d like to point out they only beat Labour by 2 points by my rating system, to put that into context I couldn’t be anymore opposed to Labour if I tried. They even did better than the Liberal Democrats, which i’m also surprised by, as I have already said I believe the Lib Dems to steal huge crowds of votes from Labour. So, on balance I do believe that yes the Tories are the best option (depending on your MP) in this election as they’re the only ones in a strong position, financially but also politically. There is massive in-fighting between Labour, with Emily Thornberry coming out today saying she will definitely run for party leader. The election isn’t even over yet! I do believe like I said previously that once Corbyn is gone I think Labour will get into power, for how long is another thing altogether!

The last thing i’d like to add is one of my favourite policies is actually missing from the Manifesto. In fact they missed transport completely off! They plan to re-establish thousands of train lines that, in fairness were shut back in the 60’s by the Tories under something called the Beeching cuts. However, as I have explained in one of the other posts, it will do wonders and bring connectivity to rural areas and areas that might benefit greatly from having stronger links.

Please think carefully before voting and if after reading these breakdowns, the actual manifestos themselves and done research and you STILL don’t know which way to vote; then go online and find one of the quizzes that tells you who you’re most closely aligned too. I couldn’t care less who you vote for (unless it’s the SNP!) as long as you DO vote. Too many people take democracy for granted, plenty of sitting MPs who’re about to get a massive surprise, for one! I will try my hardest to get the Brexit Party run through done but I feel it might be a stretch, we shall see! Thank you for reading.

 

 

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Labour Manifesto

This is the second installment of manifesto run throughs for the election i’m doing. If I get enough time, I will do the Conservative and Brexit party manifestos as well. There is no point in doing the SNP, seeing as we can’t vote for them. Plus Nicola Sturgeon is a fucking shithouse that no one likes anyway! She don’t half hark on. Same applies to the Greens, as their position has never changed, they’re single mindedly concentrated on the environment. The SDP are good but don’t garner enough support to warrant me doing a run through for them. UKIP are nothing without Farage, so yet again won’t be worth digesting their manifesto.

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To start – The Green Industrial Revolution.

We will launch a National Transformation Fund of £400 billion and rewrite the Treasury’s investment rules to guarantee that every penny spent is compatible with our climate and environmental targets.

Good points: They’re trying to do something about the environment, commendable I suppose.

Bad points: I feel this is going to be a theme, it’s uncosted. The major problem is, it’s not just a small amount like £100m of spending. It’s £400bn. Of which they say “£250 billion will directly fund the transition through a Green Transformation Fund dedicated to renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, biodiversity and environmental restoration.”. Included in this was that ridiculous tree-planting policy which equated to 200 trees a minute until 2040! Not only can they not pay for it but they can’t follow through with it. Why put something in writing you know you’re going to get picked up on? It’s almost as if they go ‘£400bn? Yeah they won’t notice that Jeremy, trust me just put it in there it sounds good’.

Energy building programme including 7,000 new offshore wind turbines, 2,000 new onshore wind turbines, enough solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches and new nuclear power needed for energy security.

Good points: Offshore wind turbines are not a bad idea, using the vast expanse of the sea for good use (as long as it doesn’t directly effect marine ecosystems), Solar technology is good and they should have pushed towards ‘every new house built will have solar panels’ which would be a real improvement for the energy use in homes; which they claim is 56% of all energy use. Finally, nuclear power is good because of the unbroken supply of huge amounts of energy from power stations.

Bad points: Onshore wind turbines are ugly, usually built on green belt land and don’t contribute nearly as much output as offshore turbines. Increased nuclear power is good but it doesn’t explain where the additional waste from power stations will be dealt with. Finally, this isn’t costed. Unless it’s included inside the £400bn, if so then they don’t explain how much is set aside for the building of all these energy resources.

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We will upgrade almost all of the UK’s 27 million homes to the highest energy-efficiency standards, reducing the average household energy bill by £417 per household per year by 2030.

Good points: Sounds good on paper.

Bad points: In reality, not so much. Yes they say it will lower your energy bills by £417 per year. However, the extra you would have to pay in tax to pay for this would outweigh that. So in effect they’re forcing you to upgrade your own home, which goes against civil liberties, as some people don’t want too or can’t afford to, it also forces this ‘green agenda’ on the population. Stop listening to Greta, she needs to fuck off back to school the lazy, work shy, freeloading, hypocrite. Yeah I said it, I could do an entire article on Greta another time.

A new UK National Energy Agency will own and maintain the national grid infrastructure and oversee the delivery of our decarbonisation targets.

Good points: None. More bureaucracy.

Bad points: Nationalisation isn’t good. It costs vast swathes of money and if they go wrong (which they usually do) it costs even more for the taxpayer to prop them up. It will eventually be sold back to the private sector at a loss. Likely side effects will include blackouts/ increased power cuts.

Labour will ensure that councils can improve bus services by regulating and taking public ownership of bus networks, and we will give them resources and full legal powers to achieve this cost-effectively, thereby ending the race to the bottom in working conditions for bus workers. Where councils take control of their buses, Labour will introduce free bus travel for under-25s. We will increase and expand local services, reinstating the 3,000 routes that have been cut, particularly hitting rural communities.

Good points: Expanding bus routes is good to get rural areas connected. Cuts have been made and need to be addressed, as I remember what it was like when I was reliant on public transport. Bus workers get looked after, this is good I suppose?

Bad points: What happens when you hit 25? Do you suddenly no longer need this free travel? If you’re going to offer out free stuff to young people, at least take the current situation into consideration. Most people my age are still living at home until they’re 30 or into their early 30’s. It’s a ploy to get young voters, yet again not costed and historically bus companies are run so badly they usually go out of business. Another burden on the taxpayer.

Our publicly owned rail company will steer network planning and investments. It will co-ordinate mainline upgrades, resignalling, rolling stock replacement and major projects. We will implement a full, rolling programme of electrification.

Good points: Upgrades are needed as the rail system has needed an overhaul for years. As I said in the Lib Dem run through, the push towards electric rail system is commendable and needed.

Bad points: They didn’t include the use of Hydrogen power systems in trains, the most easily accessible resource in the universe. If you’re going to electrify ALL of the railways, where is the extra power going to come from? If they are introducing all the new measures of energy production for the homeowners, where is the extra electricity coming from to supply the entire rail network of the UK? Missed a trick by not including Hydrogen, it’s only waste factor is water. Just saying.

We will introduce a long-term investment plan including delivering Crossrail for the North as part of improved connectivity across the northern regions (& Wales).

Good points: Finally a policy I can get behind. This is needed to reinvigorate the northern cities and push for the Northern Powerhouse idea. Also Wales is usually forgotten about, more needs to be done to improve their connectivity to mainland England and help spread some wealth to their deprived areas. Very good policy.

Bad points: None.

We will position the UK at the forefront of the development and manufacture of ultra-low emission vehicles and will support their sale. We will invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and in electric community car clubs. We will accelerate the transition of our public sector car fleets and our public buses to zero-emissions vehicles.

Good points: They’re on a roll. Good solid policy. They should have stuck with their first sentence of low emission vehicles, as it is a blanket term which could encompass hybrid vehicles, not specifically pure electric cars, which is a turn off to consumers and drivers alike. Electric charging infrastructure is needed, as long as it doesn’t impact parking spaces which are in short supply wherever you go!

Bad points: Slightly disagree with public sector car fleets going zero emissions, the police won’t be able to chase anybody! Also can you imagine an Ambulance running out of power on the way to a call out? They’re in constant use and charging of these vehicles takes hours upon hours for a full charge. This policy is well intentioned though so i’ll let it slide.

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We will adopt an ambitious Vision Zero approach to UK road safety, striving for zero deaths and serious injuries.

Good points: None.

Bad points: Massively unrealistic. You will never have zero deaths, it’s an impossibility. Even worse zero serious injuries, it’s an unachievable target to set yourself, just why?

We will provide an extra £5.6 billion in funding to improve the standard of flood defences and respond to the increased risk of flooding, prioritising areas at risk in North West England, Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

Good points: Needed but on a bigger scale. There should be an independent review on all rivers that have burst their banks on more than 3 occasions in the last 15 years and something must be done to address it. Even if it means mass scale dredging of rivers, further defences and walls, anything. It’s only going to get worse as the seasons continue to switch.

Bad points: Haven’t said where the funding is coming from, however it needs to happen.

We will create new National Parks alongside a revised system of other protected area designations, which will guard existing wildlife sites and join up important habitats, while also ensuring more people can enjoy living closer to nature.

Good points: Massively agree. More needs to be done to protect and encourage nature. I also think it should extend to reintroducing species that have died out, e.g reintroduce the Eurasian Lynx into forests. Would be beautiful to see. (See I do care about the environment and animals!).

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Labour will introduce A Right to Food. We will end ‘food bank Britain’. We will ensure everyone has access to healthy, nutritious, sustainably produced food.

Good points: I agree people should have a right to food.

Bad points: Some of these people will still drink and smoke. I don’t have the money to do either even if I had the choice, I would still rather have money for heating and food. It’s about being fiscally responsible. Until you make people choose, you aren’t going to get anywhere.

We will set maximum sustainable yields for all shared fish stocks, redistribute fish quotas along social and environmental criteria and, if people vote to leave the EU, require the majority of fish caught under a UK quota to be landed in UK ports.

Good points: It’s the closest your going to get Jeremy to saying we will pull out of the CFP and stop foreign trawlers from over fishing our depleted fish stocks. Think I explained it better than them but they’re still Brexit neutral, so you won’t get a straight answer.

Bad points: None.

As I draw this section to a close the only thing that I can see them missing is cleaning up the ocean. The one thing that I feel passionately about in regards to the plastic waste is the oceans. They’ve done nothing to deserve our huge plastic waste. We should be investing in that young guy’s (Boyan Slat) idea of trawlers set with specific nets which gather up all plastic waste and effectively clean the ocean bit by bit. The caught plastic should then be sent to a plastic recycling plant. One final thing on plastic is they should ban the production of plastic. That is the only way you will stop the over usage of plastic and rely purely on the recycling of the plastic already made. Put the plastic already made to good use. In the words of Forrest Gump, “that is all I have to say about that”.

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Public services. They start this section by saying they will address the unfair tax system but unless you’ve been living under a rock these last few weeks, this has been torn to shreds by journos. It turns out plenty of people on lower incomes are actually going to be paying more even though they say they’re only going after the rich (anyone on over £80,000 per year). Just bear that in mind when I go through these policies. (All information on their taxation policies are readily available, I won’t cover them, as I feel it has been adequately covered in the media from multiple sources and this is another LONG manifesto!).

Labour will end the current presumption in favour of outsourcing public services and introduce a presumption in favour of insourcing. And we will stop the public getting ripped off by taking back all PFI contracts over time.

Good points: At least they’re owning up to the issues created by themselves under Blair.

Bad points: This is the crux of the argument to do with the NHS. You hear Labour sound off about ‘you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS’. When in actual fact, the most amount of privatisation in recent history of the NHS actually took place under Tony Blair’s Labour government. (Yet again you can find this information readily available). A PFI is a private finance initiative, it means that they fund public sector initiatives and projects through private finance/funding. It lends itself to lobbyism, if the private investor say for example wanted certain advantageous laws to be passed they could hold back payments or effectively hold the government to ransom by not paying (not that this happened but could very easily happen, see American lobbying system). This is what I alluded to in the Lib Dem run through, the NHS can’t be entrusted to anyone else other than the government. The Tories have also been in power for 42 out of 71 years the NHS has been around. It is a pure fallacy that it would be in worse hands under the Tories. Private healthcare amounted to roughly 20-22% over the last nine years and has actually slightly decreased in the last three years. In 2012 there was an increase in contracts issued to private providers under the Tories, however there was no discernible increase in funding to this effect. All in all, it is yet another scare story and i’m glad we had the chance to touch upon this (these figures were taken from multiple sources, have a look for yourself).

We will repair the damage the Tories have done to our social fabric, with a £150 billion Social Transformation, a fund to replace, upgrade and expand our schools, hospitals, care homes and council houses. Public buildings will be modernised to ensure a reduction in their carbon footprint.

Good points: Schools are in dire need of repairs up and down the country. I agree that new schools should be built, it would help catchment areas and class sizes. I also think extra funding to get kids into sport should be made a priority. Initiatives by the FA to increase funding to grassroots football has had great success and it would be great to see this go hand in hand with schools. I’m quite lucky where I live in that the two closest hospitals are in pretty good nick (East Surrey & Epsom General). I’m sure there are hospitals that are in need of upgrading and modernising. Especially in Scotland (look at the figures pointed out by Andrew Neil to Nicola Sturgeon in her interview. The Scottish NHS is being badly run and is underfunded/not using resources effectively!).

Bad points: More money from this green budget upgrading all public buildings to lower their carbon footprint, where does it stop? I’m like a broken record but where is the extra £150bn coming from, I need some sort of spending calculator as I go! It’s crazy. They’ll get very little in the way of points for being fiscally responsible when I tot this up at the end, I can tell you that!

Labour will restore public sector pay to at least pre-financial crisis levels (in real terms), by delivering year-on-year above-inflation pay rises, starting with a 5% increase.

Good points: Yes wholeheartedly agree.

Bad points: None.

A Labour government will invest in the NHS to give patients the modern, well- resourced services they need. We will increase expenditure across the health sector by an average 4.3% a year.

Good points: This is a fair estimate of what is need in regards to actual increases to NHS budgeting.

Bad points: A fiscally responsible policy, well blow me down.

We will complete the confirmed hospital rebuilds and invest more in primary care settings, modern AI, cyber technology and state-of-the-art medical equipment, including more MRI and CT scanners.

Good points: I’m guessing this is included in that £150bn? I’m on board as the new hospitals should be kitted out to work effectively and efficiently.

Bad points: It’s a balancing act where they distribute these new hospitals. There is a large, dense population in the south east and will look like favouritism if we get new super hospitals when the state of hospitals elsewhere aren’t great. Still on board with this policy though.

We will uphold the principle of comprehensive healthcare by providing free annual NHS dental check-ups.

Good points: Yes, dentist fees are astronomical.

Bad points: More free things for everyone. It almost smells of desperation now.

A Labour government will provide an additional £1.6 billion a year to ensure new standards for mental health are enshrined in the NHS constitution ensuring access to treatments is on a par with that for physical health conditions.

Good points: I concur.

Bad points: None.

We will invest more than £1 billion in public health and recruit 4,500 more health visitors and school nurses. We will increase mandated health visits, ensure new mothers can have access to breastfeeding support and introduce mental health assessments in a maternal health check six weeks after birth.

Good points: It’s a good step as the sector needs funding.

Bad points: This policy was made by someone who hasn’t had a child recently. My baby is 8 months old, the health visitor came to see us in the first couple of weeks, was exceedingly helpful, had a wealth of knowledge and experience and gave plenty of helpful literature and advice. She also pointed us in the direction of a breastfeeding support clinic close by, where my wife got essential tips on breastfeeding by professionals which helped with the babies jaundice and overall growth. I couldn’t fault them. I also remember them checking multiple times about the state of my wife’s mental wellbeing. Asking whether it was too much? Did she have any bad thoughts? How was she coping? The service was A1. All of which is already in place, the only thing I can think of is that it’s not as good in other areas? This money could possibly be used in another area such as social care.

A Labour government will build a comprehensive National Care Service for England. We will provide community-based, person-centred support, underpinned by the principles of ethical care and independent living. We will provide free personal care, beginning with investments to ensure that older people have their personal care needs met, with the ambition to extend this provision to all working-age adults.

Good points: This is a big step in addressing social care. A lot more has to be done but I think should be smaller steps, one at a time. I don’t think they understand how many people this includes and how much this will cost.

Bad points: Hence why they haven’t costed it. Worst of all they say it will all be free. I think a big investment to start would have been a way to introduce this and garner support rather than going the whole hog and saying they’ll do it all and all for free. They don’t do much towards gaining the trust of the electorate with statements like this. It’s dangling a carrot for old people but not realistic and quite saddistic to tempt poor, vulnerable people.

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Let’s move onto Education, usually a strong point for Labour.

Labour will radically reform early years provision, with a two-term vision to make high-quality early years education available for every child. We will also extend paid maternity leave to 12 months.

Good points: Paid maternity should be 12 months. This shouldn’t even have to be a debate.

Bad points: This comes from the employer so doesn’t need to be costed.

Within five years, all 2, 3 and 4-year- olds will be entitled to 30 hours of free preschool education per week and access to additional hours at affordable, subsidised rates staggered with incomes. Labour will also work to extend childcare provision for 1-year-olds and to ensure that childcare provision accommodates the working patterns of all parents.

Good points: Good that they started with ‘within five years’ showing that it is a gradual change. Big difference between that and most of their other policies where they have said it’s a massive change straight away and we’re throwing loads of money at it and it will be free. If they would have set out their manifesto more like this, they would gain a lot more public trust and not look like a financial liability.

Bad point: None. Realistic, expensive but affordable and a step in the right direction.

We will recruit nearly 150,000 additional early years staff, including Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators, and introduce a national pay scale, driving up pay for the overwhelmingly female workforce.

Good points: Extra staff are needed as they contribute massively in helping over burdened teachers. Yet if they’re making all the other changes in paying teachers more, making more schools and the rest of it, then technically there wouldn’t be the need for these excessive numbers, surely? Pushing up the pay is making the same point they’ve made previously but as before i’m on board with it.

Bad points: It feels like they’ve just plucked this number out of the air. Because of the huge number of people this will include, I don’t think they’ve factored in the cost of this on top of the starting salary of teachers at £30k per year. There just isn’t that sort of cash sitting around, which can only mean one thing. More borrowing. Finally I would like to mention that they talk about inequality and being fair, why did they have to put the bit on the end about it being an overwhelmingly female profession? Why can’t men do it? You can’t be more overly equal to one side in this equality debate. Are they trying to suggest that they get paid less purely because they’re women? I think it sits more at the bottom of teaching assistants aren’t a qualified teacher, so by extension will get paid fractions less than someone who went to university. That’s generally how it works. That’s the reason degrees used to be highly sought after because they would get you better paid jobs? I don’t mean that to belittle teaching assistants as they have a tough job, I just think that the reason they get paid less is because that is how the budget is structured. It’s the same reason doctors get paid more than nurses.

The academies system is over-centralised, inefficient and undemocratic. Parents, communities and even teachers are shut out of decisions about schools and vulnerable children are being let down. And there is no evidence that academies deliver better results.

Good points: None.

Bad points: There is a lot of hard work that goes into academies. It’s actually factually untrue that there’s no evidence to suggest academies deliver better results. ‘Converter’ academies (schools that were under performing that have converted into an academy) are actually more likely to rated Outstanding or Good by Ofsted. The only academies that let the side down are sponsored academies, where the numbers aren’t great, but that’s because there IS interference from people that technically don’t know what they’re doing and are potentially making it worse. You can’t however fight with figures. 29% of all converter academies are Outstanding. As opposed to 19% of all maintained schools. I’m not putting schools down, as I think they do incredibly well with little resources and of course there are a greater number of them so the percentage might not account for that. What i’m trying to say is that Labour made a factually incorrect statement about academies because they just flat out don’t like the idea, which is weird because they were started under the Blair government. The only argument that can be made is that they run at a slight loss, however they do get results. Seeing as Labour seem to be throwing money around willy nilly, i’m sure they won’t mind funding these Outstanding academies.

Labour will end the ‘high stakes’ testing culture of schools by scrapping Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs and baseline assessments, and refocussing assessment on supporting pupil progress.

Good points: It might slightly increase the wellbeing of children.

Bad points: You do need some sort of testing system in place to work out where the child’s development is at. Scrapping Key Stage 1 I haven’t got a problem with, a 5 or 6 year old need not do tests to work out what ability they are, as they’re still in stages of massive development and some kids are further behind purely down how old they are in the year. Key Stage 2 I struggle with. 7 to 11 year olds are at a critical time where you do need to work out what level they’re at, to ascertain whether this child is academically gifted and guided towards that type of education. There is no shame in that. I was academically troubled as a child, they always used to say ‘Luke is very bright but get’s distracted easily and likes to disrupt the class’ (anyone who was in classes with me will know this ohh too well). I just didn’t have the capacity or the concentration levels to sit in a classroom for long periods of time. I’m a kinetic learner meaning I like to learn hands on by DOING something. Other children that are more suited to academic settings are quite rightly rewarded with higher quality education without someone like me disrupting their learning. I’ve got no qualms with that, if they can stick it out in a classroom being boring then quite frankly they’re welcome to it, there are kids out there that just get it. Perfect example was a girl I went to school with (I won’t name names), we got our GCSE results and she was crying because she got a B rather than an A(The rest were A’s and A*). I was over the moon with my A & B in English (the rest were pretty irrelevant), she just obviously thrived in the academic environment and saw a B as a failing moment for her. The older I get the more I understand this moment in life. At the time I thought ‘you sad fucker’ and was happy with the time I slacked off with socialising and being a class clown. Now when i’m in my very late 20’s and have only a small circle of close friends, I do wonder whether my judgement had been misplaced and my time wasted on people who are no longer in my life. Problem is life goes on after school and if you peak there, you fail in the rest of life; unless you can muster up the courage to admit your failings and do better. The point is you need that baseline to work out where to funnel these kids and get the best out of them. It has to stay, not on board with this policy.

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We will introduce an Arts Pupil Premium to fund arts education for every primary school child. We will review the curriculum to ensure that it enriches students and covers subjects such as black history and continues to teach issues like the Holocaust.

Good points: Just wow.

Bad points: This is the most poignant policy and underlines the scourge of anti-Semitism in the Labour party. Let’s address the lack of sensitivity and use of language here. Teach ‘issues’ like the Holocaust. It’s not a fucking ISSUE, it was an event. It happened. It’s thinly veiled but my god, you can see right through the language. More appropriate would be teaching the horrors of the Holocaust or revisiting the events that lead to the Holocaust in the 20th century (something Jeremy seemed to think happened in the 19th century but we’ll gloss over that). It’s really not hard. The Labour party is rife with Jew hating bile, I won’t stand for it. The Jewish community are our allies, we freed European Jews from this atrocity and weirdly they’ve usually been Labour supporters, for them to be treated in this way is outrageous. The problem we’ve got is it has been stoked up from an imported section of our population who notoriously hate Jews and have made no secret of their desires to ‘wipe them off the face of the planet’. People ask what are the bad sides to immigration, well you’re seeing the ugly side of it now. We support Israel and they’re our allies. This whole free Palestine movement has caused untold amounts of hate towards Jews as it is the ‘Jewish state’. Truth is we created the state of Israel so that Jews would never have to flee again after being persecuted for literally thousands of years. The weirdest thing above all else is, Judaism and Islam are probably the two closest religions there are in terms of practices and traditionalism. I’m no religious scholar but even I know that. Don’t get me wrong no religion should be outside of the purview of ridicule and satire, we all enjoy casual jesting of religion, it’s one of the cornerstones of free speech in this country (a luxury not shared around the world) but there is nothing funny with Jew bashing. I’m done now. Next.

We will ‘poverty-proof’ schools, introducing free school meals for all primary school children, encouraging breakfast clubs, and tackling the cost of school uniforms.

Good points: Nothing wrong with this at all.

Bad points: None.

We will restore funding for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses.

Good points: This is a must. This is not uncommon in other countries, in Sweden I know that they have SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) which is free and held in universities. There is no reason as to why you can’t learn the language of the country you decide to live.

Bad points: None.

Labour will end the failed free-market experiment in higher education, abolish tuition fees and bring back maintenance grants. We will fundamentally rethink the assessment of research and teaching quality, and develop a new funding formula for higher education.

Good points: Tuition fees are too high. There is no doubt about it, you’re saddled with ridiculous debt for trying to do the right thing. I still think there should be some fees attributed say for example £1000 a year that should go towards looking after the buildings and pay towards lecturers etc… as the government shouldn’t foot the bill for everything. But use the same guidelines that you’ll pay it back once in a job, because if after 4 years you only owe £4000, you could pay that off fairly easily if you’re in a medium-well paid job which you should have if you’ve been to uni? £4000 is a much lesser burden then say £50k, which a fair amount of people find themselves in. To make it worse, the government ends up paying by writing it off after a set amount of time. So yes i’m behind reducing or getting rid of them.

Bad points: Not costed and would be a sizeable chunk of the education budget which has been earmarked for all these new schools and higher paid teachers. You can begin to see a pattern here. There isn’t enough money for all these lovely policies, there will only be crippling debt.

That’s a great point to move on from, Police & Security now, this should be good considering Jeremy is a pacifist.

We will work to eliminate institutional biases against BAME communities. Proportionate stop-and-search based on intelligence is a needed tool of effective policing, but the use of expanded powers means black and Asian men are still more likely to be stopped and searched, poisoning relations between the police and the local communities they serve.

Good points: At least they’ve agreed that stop and search is needed.

Bad points: Proportionate is a bad term in relation to this issue. The expanded powers they talk of, have had results. Under Priti Patel the re-introduction of stop & search has had good results. You can say what you like about Black and Asians being more likely to get stopped but statistically they’re more likely to be carry weapons. That is based on intelligence. You can’t afford to be sensitive when it comes to keeping people safe. If you’re not involved in gang crime then you’ve got nothing to hide. Just co-operate, let them search you and carry on with your day. If you’re not compliant and start mouthing off with the whole ‘you’re only stopping me because i’m black’ thing, the police are naturally going to be cautious as you’re getting defensive which usually leads to confrontation. The police have got a hard enough job as it is, why make it more difficult, the nicer and more co-operative you are the faster the whole thing will be over. They’re just doing a job and trying to keep us safe. Part of the problem growing up in these ‘tough’ areas is that you’re bought up to hate the police, I think this is where it all stems from.

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Effective police work requires the police to serve their communities and work collaboratively with youth workers, mental health services, schools, drug rehabilitation programmes and other public agencies. A police force working within our communities, with the capacity to gather local intelligence, is also the frontline of our domestic security – the first eyes and ears of effective counter-terrorism.

Good points: There should be stronger links to these services from the police. You can usually track the downward trajectory of people from youth services into drugs and crime. Rather than force their hand, more should be done to show them they can live a different life away from these ills of society. Teach them the police are not the enemy and can actually help.

Bad points: I don’t think all equates to the front line of counter terrorism, this is aimed more at normal crime (if there is such a thing) as opposed to terrorism.

We will address the failure of the Conservatives to take effective measures against a growing problem of extreme or violent radicalisation.

Good points: They don’t outline how and what section of radicalisation this encompasses can’t see how this is even a point?

Bad points: They could have mentioned the prison system being a breeding ground for Islamist recruitment but decided to gloss over that to take a cheap shot at the Tories to gain the Muslim vote. It’s crass and unhelpful.

We will review the Prevent programme to assess both effectiveness and potential to alienate communities and consider alternatives including safeguarding programmes to protect those vulnerable to the recruitment propaganda and ideologies of the far-right and others who promote terror as a political strategy.

Good points: All extremism is bad we can agree on that.

Bad point: Who is to be the judge on what is extreme? In reality the Labour party itself is on the extreme left at present under Jeremy and John (the sinister underbelly of the shadow cabinet). Should we be safeguarding people from being indoctrinated to their beliefs (an impossible task as they run our schools and push it on kids anyway!)? Extremism is a relative term. I understand they need to be addressing extremism, but to pigeon hole just the far right shows the bias and extremism of your own views. We can all agree pretty much the only ones to actually carry out ‘terror’ attacks on British soil are religious extremists, yet again they won’t address that, as it will diminish the Muslim vote which is why they’re referred to as ‘others’.

Cybercrime and cyberwarfare are growing, all around the world. Every aspect of our lives, from the NHS to our nuclear facilities, from transport systems to communications networks is vulnerable. A Labour government, ever more dependent on digital technology, will overhaul our cybersecurity by creating a co-ordinating minister and regular reviews of cyber-readiness.

Good points: They’ve got a point, with all this increased technology and a reliance on electronics to run everything, it is one of our greatest security risks. You could bring the country to it’s knees at the click of a keyboard.

Bad points: I don’t think you’d need another minister when this should come under the remit of the Home Secretary, as it’s to do with homeland security and should be co-ordinated with the existing security services like MI5.

The crisis in our criminal justice system has left communities less safe, victims less supported and people less able to defend their rights. Labour will defend the rule of law.

Good points: None.

Bad points: It’s hard to believe this from a party who denounce the Tories tough stance on crime by saying in effect they’re eroding human rights. They have historically been soft on crime. Not believable and unrealistic.

The Ministry of Justice’s own evidence shows tens of thousands of crimes could be prevented if robust community sentences replace short prison sentences. We will set new standards for community sentences and introduce a presumption against prison sentences of six months or less for non-violent and non-sexual offences.

Good points: None.

Bad points: I rest my case.

We will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions.

Good points: Every woman should have the right to make the decisions that concern their own body.

Bad points: None.

This manifesto is dragging on longer than the Lib Dems, so in the interest of being objective and fair, I will condense the remaining points from the different sections.

Labour will deliver free full-fibre broadband to all by 2030 – I touched on this with the Lib Dems, be patient and pay for it yourself. Don’t burden the taxpayer.

We will introduce an Arts Pupil Premium to every primary school in England – a £160 million annual boost for schools to ensure creative and arts education is embedded in secondary education, and providing a pathway to grow our thriving creative sector – This is a good policy as we should give fair funding to the arts. In the scale of money pledged it’s not bad, but is probably too inflated. Somewhere between £75-100m would have been sufficient.

We will invest in the towns and communities neglected for too long, with a £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund to transform libraries, museums and galleries across the country – I think we should do our best to protect museums as they’re a free institute for learning and this should be encouraged. I also think that is a fair estimate as a lot of the buildings these museums are in are old usually grade one or two listed and will need repairs and maintenance which will cost a shed load.

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A free and fair press is vital to protecting democracy and holding the powerful to account. – We can all agree this, but is usually at odds with Socialist ideologies and is usually one of the first things they attack and control. I’ll take it with a pinch of salt.

In football, the professional game has become divided between the extremes of the very rich and the very poor with clubs in Bury and Bolton facing collapse. A Labour government will examine the state of the game, its governance and regulation, its ownership rules and the support and funding of the clubs that are vital to local communities. – They should stay out of football, nothing good can come from it. They will try and ruin all the fun things with micro management.

I have got this far and realised there are several more sections with sub sections of the manifesto left. I have already exceeded what I wrote for the Lib Dems so will bring it to a close here. This is excessively long and filled with a lot of hot air. Badly set out so you don’t even realise there’s more left! Not forgetting their pledge after this was released of an extra £58bn to compensate the WASPI women. Also factor in the Brexit uncertainty that a Labour government would create, harming the economy. Let’s rate this monstrosity.

Fresh original ideas: 4/5
Practicality and realistic pledges: 3/5
Financially viability: 1/5
Responsible and sensible pledges: 2.5/5
Total: 10.5 out of 20

I feel this is a slight improvement on the Lib Dem manifesto. It also scored a 1/5 for financial viability due to the excessive spending pledges, that would cripple the economy and leave us in heavy debt. I feel they have creative ideas and some are good fresh ideas that do need sounding out. Ultimately the realistic outcome of these policies aren’t good, there was too much right here right now, throw loads of money at it approach. Changing the language surrounding this, introducing gradual changes and more realistic spending targets would more than likely win the next election, which I believe they will once Corbyn and McDonnell are gone. The next generation of the Labour Party need to enact a renaissance in the party and take it back to being the workers party that reflect the views of them and stop with this ultra hard left stance, which is a turn off to tradition labour voters. No wonder so many are intending to vote Lib Dems as an almost protest vote in this election. I believe they will politically bleed out in this election. Brexit is a big part of this, seeing as they’re sitting on the fence and flip flopping, I believe this works against them and will lose out Remainers to the Lib Dems and Brexiteers to the Brexit Party. In regards to their policies I think will retain a large section of voters who will always vote Labour come-what-may due to not changing positions on major issues like immigration, NHS and socially liberal policies on human rights and liberties.

Labour will probably drop to around the 210-215 seats mark leading the way to a Tory majority due to their inability to show a decisive stand point on Brexit and a polarised leader in Jeremy Corbyn. Loved by the few, not the many.

Next up is the Tory manifesto, expect socially conservative policies, a business love-in and a tougher stance on security. As before I urge you all to read as much of the manifesto of the party you intend to vote for at the very least. Understand what it is you’re actually voting for. I’m hoping it’s going to be shorter than the political equivalent of War & Peace I’ve just devoured!

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Liberal Democrat Manifesto

This is the first of the run throughs of manifestos that I am collating for the average Joe. As always I will do so by giving as much background information as possible without being clunky. I want to give you guys a fair chance at making your own minds up. Also I will rate the manifesto, this is marked out of a few points. Fresh original ideas, practicality and realistic pledges, being financially viable and finally whether they make sense! I’ll try not to be too boring and overbearing.

In the interest of being neutral and as impartial as possible (I will try but I will call out bullshit) I decided to start with the Lib Dems manifesto. What I expect is some good social policies, maybe unrealistic and non economically sound proposals and lots of ‘progressive’ policies for the virtue signaling brigade. That being said we shall see what they have in store.

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First up is the obvious. STOP BREXIT. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Whilst at least they have the bollocks to be openly Remain and actually have a stand point (just look at the shambles from Labour flip flopping trying to gain Leave and Remain voters); they’re going against the biggest democratic mandate in this country’s history. If they were to get in (unlikely) then it would be a big kick in the dick for democracy and ordinary voters up and down the country. It would cause a big disaffection with politics and is uncertain what lengths the public would go to, to reassert themselves over the ‘ruling class’. This will win them the most votes but at the very heart of it, is a minority stand point and will more than likely just split the Labour vote. They say they will use the £50bn to go into public services and tackling inequality. Big blanket term and doesn’t actually explain how they will tackle it and how they will funnel the resources to fight this inequality. So not only financially vague but wholly irresponsible. Bad shout. Also I have a hard time believing this, when I still remember Nick Clegg being one of the only leaders wanting the referendum in the first place. As usual Lib Dems willing to whore themselves out to get any semblance of power/votes.

Now we got Brexit out of the way we can get onto the economy, as i’m sure you’re sick of hearing about Brexit! Especially as it’s other key policies that shape a government and who actually gets things done.

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Equal opportunities between cities.

The good points: They promise to continue with the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine, so funding to these areas will continue, which I think is brilliant. For us to continue to grow as a country, we can’t just rely on the financial centre in the South East. Whilst it’s a great economic hub and creates enormous wealth for the country, I think that it’s only fair we use that wealth to pull up our brethren in the north. Investment into some big northern cities would be advantageous to us all, eventually I believe we’ll start to see ‘clean cities’ completely run on renewable energy. Slick, clean, classy modern cities is what we should expect from the future. Not that it will happen but we can dream, eh?

The bad point: You can’t please everyone. If you were to invest in Manchester and Birmingham, then Leeds and Newcastle would get jealous and possibly feel left behind. It’s a balancing act but a step in the right direction.

They plan to incorporate the British Business Bank more into the economy to help with small and medium sized businesses. Good point: They say they’ll work with normal banks to help as well. Encouraging small businesses is great as they make up a large part of the sector and creates aspirations for the normal person to one day own their own business.

Bad point: No one can trust the banks, they’re in it for themselves and will surely be out to make lots of money out of people. The only issue with pushing for lots of small and medium sized businesses is you can over saturate the market. Not only this but you can see irresponsible lending from the banks to people they know can’t pay it back. It could be businesses built on good ideas but not a solid enough business plan, leading to failure and loss of money. Yet again it’s trying to find a balance between responsible lending and pushing for a thriving small business ethos.

Upgrading the tourism sector and creating a new department in government to reflect this is a bad point, no good points. It’s using up money to create another level of bureaucracy we don’t need but will ultimately end up paying for. Whilst it’s good they’re trying to support areas that depend on tourism for their income, we would end up paying more for someone (Minister for Tourism) that doesn’t need to be there and all their staff and expenses, than actually trying to help out the tourism sector! Think i’ll pass.

House building targets are yet again a necessary evil that will never be met. I understand all major parties have to put it in there but we all know that there’s not much that can be done to get these houses built. We shouldn’t have to give up green belt land. This country is too densely populated as it is and we shouldn’t ruin the beauty of this country to try and prop up an unsustainable population. If you’re lucky enough to live in the countryside then you shouldn’t have to be concreted over. It’s the only irony of these parties that scream about the ‘climate emergency’ but want to wipe out nice green areas to accommodate a rising population. Let’s try to steer away from who is encompassed in that term population for now, otherwise I will turn wildly off topic as usual!

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Investment in public transport – Good point: Public transport has been slightly neglected and it would be good to see any increase in spending for this sector. They have also said they want to make all trains ultra low emissions by 2035 (electric or hydrogen) which is commendable.

Bad point: They want to continue with HS2. Which was a good idea but is impractical, impossible to implement and is rising in costs by the day. Needs chopping. Also whilst I think it’s great to make the trains electric or hydrogen by 2035, it doesn’t say how much this will cost or how they will pay for it! My thoughts are, it will be a huge cost and would more than likely come out of an excessive borrowing budget, fiscally unsound.

Rolling out fibre optic broadband across the UK is unrealistic and costly. If you want it then pay for it, I have to and so should you. I understand they want to connect rural areas but BT are already rolling out superfast broadband across the UK already and it only effects their customers not the taxpayer. Yes they’re doing it in stages and it seems like an eternity (I had to wait 5 years for it to come to my area, suffering with excruciatingly slow broadband in the meantime) but we just have to be patient. We want too much given to us on a plate nowadays. I won’t mince my words, the internet is not a basic human right. I hate using the term but there are places around the world without the internet or even worse censored internet and surveilled upon. There are more important things to focus our energy and money on. Next.

Taxation – Good points: None.

Bad points: Yet again they plan to go after the giant corporations. This plan will not work. They will simply relocate out of the country which we don’t want. Could you imagine a mass exodus of all the big companies to our main competitors in Europe, absolute disasterclass. They want to increase corporation tax to 20% which was lowered (to 17%) by the Tories to encourage business and create wealth, because hey money doesn’t grow on trees! They also want HMRC to employ more staff to go after the big businesses but when the big businesses leave, they will turn onto the normal taxpayer to fund all these policies and they will have a bigger workforce to chase normal people down. Not a good time for PAYE workers who do their own tax returns or small business owners, the people they’re trying to ‘help out’.

Promoting wellbeing – Good points: This is a subject close to my heart so I back this. Although the way in which they’re going about it is typically political. Enter stage left, the new Minister for Wellbeing. Another unnecessary post created for the pure purpose of presenting to parliament every year on main measures of wellbeing and how government policies effect them. They could have done without this, however this post could be used as the new head of Mental Health services, not likely though so would be under bad points but i’ll keep it in good for now as it is very important. They also want to increase “access to high-quality mental health and other health services” which is good but they don’t explain how they will pay for it again.

Bad points: “Introduce wellbeing impact assessments for all government policies.” Says it all really. We won’t make the big decisions for the country that need to happen because they may negatively impact Dawn from Doncaster. When you make decisions at the top level there are always going to be winners and losers, you can’t please everybody.

I now move onto Education and skills.

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Free childcare for 2-4 year olds and 9 month-2 year old 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year free. Good points: Childcare is a huge issue in this country and this does take good steps towards addressing it. Me and my wife are going through this right now, as she’s just about getting ready to go back to work and it’s almost not worth her going back due to the astronomical costs. More help is needed from the government and they should be doing more to help families. There are areas that need serious shake ups, this is one of them.

Bad points: Yet again, giving away free things without accounting for the cost of it. That will cost a hell of a lot of money and there is only so much you can tax people to pay for things. The other side of the coin are the type of people that don’t have kids who i’ve heard before saying things like ‘if you can’t afford kids don’t have them’ or ‘I don’t want to pay for somebody else’s kids’. I feel these statements are unhelpful, as you do need to replenish the population so that we can grow the economy in the future and it saves you having to import labour and dilute the native population, which is unneeded and easily combatted by encouraging our own people to have children. This being said, people have the right to not want to pay for other’s children, if they’ve made the choice not to have them and their right should be protected.

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Reverse cuts to school funding, allowing schools to employ an extra 20,000 teachers and reduce class sizes, restoring them to 2015 levels per pupil with an emergency cash injection. Good points: More teachers addresses the major problems we have in the teaching profession at present. I have put on here previously about the dwindling numbers of teaching staff, mainly down to the fact they can get paid better elsewhere for a less demanding job. Reducing class sizes increases the quality of learning for children and lessens the burden on teachers who have to usually contend with teaching a class of 30-35 children. It will also help especially in under funded inner city schools who need the cash injection to help with social mobility.

Bad point: It’s becoming boring but it’s not costed, however I will let this one slide as i’m sure everyone would be happier paying a tiny bit extra tax to fund this, as it is at crisis point and we can’t let down the next generation. I’m in agreement with this policy.

Introduce a ‘curriculum for life’, in all state-funded schools. This will include Personal, Social and Health Education, financial literacy, environmental awareness, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, mental health education, citizenship and age-appropriate Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). Teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, and issues surrounding explicit images and content will be included in RSE. Good points: Introducing financial literacy to the curriculum is a good step as it’s one thing that you actually need in life and are never taught! First aid and emergency life saving skills is also a nice touch, as it is a good thing to have skills wise and could spark an interest in caring for people or even lead to joining the NHS which we should encourage; as we shouldn’t have to rely on foreign workers to prop it up post Brexit. We will need to find the workers from somewhere, so recruiting from our own stock is the sensible option. Mental health education is a good step in making people aware of the issues we all face at some point in our lives. It can also help young people recognise the signs before they take hold which could potentially save lives.

Bad points: Environmental awareness is a tough one. If it is educational then great. If they try to push an agenda which you fear that the liberal leaning teaching profession would, then this could become one of those terrible ways of pushing unbalanced views on our children and they should be able to make their own mind up about this subject. Not have a certain version rammed down their throats. Age appropriate relationships and Sex education is another one i’m weary of under a Liberal administration. You fear they will push a weird progressive agenda onto impressionable kids and mess them up. It’s all age relative, if you’re teaching them when they’re say 15 years old about what to expect and what to watch out for (e.g older partners, grooming, etc…) then fine. If they’re 12 years old and they’re pushing to tell them having sex with one of these pansexual self identifying nutjobs then it’s wrong. You could warp the perceptions of an innocent child and potentially wreck their entire sexual life based on shaky foundations fed by a progressive fad of indecisive attention seekers. Which leads nicely onto LGBT+ relationships. The fact they added the + onto the end tells me it’s wrong, all wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being gay, that should be touched upon in the standard sex education, obviously not in excessive detail. But to push across these views of Trans people to younger people is yet again dangerous. A lot of Trans people are mentally unstable and suffering from mental health issues that are not properly diagnosed and the fact it’s been thrust into the limelight and you hear these horror stories of parents pushing their own kids to transition into the opposite sex is abhorrent, it’s child abuse, pure and simple. If you accept this is normal and condone these actions, then you can’t be trusted to teach this subject to kids. End of.

Oppose any future expansion of grammar schools and devolve all capital funding for new school spaces to local authorities. Good points: They probably see it as ‘the same education’ for all, which is a nice idea to have but is unrealistic. By mixing all abilities you risk dumbing down the ultra clever ones, why sacrifice ones at a higher level for the benefit of a few slightly slower children? It’s the same reason you get put into ‘sets’ when it becomes serious (e.g GCSE’s).

Bad points: Opposing grammar schools has never made sense to me, ever since I learnt what they were. They increase the opportunities of kids that might not usually have the opportunity to have access to such a quality education. It increases social mobility exponentially and makes them aspire to be better than they normally would be. It also rewards being the best, the smartest and getting there by yourself. The only thing that could be changed, should be the stress surrounding the SATs test to prove you can get into these grammar schools. Kids shouldn’t be pushed by their parents to get in, the tests should be changed and there should be no indication the test is coming, also the normal grades should be taken into account of admission to grammar schools, as some children don’t perform well in one off situations.

Raise the starting salary for teachers to £30,000 and increase all teachers’ pay by at least three per cent per year throughout the parliament. Good point: I bought it up earlier, this would solve the issue of teachers leaving for better paid jobs, keeping good people with the skills needed to do the job. I’m behind giving teachers more.

Bad points: None really. Public services have needed a wage increase for a while.

Challenge gender stereotyping and early sexualisation, working with schools to promote positive body image and break down outdated perceptions of gender appropriateness of particular academic subjects. Good points: Positive body image is important to push, so many issues with self esteem are embedded in body image from an early age, kids can be mean and damaging to each other. In pushing this, you can free the child’s mind and push them to reach their potential unhindered by poor self esteem and confidence issues.

Bad points: Stop. You need help. Gender appropriation is a myth. Men and women can do anything they want today. We’ve had two female Prime Ministers now (no need to point out they’re both Tories, but I will, just for balance.) there is no ceiling, that is the very top. The only issue now is paying them the same amount as blokes for the same job. The only time I would disagree, is if they’re not as competent and vice versa, a woman should get paid more in bonuses if she’s outperforming her male colleague and is more effective in her role. New age feminists are pushing it too far, this is a fact not an opinion.

Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students, ensuring that living costs are not a barrier to disadvantaged young people studying at university. Good points: I received EMA when I was in sixth form, it was good and not too much money (think it was £30 a week) it really helped paying for public transport and things I needed for sixth form. As long as they don’t go silly and give them loads of money when they’re fiscally irresponsible, then i’m all for it.

Bad points: Can’t think of one.

I will move onto Health & Social care now.

Raise £7 billion a year additional revenue which will be ring-fenced to be spent only on NHS and social care services. This revenue will be generated from a 1p rise on the basic, higher and additional rates of Income Tax (this revenue will be neither levied nor spent in Scotland.) Good points: I think we can all agree this is okay and needed, from any party.

Bad points: None. They’ve actually costed a policy, hurrah. I jest.

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Introduce a statutory independent budget monitoring body for health and care, similar to the Office for Budget Responsibility. This would report every three years on how much money the system needs to deliver safe and sustainable treatment and care, and how much is needed to meet the costs of projected increases in demand and any new initiatives – to ensure any changes in services are properly costed and affordable. Good points: None.

Bad points: Paying more people to tell you we need more money is counter productive and lazy. The government should have fiscal responsibility of the NHS and that shouldn’t change. You’re never going to have enough money to properly run the NHS, this does not help. Ridiculous policy.

Support the creation of a new Professional Body for Care Workers, to promote clear career pathways with ongoing training and development, and improved pay structures. Good points: Improving pay should encourage more workers, which we desperately need. Giving them the training they need to perform their duties is a good step to ensuring the right people are in the right role. Totally onboard.

Bad points: None.

There is a lot of noise but no real cutting edge policies concerning the NHS so I have skipped a fair amount, mainly for your benefit! Now onto Freedom, Rights and Equality.

Introduce an ‘X’ gender option on passports and extend equality law to cover gender identity and expression. Good points: None as proved in court not long ago.

Bad points: I think this matter is more to do with tracing people in and out of the country and becomes a matter more of national security, which should be paramount over what some perceive as their personal right. It is a sensible step by the government to fight this as it has gone on far enough. This movement are just trying to create more issues and is trying to frustrate the normal procedures in place that are there to safeguard us. I can’t take anymore of this attention seeking madness. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile, there’s no escaping your past. You were born a man/woman, if you decide you want to change then good for you but you can’t change the fact you were born a specific way and by extension try to rewrite history by projecting your fantasy onto others; It could also be used as a way for someone to go off the radar, there would be untold issues of trying to track people whose identity suddenly stops as they change not only their gender but their name. They could leave the country as Mark Johnson, have a sex change, come back and then apply for a passport as Mary Johnson without anyone knowing. What if he’d committed a crime, he gets off scott free. Although I expect nothing less from the Liberal Democrats so i’ll move on.

Increase statutory paternity leave from the current two weeks up to six weeks and ensure that parental leave is a day-one right, and address continuing inequalities faced by same-sex couples. Good points: Two weeks just isn’t enough, I know from experience. Couldn’t agree more, yet again more has to be done to sort out the system and how the roles (of fathers especially) have changed. I also think it should be staggered so that you can enjoy different stages of your babies development.

Bad points: None as it doesn’t need to be costed, due to it being paid for by the employer and god knows we all deserve more from them!

Provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary in the UK by resettling 10,000 vulnerable refugees each year and a further 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in Europe over the next ten years, and expanding family reunion rights. Good points: None.

Bad points: There are many. Let’s start with the numbers. It’s excessive, it should all be done on a case by case basis. Refugee is a dirty word now, as it has been abused and distorted from it’s true definition. A real refugee now would be say for example, British passport holders in Hong Kong. They’re quite literally being beaten and locked up by the Chinese imposed regime. They’re political refugees that we have technically signed up to protect just over 20 years ago (1997). I don’t buy the whole refugee from the middle east thing anymore. They quite literally have to pass through dozens of safe countries to get here and try to gain asylum. That isn’t a refugee, that is an economic migrant. We have enough of those, get in line and fill out the necessary paperwork like EVERYBODY ELSE. We need to focus on migrants from all over the world and make it a fair playing field. Get the very best and brightest, it’s a privilege to come to this country, not a right. A refugee is someone fleeing war and is displaced and can no longer return due to fear of their safety. Why not go next door to Saudi Arabia, a very wealthy country and not too far from your home, meaning when you repatriate (which all refugees should) it isn’t a huge journey for you. Or go north to Russia one of the top three richest countries in the world. No that’s right, you’ll travel to gullible European countries trying to do the right thing to show they’re caring, as they’re too scared to be called racist. Sick of it.

Stop Brexit and save EU freedom of movement. This is getting comical now. Good points: None.

Bad points: You will still be able to freely travel throughout Europe. You just have to produce your passport at the border, much like everyone used to before the EU. Personally looking forward to getting lots of stamps in my passport to show where i’ve visited. How do you think American or Australian backpackers travel Europe? By law you are allowed 90 days free travel throughout the Schengen area and we will be entitled to the same rights. 90 days. Nearly three months. If you’re going to travel for more than three months, then you might need visas but if you’re planning a trip of that magnitude, then applying for visas is probably not going to be much different from planning a trip to the US or Asia? People are just lazy, there I said it. All this information is readily available. Please don’t buy into these scare stories, this is just another ploy from people with vested interests trying to make you believe things are changing and people don’t like change, so it must be bad right? For the love of god, just do some research.

Give 16- and 17-year olds the right to vote in elections and referendums. Good points: Yet again none.

Bad points: I do really wonder if they were on drugs when making some of these policies. I’ll break it down like this. We don’t trust people to legally drink until they’re 18 as they can’t be trusted. But they’re willing to let them have a say in changing the country based on people offering them free things. They’re literally deluded. You can’t even go to prison until you’re 18, you’re not even legally an adult. That’s where the line must be drawn. Just because you can change something, doesn’t mean you should. It’s another example of being patient, we expect instant gratification due to the advancement of technology and we want everything right here right now. This can’t be applied to voting, a certain degree of responsibility and thought is needed when making a choice that will effect the entire country for the next five years. Also by extension referendums! Jesus, don’t even get me started.

Extend the right to full participation in civic life, including the ability to stand for office or vote in UK referendums, Local Elections and General Elections, to all EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years or more. Good points: None.

Bad points: This is irresponsible and unnecessary. You should only be allowed to stand for office and vote if you were born here. Before you think this is biased and ‘narrow minded’, my wife is an EU citizen and she agrees. She can still vote in Sweden and that is the way it should be. She’s a Swedish citizen and reserves the right to influence change in her own native land. The same should apply here. They’re basically trying to import votes, which is undemocratic and it stinks.

This last section is called Better Politics. I’m trying my hardest to stay focussed and unbiased but it’s oh so very hard.

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Reform the House of Lords with a proper democratic mandate. Good points: The House of Lords is long overdue a reformation. They have proved this in the frustration of Brexit. There is no longer a reason they shouldn’t be an elected body. I think it should be split into industries, those that have served at the very top of their professions for a long time and are honoured by the Queen, should then be put forward for the public vote. Say for example you have top scientists honoured. You had a top physicist, chemist, biologist etc… They would be in the category of science, there would be a certain amount of seats reserved for this industry. You would then vote on the ones put forward. Same would apply for business, technology, sport, education, economy, etc…a broad range. We would then have actual law makers who have incredible experience in their field. I also think they should limit the amount of ex-politicians allowed in the chamber, as they usually get put in the Lords after being law makers for a certain amount of time or serving in a government. Due to the Commons having far greater powers and being able to push certain legislation thorough the Lords without scrutiny, why should they then be able to effect laws in the Lords? It should be decided on the number of votes in the general election and share of the vote. So for example, if the Brexit party got 8% of the vote but no seats, they’d be entitled to a set amount of Lords to be appointed to the chamber. Same would apply for the Greens who consistently get about 3-4% of the public vote and only ever one or none MPs. I think if the leader loses the election which they technically do most of the time, then that leader would be the one put forward to the Lords. Meaning they’re not put to waste and would push the losing parties to be more competitive and advance their younger members, meaning fresh young talent gets through quicker rather than parliament being a stuffy old person’s game as it is now. It would also be representative, as it would mean the Lords would have high end political figures who commanded a fair amount of votes to be made party leader, would then be able to represent the views of the party in the other chamber. The ruling party would get a fair share too due to their share of the vote, which doesn’t always equate to huge amounts of seats. Only difference is their leader would obviously be Prime Minister, so wouldn’t be able to sit in the Lords. So maybe the longest serving member who loses their seat in that election would be the highest ranking for the ruling party? There are many avenues to go down but this would be the most fair I think.

Ensure that a new Prime Minister, and their programme for government, must win a confidence vote of MPs. Just had to go through this without good or bad points as I think this is lazy. I think they miss the exact point of a general election here. In fact, this very election was called because it was no longer a majority government, minority governments can’t rule as nothing gets done (as we’ve seen recently).

Legislate to allow all-BAME and all-LGBT+ shortlists. Good points: Still on drugs I see.

Bad points: Shortlists are a very bad idea. Nothing is more demeaning to the people on these lists as they know they’re only there due to the colour of their skin or their sexuality. If you want a free and fair society like they say they want, you will let them all get there on their own merit, not a quota set to involve them. Just look at the Tories, they have a Home Secretary and Chancellor who are BAME. You don’t need to belittle these people to try and give them a voice, if they’re not good enough to get there in the first place, then they shouldn’t be there. Just look at Diane Abbott and David Lammy. Look at them. Listen to some of the ridiculous stuff that comes out of their mouths. Proof that just because you are from a different ethnicity, doesn’t mean you should be allowed near a position of power.

Expect the BBC both to provide impartial news and information, and to take a leading role in increasing media literacy and educating all generations in tackling the impact of fake news. Good points: They’ve got to be having a laugh.

Bad points: Everyone knows the BBC are so biased it hurts. They can’t hide it and haven’t been able to for years. Perfect example was last night’s Have I Got News For You. Was laughing a lot more than usual, you know why? Because during election season (the duration of an election campaign) they can’t be seen to be influencing the result so have to ridicule and satire everyone equally. I wish I was joking. There was the most amount of Corbyn and Labour bashing I’ve seen in ages. There was still the tired old Brexit jokes but at least the observational humour wasn’t entirely directed at Tories and Trump for once. Whilst it was enjoyable, it was actually quite sad to think that they only did it because they’re made too and not because it’s funny. That would be true impartiality. In regards to the fake news, yet again looking at people like Andrew Marr, Fiona Bruce and Emily Maitlis you can see their bias in everything they do. The only true unbiased broadcaster is of course Andrew Neil, who goes after everyone equally as hard. The saddest thing about the abuse he gets is people actually try to paint him as biased, yet the one person in a bit of controversy is Boris as he’s ducking the interview. Surely then if Andrew was a ‘closet Tory’ as I’ve seen him labelled, why would a Tory PM be scared to do an interview with him? You watch all of his interviews and he gives everyone a hard time. Closest thing we have to Paxman. He was also the person who should have taken over Question Time. I don’t watch it anymore because it has descended in stature under Fiona’s stewardship. Unlike Dimmbleby who fairly put them in their place if they stepped out of line, she just squawks over them.

There is a section about Defence in which they commit to 2% of GDP under NATO rules and accept they need a nuclear deterrent. I didn’t feel the need to go into much detail as this has droned on for long enough!

There were a fair amount of good policies which slightly surprised me (maybe i’m going soft in my old age) but as usual the progressive dross shone through and they proved they’re still the Lib Dems!

Fresh original ideas: 3.5/5

Practicality and realistic pledges: 2/5

Financially viability: 1/5

Responsible and sensible pledges: 3/5

Total: 9.5 out of 20

It was ‘half good’. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough to win you an election. Considering they have approached the platform to try and win a ‘majority Liberal government’ (Jo Swinson’s own words), there isn’t enough in there to create the sing great enough to get a majority of seats. I do believe that taking the Remain stand point will garner a large section of Labour seats and a large share of their vote, as the only true Remain ‘voice’ it will probably only equate to about 30-35 seats in reality; due to our outdated First-past-the-post electoral system. It’s a massively improved effort and there are some genuinely good ideas in there. They should use this election as a spring board to continue growth, maybe introduce some slightly more conservative policies and edge towards the centre to garner support from Conservative swing voters. That’s where their strongest position has been (I believe they won around 50 seats when they last did this). The lasting thing this manifesto has imprinted on me was it’s length. It was awfully long and drawn out and would probably turn off your average voter who is not normally interested in politics. I had to condense a huge chunk of the manifesto down and only just managed to keep this entire post down to less than 6000 words. If you decide to do your own research (which I encourage) you will see what I mean and will fall asleep before finishing it.

I hope you found this helpful, interesting and insightful. Next up on the run throughs is Labour. Make a coffee and get comfy, i’m sure things will get a bit off topic! Thank you for reading but yet again I would like to push for you to read the manifestos or at least the summaries before casting your vote. The political landscape HAS changed and it does mean that you might not necessarily be aligned with a party as you once were. Especially if you’re a Labour voter. I’ll say no more!

 

In My Experience

I’m approaching probably the most difficult period of time in my life. I feel that I won’t be able to write closer to the time as I will be in a completely different state of mind and quite honestly won’t have time for it. In 26 days time, it will mark a year since my brother killed himself. Whilst I may have been getting on okay and doing my best to get on with life and not let it hinder me, I feel that this milestone can’t be avoided. I have tried concentrating my thoughts on the birth of my baby boy in March but no matter how much I try and think positively, the whole occasion is tinged in sadness for me. It’s an occasion that I wish Tom was here for. He would have been an amazing Uncle and as I think back to my childhood and the relationship I had with my ‘crazy’ Aunties and Uncles, I feel my child has been robbed of a relationship they never knew they had. I slightly worry about the point in my child’s not too distant future when they can talk and I have to explain who Tom was and what he meant to me. Then the inevitable follow up of ‘Where is Uncle Tom now?’. Do I spare them the hurt, the pain and the agony of it all? Or shall I tell them the unedited version of events that led catastrophically to his untimely demise? The truth always hurts the most, or so they say.

It’s an internal conflict that has been raging inside ever since I found out we were having a baby. I worry that if i’m not up front about it, that they too will fall into that pit of misery later on in life. The hard bit of it is trying to teach them from Tom’s mistakes without painting him in too much of a bad light. I had untold amounts of respect for my big brother and despite his flaws, still hold him in such high regard. Is it worth mentioning that maybe our vulnerabilities are what make us human and that no one is perfect? You might think this is all a bit premature but if I don’t work out what i’m going to do now, I never will. I don’t underestimate the task of being a parent and the time involved in being one, I simply won’t have the time to think about this conversation later on in life. Whilst I have the clarity of mind and the ability to think about the situation without being sleep deprived and having to be constantly attentive and/or being interrupted, I think this is the only opportunity I will get!

To me, it feels like to everyone else Tom doesn’t matter anymore. They have got on with everything like nothing has happened and it’s only the ones closest to Tom, that it’s still effecting. I suppose everyone grieves in their own way, but completely shutting him out will get you nowhere. I don’t talk about Tom to pretty much anyone apart from my family now as no one bothers asking. I shouldn’t be surprised really, I have always been let down by people in general and only have a close circle of friends who I would deem as reliable. That’s life though, and I probably wouldn’t be too far from the truth if I said that’s most likely how Tom felt for the last year of his life. I’m almost expecting a fake outpouring of grief from people on the 8th of February ‘always missed, never forgotten’. Like people need to be seen as compassionate and caring. Pull the other one! Maybe that’s a little harsh but one thing I can never be accused of, is being dishonest.

Me and Tom talked about his feelings of abandonment when he came out of hospital. He felt massively disconnected from people, he also didn’t want to shout about the fact he’d come out of hospital in fear of being seen as crazy. Maybe this was one of his critical errors, as that may have lead to him not having the necessary support that he needed around him, at that specific point in time. Not owning up to your problems can definitely have an effect on how you deal with them. How can people help if they don’t know what’s going on? This is where i’d like to turn the dial and touch upon drug abuse.

I think the main cause of people turning to drugs as a coping mechanism, is because they either have issues at home or because they can’t cope with situations and the emotions attached to them. They don’t want to feel and they numb it with drugs or sometimes alcohol. It’s a bit harder to spot because of the drinking culture we have in this country, which I have nothing against. The only reason I bring up this observation, is because from experience most of the people I know that have done drugs, have usually had something ‘wrong’ at home (I use the term ‘wrong’ loosely as it depends on your perspective). I want to use Tom’s situation as a wake up call to people, that drugs aren’t the answer. This is usually why drug use almost always escalates, as once you’ve created a tolerance to a certain drug, it doesn’t give you the same ability to mask your emotions/problems. You have to face your problems and yes it may hurt but hurting is part of being human, something I have only really properly learned about because of my experience to do with Tom. You will only become stronger by pushing yourself out to the other side. It’s a life lesson that I think people try and avoid, as they’re too afraid of being hurt or can’t face up to overwhelming emotion so try and block it out. The other lesson you will then learn, is that if a problem is too overwhelming for you, then sharing your problem halves it. Usually drugs will loosen your tongue and that’s why some people use it as an escape. Most of you reading this will have at some point been stuck either in a kitchen or on a patio at a party with someone off their face on drugs, spilling all of their problems to you, a complete stranger. You might laugh at this situation, me too or you might take this as a story from your past where you’ve made a friend. Both of which are great. But going back to what I said, look closer and dig deeper into that situation and how that person got there. They only felt okay to share their problems because they’re on drugs and you’re usually in the same situation, getting fucked up at a party, be it on drugs or drinking.

I want to push the fact that emotions are not a weakness. Stand up for yourself. We’re adults now and should confront this misconception. I understand there are people out there that will use your weaknesses against you as a way of manipulating you. All you have to remember is that the reason they do this is, is out of fear someone will do the same to them and they want the power. It’s the same mindset of a bully, they’re usually bullying someone because they’ve been bullied themselves. Everyone has emotions, there is no escaping it. It seems silly to me that it has to be written in those black and white terms, but I suppose sometimes people just need to go back to basics. Don’t ever be afraid to admit these things and it’s never too late to face up to your problems. Even if they stem all the way back to childhood. Maybe you had an absent father (that’s a common theme i’ve seen if i’m being honest), or there was a break up in your parent’s marriage and you got caught in the crossfire or even worse you blame yourself, maybe you felt neglected or strived for attention from parents which was never forthcoming, maybe you were abused by parents physically or even (god forbid) sexually. If you can count one of those that has happened to you and you haven’t tried drugs i’d be surprised. You may not think these are the causes behind you taking drugs and come at me with the argument you tried them for another reason but it always stems from something that happened to you in your childhood. I’ll admit that’s a short list and there are endless factors to do with home life that can have a resounding effect on you throughout life, but these are the main factors I think. It’s having the courage to admit something happened and working through it that helps you cope, not distracting yourself from the issue with drugs. It can probably still be said about people my age or even older still smashing the sesh, maybe it’s become habitual now and is detached from the original reason you started taking drugs, but i’m sure if you peeled back the layers you will find something on that list or similar that is the underlying issue. People love to carry a chip on their shoulder and can play the whole ‘drugs are cool’ card for their latter teenage years, but when you’re on the wrong side of 30 and still regularly on the sesh, you need some help. I don’t care about dropping truth bombs or upsetting people, it needs to be said. There are a lot of people in my friends list that this can apply to, if you want to take it that this is aimed at you, then please do. Do take it to heart. Do something about it. Confront it. Confront me, I couldn’t care less. Tomorrow can be the start of the rest of your life. Or you can stay inside the cyclical nature of drugs and it’s warm, cosy comfort blanket of distraction whilst you descend deeper until you’re in the position Tom was in. What a waste of a life. I’m only telling you what it’s like to be on the other side of things and what it feels like for the people around you, who love and care for you. Take heed of my advice and my words and stick at it. Always strive to better yourself and put yourself on a good positive path in life. Would you rather just live or live FOR something? It won’t be easy but life never is.

I mean this sincerely, if I’ve touched on something in this you want to talk to me about, then my ears are always open and i’m happy to talk about anything.

me and tomm

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Bored of Brexit

Over the years, I have expressed very hard fought views about the EU, Brexit and the state of current affairs in Europe as a whole. The reason I have called this piece ‘Bored of Brexit’ is probably for a different reason than most. I’m bored of it being CALLED Brexit, mainly because this isn’t Brexit. It’s not what we voted for. It’s a backdoor to a forever union. Anyone savvy enough to delve deeper into what’s going on will see this.

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The truth is, you will never achieve Brexit with a Remain PM. Yesterday and today’s crunch meetings for the PM serve as a healthy reminder that the Brexiteer wolves are at the door. I don’t think she can stave them off for much longer. The cabinet is full of Remain MP’s who don’t believe in Brexit, which is why we’re here with this pitiful, wretched draft agreement. If you were to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, I suppose it’s not all that bad. What I mean by that is, the PM struggled to get it through her own cabinet without massive uproar and resignations. It won’t get through the house and certainly won’t be agreed by ALL 27 members of the EU! So in that respect i’m still relatively calm about the whole situation. The eventuality of No Deal is pleasing to say the least, any deviation should be treated with contempt.

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What’s really got me pondering is the pending leadership contest. This is the best, albeit last chance we will have of ousting Theresa the Appeaser and installing a proper Brexit cabinet. We need a PM that will give licence to a Brexit negotiator to go in heavy handed, throw the agreement out and say ‘we want no deal, convince us otherwise’. Which would be a much better negotiating position to start with. If we would have started with that then we could of had ‘Canada+++’ by now. We need a PM that isn’t scared to take the risks that will result in a brighter future. We need a PM that truly believes in the aims of the country. A principled PM that strives to deliver in the interests of the nation. A PM that will not go out with a whimper or to give in to the EU bully boys. A true conservative, that believes in upholding traditional values and boosting the national identity. We don’t need a ditherer with no direction.

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In the coming days, there must be a trigger for a vote of no confidence in the leadership and a last ditch effort to save the country. The Tory party is consuming itself at an alarming rate and if this isn’t done, there’ll be nothing left to salvage. Without knowing it, they could send themselves into the political wilderness for the next 15 years, if they don’t get rid of May. She is harming the image of the party and taking it even further away from the true principals of conservatism. There needs to be someone to step up that is unashamedly Conservative and wears it with pride. In doing so, resetting the scales and pushing the political spectrum closer to what it used to be. At present, anything right of Communism is seen as Nazism. This can no longer be tolerated.

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I think now more than ever is the perfect chance to stand up to the EU as a whole. There is disgusting rhetoric coming out of both Macron and Merkel, jousting for a European Army. Something I have warned of for years. These tyrannical, egotistical, unaccountable sentiments are shared by all in the echelons of power in Brussels. Not only is it ironic but also bloody dangerous. All i’ve heard out of Remain, is ‘the EU brings peace’ and ‘it was created as the end of all wars in Europe’. Which are both wholly untrue. Make no mistake, the EU has it’s own foreign policy, it just can’t act like it wants too, yet. Let me put it in layman’s terms. Would you vote for a united army of all nations in Europe? Yes I might hear you say, seems like a reasonable noteworthy idea to pool our resources and work towards the common good, building bonds with other nations and championing teamwork across borders. Ok I say, who’s going to run it? An Army General? All that power given to one man? As head of more than 30 nations? No surely not. Okay well how about it’s run by a government? Yeah that seems like a good idea, share the power. They can vote on if the Army can act, when, where and how. Sounds good? Okay, what about if a couple of countries don’t believe in using the Army for something that has been voted on? Well technically the parliament doesn’t make the decisions. All the main decisions come from the EU commission and so does all the money to run it so they have all of the say. And who runs it? The President of the Commission, so we’re back to one guy with all the power and might of Europe? What about if he has an agenda (which all leaders do), is he accountable? Can we vote him out if we don’t agree? No. Can the countries that don’t want to go along, veto it? No. Can these countries leave the European Army if they want? No. Can they stop paying contributions? No. Can they then leave the EU?…….Can they then leave the EU? I heard what you said. Do you see how hard the EU have made it for a major power like us to leave? Imagine the little guy, trying to get out. Imagine, Poland, Hungary, Austria or even Italy? The merry-go-round never stops.

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To be fair, if it ever came to war i’m pretty sure we would kick the fuck out of them. We’re the only country to keep up our 2% of GDP contributions towards NATO and have a functioning Army, Navy and Air Force. Numbers may be low at present but cometh the hour, cometh the man. There may come a time in the future that we would have to go to war with the EU for their own good. The rhetoric for an army comes from them and what possible use could they have for an army? Is it because they now realise that having us as an ally would be advantageous? Have they also noticed that we have the nuclear deterrent and are the 2nd biggest power in NATO? Have they come to realise that they might not have the comfort of the best armed forces on their side? Or are they worried that there would be a sovereign nation outside of their control, on their doorstep which they can no longer bend to their whims. A strong, robust power with a huge economy, wealth, connections that span the globe and a queue of countries waiting to do business. If anything I think they’re scared of the prospect, they’re scared of being shown tough love from their neighbour. Something they NEED. We’ve been the sheriff of Europe for long enough, we need to concentrate on ourselves now and build for the future. A rocky, uncertain future at that. Imagine the possibilities!

We could concentrate more money on exploring space or send the first manned mission to Mars. We could retake the reigns of our destiny, be at the forefront of innovation and engineering. We need to think bigger. We need to make a mark and set the bar high for our first 5 years out of the EU. We need to reestablish ourselves as one of the biggest wealth creators on the planet, less restriction on the financial sector. We need to be up there with the US, strength breeds competition. You may hate Trump but my god does he create wealth. Something we’ll need plenty of, to pay off all the moaning parties that pout they’re not getting EU funding anymore, which was ours to begin with but that’s besides the point.

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To finish, in the next few weeks we will see what we’re really made of. When it comes down to it, there is only right and wrong. The wrong thing to do is sit idly by as the country comes crashing down around you. The right thing to do is to take ownership and set about putting it right. Is there appetite for a Brexiteer leader inside the Tory party? Probably not, considering the vast swathes of Remain MPs. However, morally is it right that one should be in power? Yes. People that say we’ve wasted all this time, I would be inclined to agree with them for once. But we can put this right by showing support to a true leader of Brexit and of this glorious kingdom. You may hate my political babbling and intellectually lyrical masturbation but you can’t deny, I exude truth. I challenge anyone to explain to me why we shouldn’t have a Brexiteer PM. I challenge anyone who thinks the European Army is a good idea. Finally, I challenge the nay-saying politically morbid and ask them to explain why we can’t make ourselves the benchmark for all growing nations, around the world and be the older brother everyone needs, one that they can look up to.

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Letter of Intent

Good evening,
I’m contacting you this evening in regards to a subject that has effected my life greatly in recent months. I lost my brother to suicide back in February. Rather than wallow in sorrow, I have been racking my brain for ways to make a change and a difference so that there are more preventative measures in place.
The reason I have picked all of you specifically, is the varying degrees of experience and positions. Sir Paul Beresford is my local MP but is also a very long serving and experienced MP, so might have some good contacts in relation to this. Jackie Doyle-Price is Under Secretary of State for Mental Health and Inequalities, I felt this was part of her role as this is aimed directly at this department. Matt Hancock as he is the Health Secretary and that is an all encompassing title, due to Mental Health being at the forefront of debate at this present time. Finally, the Prime Minister because she has the power to make the decision that could save thousands of lives and could use her position to highlight the importance of mental health.
The two ideas that I have come up with are 1. Introduce a phone number dedicated to suicide. I understand there are organisations like CALM and Samaritans, however if you were to ask me their telephone numbers I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head. My idea is to use the number 4357 as it spells out HELP on the keypad of a phone, so is very easy to remember. Considering the way that technology has taken over everyone’s lives, this is a quick and easy way of ensuring you’re never more than a call away from help. Much like the 999 emergency number it’s short and will stick in people’s heads. Also it would free up precious resources in regards to 999 operators not needing to put suicidal people through to police or ambulance services, as the call wouldn’t need to be made, freeing up more time for other important calls. I talk from experience as my father was in the ambulance service for almost 30 years and spent time in the emergency dispatch centre as a child. If the number did ever get used in this way, i’d also like to lobby phone companies to have the number saved in every new handset sold. Slowly but surely our subconscious would know that you’re never truly alone. When someone is so low that they’re contemplating suicide they don’t always think to reach out, searching for numbers online. If the number was already on their phone and they were scrolling through their contacts, wanting to call a friend or family member but scared they might be judged or thought of as crazy, it gives them a quick and easy option to get connected to someone who can help.
2. I wanted to float the idea of creating an app called Buddy. Day in day out, we all ask each other ‘you alright?’. Usually we answer ‘yeah’ or ‘fine’. Even though we might not be as it’s an automatic response. What if there was an app that popped up and messaged you every day, asking ‘how’s your mental state today?’. Ideally programmed like Siri on iPhones, to give positive responses or if someone is really in desperate need of help give them information and direct them to organisations that can help. The fact that it would be an app and taking human interaction out of it to begin with is the key. You’re more likely to open up to a computer that has no preset emotions or preconceptions, judgements or social stigmas attached. Say for example you replied ‘i’m really low, i’m thinking of ending it all’ it would message back with a phone number for Samaritans or a webchat from someone willing to talk. Or if you say ‘i’m depressed’ it would give you a positive response like ‘don’t worry, there’s always help. Here’s a link to CALM, they help similar people who are in the same situation as you’ and give you information about CALM or MIND.
I understand you’re not going to get to everyone but the best thing we can do is try and save as many lives as possible. All of you i’m sure got into politics to make a change or a difference and to help people in some capacity. I don’t completely believe how most politicians are painted to be career politicians and are only in it for the money. I don’t want anything out of this other than to help people like my brother. The app would be free to use and accessible to all. It could be targeted at schools and young people as this is where most of the problems of later life start. My brother had issues in his childhood and turned to hard drugs in his teens, exacerbating his problems and it sent him on a downward spiral to his unfortunate end. Sorry to be morbid but you have to get where i’m coming from.
I also wanted to point towards the manifesto that you got voted in on, which I voted for. You wanted to be at the forefront of the digital age. To do so you must engage with the digital world and especially if you want to get through to younger people, as we have to get through to them on their own level. We can do this by weaponising the very thing they use the most, their phones. This counts as you wanted to ‘transform the management of our digital infrastructure’. Going ahead with these ideas is adding to the digital infrastructure of this country. It will become entrenched in the national psyche with the right campaign. We would also be a leading light in the world in this topic, as I have spoken to a few friends dotted around the globe and for example in Australia it would work too. It could be a universal number for all of the English speaking countries of the world. Something which you alluded to in your manifesto as well in regards to ‘maintaining the historical, cultural and economic ties that link us to our old friends and
allies around the globe’. You also promised ‘We will make the UK the leading research and technology economy in
the world for mental health, bringing together public, private and charitable investment’. We’re all working towards the same end goal of ending social stigma and getting those that need it, the help they deserve.
I hope that you all can agree with me on this and that it heightens the awareness of mental health issues in this country. Nothing could help more at the moment than something like HELP, which becomes a beacon of hope to all silent sufferers across the country and the globe. For once you can take a step towards helping them all, directing and guiding them to the resources we as a nation offer. It would also prove you are doing your upmost to help prevent them from doing anything final. The statistics are frightening enough. We spend plenty of money on trying to save lives conventionally through the NHS and the ambulance service. It’s time for a change of perspective and how we view ‘saving lives’. Maybe an initiative to get all GPs and doctors to have mental health training and understanding of living with the illness. From speaking to others who have used this service, GPs aren’t the most sympathetic bunch. Which I don’t blame them for. If you don’t understand mental illness as you’ve never gone through it yourself, it’s hard to put yourself in those shoes. 
 
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and look forward to hearing what feedback you have and what you have to offer on the subject. Like you say ‘Forward, Together’.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Luke Marriott
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Help.

The world is a different place to me now. Loss is a horrible thing to deal with at the best of times but i’m in a peculiar situation at the moment. My dear brother Tom has taken his own life. Whilst it is still weird and hard to write those words down, they take me to a place in my head where only Tom exists. It’s like a library of thoughts and memories. To miss someone you love is normal but the weird feeling is he’s still here, living on in my memory, a perfect carbon copy of exactly how I remember him. Just like a library I can scroll through and pick out a specific memory and replay it and it’s like he’s still here in the room with me. When I first got the news of Tom’s suicide, I just wanted to pick up the phone to him and hear his voice. I couldn’t process what had happened, as I hadn’t seen his body it’s almost like it wasn’t real in my head. I also had a long period of time where if I tried to think about him, I couldn’t remember what his voice sounded like and that was heartbreaking.

We’re lucky that we live in an age of videos and pictures I suppose, as they act as a kind of therapy for someone in my position. Being able to see and hear someone from beyond the grave is a treasure like no other. It’s surreal to think that this person was here and then suddenly not. It’s more upsetting to me now to think of all the milestones that he’s not going to be here for. He’ll never get to meet my children in the future, no more birthdays or Christmas’ together, no more boy’s day outs, even just sitting watching old films together which was a favourite past time. (Anyone who knows us properly will know that we would usually quote the entire film word for word!) The videos help to re-immerse yourself into their character, little traits or how they laughed, build the picture up clearer in your head, almost as if you have to reconstruct them. It all helps when dealing with something as big as this.

It’s no secret now that Tom struggled with mental health issues for a long time previous to his suicide. The main aim of this post is to open up slightly about what it’s like to be left behind or left in the wake of a suicide. I won’t bamboozle you too much with facts but there are some astounding figures that i’d like to share. 3/4 of all suicides in the UK are male. 3/4. Try to wrap your head around that. Even though statistically, suicides have steadily been decreasing over a number of years, due to more coverage and availability of information, it’s still massively high. The most suicides actually took place in the 40-44 year old age bracket. You could account some of those down to ‘mid-life crisis’ which would still come under mental illness. Mental illness comes in many shapes and sizes, some you can see like Stress and Addiction. Some you can’t like Depression and Social Anxiety. There is a broad spectrum and in varying doses. Just because someone says they’re fine, doesn’t actually mean they are. Almost all of these people suffer in silence, sometimes to avoid becoming a burden to people or maybe because they haven’t even realised they have a problem.

I’ve had plenty of time to process what has happened and have made my peace with it. This was definitely made easier by seeing his body and getting a bit of closure in my head, even though it was a harrowing experience and will stay with me for life. But now that it’s done, I feel that something should be done. All I see in regards to mental health are people raising awareness, which is good. However, i’d like to try and make a change. I don’t want to set a precedent because it’s massively annoying when people jump on bandwagons and in the era of ‘inclusivity’, I don’t want to see my idea twisted and used for other things. I will be writing to my MP and to the Prime Minister to ask for a specific number to be set up that you can call, almost like the emergency number 999. I understand you have people like Samaritans already doing a great job but if you were to ask me their phone number I couldn’t tell you. They should make it short, personally I like the idea of 4357 as it spells out HELP on the keypad, which is easy to remember. With the right education and targeting this could save a huge amount of lives. It would make a statement of intent that we as a nation are taking mental health seriously. It might be a tad too far but i’d like to see the phone companies getting on board too, maybe every phone sold should have 4357 saved in the handset memory/ contacts of every new phone sold. Almost like a constant reminder, because let’s be honest everyone is glued to their phones now and miss out on a lot of social interaction which might be one of the detrimental effects on mental health at present. If you were to have that in your phone always, subconsciously you would know you always have someone to talk to. It might not work but you never know unless you try and it’s worth taking any preventative steps in order to save lives. People that close to suicide might not even be thinking of their phone as they’re so fixated on the here and now and the overwhelming finality of their actions.

Maybe someone should create an app, called Buddy. Almost like a self therapy app. Day in day out, people always ask ‘you alright?’ we go ‘yeah’. Buddy should ask ‘how’s your mental state today?’ as no one ever asks. People with mental issues sometimes will neglect to speak to others in fear of judgement or being labelled crazy. Just knowing that it’s an app, you could almost take the peer pressure out of the situation. Talking to a computer is easier, surely? No social stigma or judgement. It could be programmed much like Siri, but only to give positive answers or links to information for the end user. The next generation are entrenched in the digital world and to get through to them we have to engage on their level. That’s not forgetting older people like myself who thinks the phone number would be enough.

Any feedback on this piece before I write my letters, is welcome.