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Industry Insight

It’s time for a positive outlook. Yes we’re still stuck in lockdown but with the news that the light at the end of the tunnel is edging ever closer, with a ‘loosening’ of the lockdown, it’s time to divert our thoughts to work. I for one, have actually really enjoyed the lockdown period for a number of reasons. I’m an introvert and massively enjoy spending time at home, I have caught up on so much TV and films that I wouldn’t have otherwise, which as a film buff is one of my favourite past times! I have also got to spend an untold amount of time with my one year old and enduring trying to teach him to walk!

When lockdown began, I had worried about my job quite a lot as i’m sure most of us were. Being that I work in the leisure industry and that our core customer base are 55+ year olds. I was unsure back then what the figures of deaths in that core group would be, you would assume quite high as they’re the most vulnerable. Considering Coronavirus hasn’t quite hit us as bad as the scare stories were making out at the beginning, i’m starting to feel a bit more upbeat.

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There are multiple factors for me to feel comfortable about my job now looking forward. My first thought on this is the aviation industry is in massive turmoil. I have first hand experience as i’m still awaiting a refund for our flights to Sweden from Easter! Most of the carriers are being bailed out and won’t be able to fulfill the routes they did pre-lockdown and with most people being put off holidaying in other countries post-lockdown, their next port of call is to holiday in this country. I mean there will be some people who will look to book a cottage and get away which is fine. My attention is drawn to large portion of the public who maybe used to caravan as a child and has fond memories of this. Now imagine they’re at a stage in their life where they could potentially invest in a caravan/motorhome, opening up a new customer demographic to our market, the 55 and under category which to be honest is slim. All indicators point to the long term destruction of the aviation industry, especially if you pay attention to people like Warren Buffet who sold all of his stocks in US airlines in April, not just some, he sold all of his positions on the stock market. Aviation is no longer a ‘sure thing’ in the investment world, pair that with the still grounded fleets and excessive bailouts which will more than likely never be paid back. The entire industry will probably take about 10-15 years to get semi close to it’s previous position, if at all.

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Secondly, the dreaded ‘second spike’ which is expected in the winter. Whilst it’s still a long way off, people might get ahead of the curve now and buy a caravan/motorhome in preparation so they can get away before they can’t get out again. Or for the single use of staying with family further away and being able to stay there but in their own space, rather than be self isolating alone over the winter period. Especially if the house isn’t big enough to put them up, they can just park on the driveway/outside.

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Thirdly, the exciting prospect of actually seeing what this country has to offer. There are so many hidden gems dotted around this country. If you can’t leave the country to your standard destination of say Spain or Greece, then finding a nice campsite near the coast might be a good shout, saves fighting for parking in one of those fields by the beach (even when you leave at the crack of dawn and find everyone else had the same idea!). It’s a long summer holiday if you’ve got kids and being able to see lots of different places by touring the country would be a good way of keeping the kids occupied. It also gives the opportunity for them to learn about different parts of the country and maybe experience different things they might not have usually by going on a ‘package’ holiday. It’s also good to learn about the history of our own country, something the younger generations are seriously lacking! No wonder there is a serious lack of national pride and patriotism is sneered at.

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I think a lot needs to be said and done about the British Isles in many aspects after all of this has calmed down. The first thing needs to be, use what we have here and invest in businesses here not abroad. Whilst it saddens me that we won’t be getting to Greece (my favourite holidaying country by far) and that will harm their country, as they rely heavily on the tourism industry. The money we would be spending on paying for a hotel over there could be spent over here and going back into our own economy, which will be damaged after this. Yes I will imagine that the B&B/hotel owners will be licking their lips and increasing prices exponentially for the foreseeable future, so getting a caravan or motorhome and paying for a pitch/campsite is less, the money you save would obviously be spent in the local community near where you stay on buying supplies. It doesn’t sound like much but if an increased amount of people did it, it would have a knock on effect which would benefit the country as a whole.

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On a side note, I think we should where we can, make an active decision to bin ‘MADE IN CHINA’ and where possible buy products made over here. It would increase productivity and demand for products over here which feeds industry, baby steps but eventually if everyone did it, it would increase how many things are made and decreases the cost. Yes things made over here are more expensive but that’s because they’re not made in sweatshops by 6 year olds and yet again the end goal is to put our money back into our own economy. It’s the little things, for example I now go to the butchers in the next village over to get my meat (mainly due to the supermarkets being bare) but also because it’s so much better! This is a practice I will stick to post lockdown as I have enjoyed it so much. In doing so, i’m doing my bit in keeping a local business up and running which ultimately helps every body. We should be doing everything possible to help each other out and have a more inward look at the situation. We should be looking after our own first and foremost, we have seen an increase in people checking on and helping others out during lockdown, this is just the next step. As they say ‘money talks’.

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Now, i’m not involved in the sales of caravans and motorhomes but they’re not as expensive as you might think. There are some very reasonably priced examples about due to the part timers. The type of people who bought it thinking they’d get out all the time but use it but once a year! They then decide to sell it and it’s hardly been used. The only thing I would suggest is buy it from a main dealer like the one I work for, for the main reason that if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you could buy a right old plum that hasn’t been checked over properly, thinking you’ve got yourself a nice deal. You then get it serviced by a dealer or a one man band and then get very angry and shouty when we explain how much is wrong with it and a price with how much it will take to put right! Believe me, it happens a lot more than you think. Mr ‘I got it off ebay for about two grand less than the others’ which has more than two grand’s worth of damp work needed!

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Other things to look out for are examples made by companies now out of business or been bought out by someone else. My job is the very boring yet delightful world of parts and warranty. After three years everything is outside of warranty apart from the bodywork in regards to water ingress. If the company is no longer, then you won’t have any warranty whatsoever and is not worth having, as there is usually a reason they went out of business in the first place! Also be wary of getting something over ten years old as parts become very hard to get hold of and it’s the worst thing in the world being stuck needing a part that can take up to twenty eight working days to get hold of. This is how I spend most of my days, explaining to customers that the leisure industry is twenty five years behind the motor industry and they just don’t have the space or demand to keep every single part of every model in a warehouse.

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Don’t think I can share much more than that without getting in trouble! The leisure industry has been growing rapidly in recent years and has gotten pretty good coverage, channel five has made a few series called 5 Go Caravanning and a spin off 5 Go Motorhoming, they even came and did filming in our shop (I hid out of shot!). This was unfortunately before we had a massive refurbishment and turned it into the biggest Autosleeper showroom in the country. It looks so much better now, we’ve even got offices now! Anyway, I believe we can push on despite the time we’ve lost already as it’s peak season now. I’m hoping i’m right and there is an increase in the 40-55 year old customer base, as having to deal with the older customers can be very trying at times! It would be good to see some younger faces and to encourage them to get out there. If you look back before people could afford to fly away on holiday, the main source of holidaying was caravanning, this will hopefully stem a new generation of caravan and motorhome lovers.

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If anyone reading has any questions or is interested then feel free to message me. If I can help just one person join the leisure fraternity then my job will be done. Just promise to come and get a service and buy parts from me! As always, thanks for reading if you didn’t fall asleep!

 

 

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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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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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Labour Manifesto Run Through

By now I’m guessing you’ve read the Tory version of this, so you know what to expect, if you haven’t and are just reading this because it’s got the word Labour in it, then this is already lost on you. I’m not here to change minds, just give a clear view of what is on offer. Let’s begin.

I glossed over Corbyn’s foreword as I’m sure much like the Tories, it will be repeated later on. They start by making a pledge of not raising Income Tax for earners below £80,000, not raising National Insurance Contributions or VAT (Pro – a good strong start, Con – I feel as this is ‘fully costed’ they could have left themselves an option for raising capital by maybe omitting National Insurance contributions, so they could change it at a later stage to generate funds for the economy).

They say that Corporation Tax is the lowest in the developed world and that they will ask them to pay a bit more, whilst maintaining we will still be one of the lowest (Pro – generate a fair amount of income for HMRC, Con – if this is true then expect a hike of corporations tax by up to 6%, the average is about 25% with the exceptions of Denmark, Finland and Ireland, what’s to stop these corporations from leaving the financial centre in London? We have already seen it with Google in Ireland whose Corporation tax rate is only 12.5%).

They pledge to eliminate the deficit within 5 years (Con – highly unrealistic and they will be savaged by it in years to come if they get elected, very risky pledge to make).

Creation of the National Transformation Fund, investing £250bn over 10 years to enhance our economy (Con – considering they said this was fully costed the only explanation they give for where this money is coming from is ‘record low interest rates’, doesn’t seem plausible but we’ll carry on and see).

Completion of HS2 (Pro/Con – much like the Tories it’s not costed because the price keeps rising, it will benefit the country to complete this project though and any incumbent government will complete it anyway).

Build a new Brighton main line for the South East (Pro/Con – it’s good to see distribution of wealth in small regions like this, yet I can’t think of what the strategic importance of Brighton is? Surely the money is better spent connecting bigger cities with more to offer?).

They make the same promise as the Tories to roll out super fast broadband and increase 4G coverage across the land (Pro).

Setting out to make 60% of the UK’s energy come from zero carbon or renewable energy sources by 2030 (Pro – this will keep environmentalists on side and is a step towards a cleaner country, Con – yet again probably paid for by more green taxes or levies).

Committing to spending 3% of GDP on Industrial research and development in regards to manufacturing (Pro).

Moving towards a 20:1 gap between highest and lowest paid at boardroom level (Pro).

Creation of a Digital Ambassador to liase and encourage investment and to accommodate easy start ups, to put Britain on the front foot for the future (Pro).

Creation of the National Investment Bank with the lending power of £250bn, bridging the gap where small businesses and projects wouldn’t usually get investment from other banks (Pro – great for the little guy, Con – there’s usually a reason behind people not getting accepted, as the loan is considered too much of a risk and if too many default on their payments then the government will spend even more in trying to recoup the costs).

Re-nationalisation of Royal Mail, Water Companies, Railways and Energy firms (Pro – it would decrease overall spending of the consumer by a large margin, Con – the initial outlay will be immense and a couple of these Royal Mail and Railways won’t be up for sale for a long time).

Energy wise, Homeowners will be given interest free loans to improve their property E.g installing solar panels, double glazing, etc…(Pro).

Ban Fracking (Con – until research is thoroughly conducted as to whether it damages the environment, you shouldn’t rule out a massive untapped market, bad move economically).

Negotiating Brexit – Scrap Conservative White paper and establish new bill that sets out guarantees to workers rights, staying in customs union and Single Market (Big Con – now this is me being unbiased, they quite clearly stated that they respect the decision of the referendum but in the very next sentence set out an aim of basically staying inside the EU? Also a poor negotiating stance, letting the opposition know what you’re going to be negotiating towards, as they won’t let you have it).

Rules out a ‘no deal’ (Big Con – if you can’t get a good deal out of the EU then you have done badly but haven’t failed, a no deal is the last stab in the heart for the EU, as it is more advantageous for us as they buy more from us then we buy from them, levying a 10% tariff on goods through WTO rules is the last thing on the EU’s mind, rest assured they will cave or face the consequences).

They make the same pledges to making sure regions don’t lose our on ‘EU money’ (which was ours anyway) and want to broker peace in Northern Ireland ASAP (Pro).

No ‘hard border’ between Northern and Republic of Ireland post Brexit (Pro – worth mentioning that even though it’s not mentioned in Tory Manifesto this is the broad view of all political parties as it would destabilise the region and create tension unnecessarily).

Giving Parliament the final say on Brexit deal (Con – they can’t be trusted not to derail the process).

Stating Freedom of Movement will end with Brexit (Big Pro).

Put a stop to Overseas only recruitment (Pro).

Committing to taking our fair share of refugees (Big Con – it’s just another way around immigration numbers, also not stating a clear amount).

Commits to rejoining World Trade Organisation rules post Brexit (Pro).

Creation of the National Education Service, free at the point of use ‘from cradle to grave’ (Pro – it’s nice they want to recreate what Clement Attlee did with the health service and do the same with education, Con – however purely because of what Attlee did this isn’t productive or sustainable money wise, look at the NHS budget over the years, there isn’t enough money for it meaning there isn’t enough money for this before it has even started, a great notion and attempt at a long lasting legacy, yet not to be).

Restructuring the support for early years childcare, extend what the Tories offer to 3 and 4 year olds down to 2 year olds as well, making sure affordable childcare is available to everyone, also making some childcare available for 1 year olds and increasing maternity pay to cover 12 months (Biggest Pro on here! Its a big left hook to the Tories chin as I mentioned in the previous Tory Run Through, our childcare system lags far behind others and this is a massive positive step in the right direction, Con – only a slight Con – my optimism is met by my niggling pessimism yet again asking how will you ever pay for it but I’ll let Labour have this one as it’s their best policy I can get behind!).

Reversing cuts in funding to schools and balancing out of redistribution of funds to historically worse off schools (Pro – schools are massively underfunded which has a profound effect on how much they can pay teachers which is why we have a shortage, Con – I’m hoping this fully costed Manifesto has a breakdown of the numbers somewhere near the end, as this is one of many points that I’m yet to see a figure on!).

Reduction in class sizes to less than 30 for five, six and seven year olds (Pro).

Free school meals for all primary school children paid for by removing VAT exemption on private school fees (Pro – finally something costed! It’s a good idea yet, Con – charging some kids for the sake of others doesn’t bode well for someone who claims to be all for equality,  the famous saying ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, this could create a rift in the class system as private school kids look down on others as they’re paying for them, which gives them an air of superiority in some regards, messy business but I agree with it).

Improving children’s mental health by extending school based counselling at a cost of £90m a year (Pro – mental health issues don’t form overnight when you hit your teens, this could have a profound effect on combating mental health issues later in life).

Restoring EMA to lower and medium income teens (Pro).

Abolishing tuition fees for university (Pro – fully support this as no student should be buried in debt upon leaving uni, Con – not costed, sorry I know I’m trying to be unbiased but they shouldn’t have made such a stupid promise of being fully costed, plus if it’s funded by the taxpayer then students will take a lot of heat for basically having uni paid for, so they can go out and get pissed it’s what it used to be like even when it was at £3k!).

Ban zero hours contracts (Con – they work for the people that want them on a flexible basis E.g mums and students, Pro – they’re poor if this the only kind of work you can get).

Ban companies from undercutting British workers by getting foreign workers (Pro – finally a mainstream party eluding to wage compression due to foreign workers/ immigrants!).

Raise minimum wage to £10 ph by 2020 (Pro/Con – made the same point about the Tories and how it creates redundancies).

Banning unpaid internships (Pro – wholly unfair to the intern, Con – position may be outsourced and offered to foreign workers instead).

Double paid paternity leave for new fathers to four weeks (Big Pro).

Scrap the Bedroom Tax (Pro and Con).

Reinstating housing benefit to under 21s (Pro).

Creation of Ministry for Housing which is aimed at dealing with the housing crisis (Con – another waste of resources and another meaningless ministry).

Aim to build 100,000 council and housing association homes in the next parliament (Pro – heed caution every government fails to meet targets of house building, Tories included).

Inflation cap on private renting (Pro).

Free parking in hospitals paid for by increasing the tax of private medical insurance premiums (Pro).

Scrap NHS pay cap and have it run by an independent pay review body (Pro – healthcare professionals need a well earned pay rise for such a demanding job, Con – more needs to be done to cut out bureaucracy and middle managers as they will be the ones to profit from pay increases, which isn’t fair on nurses who deserve it more).

Reintroduction of bursaries for nursing degrees (Pro – however not costed).

An extra £30bn in funding for NHS paid for by taxing the top 5% of earners, increasing tax on private insurance and halving the fees to management consultants (Pro – may not be as clear cut as that, top 5 % of earners may bugger off to Switzerland and take their money with them, then you’d have a massive black hole in your NHS budget, be careful using the NHS as a political football!).

Introduction of a National Care Service with an increase to social care spending to the tune of £8bn over the next parliament (Con – it’s a nice idea, but realistically they say it’s budget will be pooled within the overall NHS budget which is unpredictable and technically uncosted, hate to say as I’m trying to give Labour a fair review here but they’re letting themselves down).

Labour want to increase police officer numbers by 10,000 (Con – I have to bring up that shameful Diane Abbott interview in which she couldn’t come up with a number of how much it will cost so not likely to happen!).

500 more Border Force operatives (Con – uncosted, this is getting boring now!).

3000 more firefighters (Con – yep you guessed it uncosted, this is hard to stay unbiased as Labour are shooting themselves in the foot, why spout rhetoric of a fully costed Manifesto and then not expect people to read it!).

Wish to retain Human Rights Act (Con – would much prefer to scrap it and introduce a Bill of Rights with the main parts of Human Rights E.g right to a fair trial etc…enshrined into it, but to make it easier to deport criminals to free up our overcrowded and underfunded prison system).

3000 more prison guards (Con – After stating that prisons are overcrowded and staffing levels are too low, they yet again haven’t costed this).

There is a section on transport and Railways but going back to my previous point of them not being able to do anything until they have bought it back, makes it an irrelevant point at the moment and I won’t include it as to stay impartial.

Striving for a transport network with zero deaths and reintroducing Road safety targets (Big Con – setting themselves a completely unrealistic and unachievable target is narrow minded and in doing so bringing back Road safety targets, which promotes use of speed cameras and lowering of speed limits which I definitely can’t back!).

They try and take a dig at the Tories about not having a clue about farming and fishing policy, yet I have quite clearly made the point in my previous run through, unsound, unnecessary and flawed rhetoric. (Con).

They make the same point of creating a Blue Belt but only state around the UK and not inclusive of our Overseas Territories (Pro/Con – pipped to it by the Tories).

Banning pesticides that kill bees as soon as we’re out of EU same as Tories (Pro).

Maintain Ban on foxhunting (Pro/Con).

There is a section about Creativity and the Arts and lots of promises about funds, yet no costs so I’m not going to entertain the idea of sifting through these policies as they have holes in them, so in the interest of being balanced I shall move on.

They come out in support of the BBC which is a big turn off for voters, it’s quite apparent that the TV licence will be cut or scrapped altogether in the not too distant future, which I fully support as the continuing left bias of the BBC is frustrating considering we pay for it. Maybe they should have advertising of only British products to promote our industries? Who knows! Plus they covered up Saville, hey ho moving on.

In the next section they admit a desire for a more federalistic state, which I knew they’d cram in somewhere with Corbyn being a massive Republican (Big Con).

Reduce the number in the House of Lords and make them elected (Pro/Con – too many Lords don’t do their job and turn up just to get paid an allowance which is a total abuse of the system, plus it’s an unrepresentative cross section who get picked. Though constitutional reform on this scale will be met with a backlash, as the actual Lords that have got there for being an expert in their field and have an valuable insight into their field will be lost).

Lower the voting age to 16 (Big Con – politics isn’t even taught in schools at this point and is dangerous to add this demographic to the voting register, regardless of your counter argument it’s irresponsible).

They don’t support a second Scottish referendum (Pro).

However, they go on to say they will increase funds to them which deletes the point of having the Barnet formula and I also agree with the Tories that given the devolved powers over taxation, they’re lagging behind and don’t warrant that much funding. (Con).

There’s a lot of waffle in this Manifesto, more so than the Tories, which I didn’t think was possible yet there’s 128 pages in this compared to the 88 of the Tories, although every 3-4 pages there’s a picture or blank page.

Next they take a stab at the Tories for rolling back gender equality for women, bit of a retarded statement from a party that’s never had a female leader, yet the Tories have had two female Prime Ministers, your point is imvalid and redundant. (Big Con).

They go on a big about LGBT and racism, stating they’re against antisemitism, yet Ken Livingstone has only been suspended for antisemitic remarks not permanently suspended, one rule for you, one rule for others? Contradictory (Con).

In a section named diplomacy they quite clearly state they’re opposed to the current US administration and that the special relationship is only based on shared values, which is unreasonable and unstatesman like. As PM he says he will exhaust all diplomatic services with nations, yet isn’t willing to get along with our closest ally for the good of our countries, even Theresa May got on with him for fuck sake. (Big Con – unnecessary).

They support a two state system in Israel for Palestine which is yet again unrealistic, however we’re uniquely involved as we caused this problem in the first place, however taking into account what happened in WW2 and the persecution of the Jews, they deserve a state of their own so that they don’t have to run or escape persecution ever again. Yet again I will side with our Israeli allies anytime (Con).

They believe that diplomatic dialogue with North Korea is needed to diffuse the situation in the peninsula (Pro/Con – could go either way).

Committed to spending 2% of GDP on defense as part of NATO obligations (Pro).

Now Corbyn’s biggest weak point, even though in the Manifesto it states they commit to renewing Trident after his calamitous answers to the audience in the leaders debate, no one can actually believe anything he says about Trident as he wouldn’t actually ever use it (Biggest Con – like I said weakest point, you couldn’t feel safe under Corbyn).

A good point on defense, he’d commit to procuring British Steel and using it in the manufacturing of defense equipment (Pro).

Finally they commit 0.7% of GDP to ‘international development’ which is a fancy way of saying foreign aid (Con – money better used elsewhere like on all of the uncosted pledges that I have picked out!).

I will give this Manifesto a 6.5 out of 10, you might be puzzled by this as I found so much wrong with it, yet on balance they had some strong ideas that I agree with, there are only three major sticking points for me. Obviously the notion that this was fully costed, if they didn’t shout about it so much this would have been on par with or just behind the Tories. Secondly, the unnecessary swipe at Trump which had nothing to with the election in general dented his credentials as a world leader. Finally, it has to be the weak stance on Trident, it really was the nail in the coffin for Labour, especially after the Diane Abbott debacles!

All I have to say is that I wrote these as a helpful guide for people, if you disagree with my unbiased view then the actual Manifesto is readily available and you can see it for yourself. I have nothing to gain by not stating facts, bear in mind I support neither of these parties! I hope this was…educational. As ever, thank you for reading!

 

 

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Conservative Manifesto Run Through

This is the first of 3 Manifesto Run Throughs that I will be penning before the election, as ever I will endeavour to stay unbiased as to give a representative and balanced view of each Manifesto, to give credit where credit is due and to pinpoint inaccuracies in them. I shall begin with the Tories as they’re the governing party at this moment in time.

Their first main point is Strong and Stable leadership, as I’m sure you’ll have heard this slogan by now. This has received plenty of negative press so I shall give a balanced outlook, what I think they’re trying to get across is that in this massive transitional period for our country, we need stability and certainty, this would only be achieved (in their eyes) by keeping the status quo and re-electing the Conservatives, so that the negotiating team in place can get to work as soon as possible in securing an amicable split from the European Union.

The next points they make are the big challenges that face them. The first being a strong economy, which to be fair the Conservatives have done a fairly good job at creating. Unemployment figures are down, economic forecasts are positive and investment post Brexit looks to boom. This is not to say that massive cuts have had to occur and hit some demographics hard and increased the need for food banks, but on balance the public spending of Labour was unsustainable and needed cutting as the Tories were left in a ridiculous amount of debt.

Their second point is about Brexit and the need for a smooth and orderly exit from the union. Also to try and create a deep and strong rooted relationship with the remaining EU nations, which personally I think there has been a massive irreparable rift caused, this spawning from our own interests and the jealousy of the other nations who secretly crave self determination. They also make a good point of stating we need to stay strong and united, aimed at the United Kingdom as a whole, in contrast to the Republican views of Corbyn who would like to see the split of the UK. Now is definitely the time to stay together and I like to see this message staged in this point.

The third point they make is to fight enduring social divisions. This is mainly made out to be about social mobility and making sure people aren’t held back by where they come from or where they’re born. I think it’s also aimed at second generation immigrant votes, the Tories try to include them as historically they don’t pick up those votes. I also think it’s aimed at people who will be here post Brexit and saying that as long as you work hard you have a place here. Even though they haven’t given a guarantee on it yet, I think this will be one of the easiest bargaining chips we have in the negotiations.

The fourth point acknowledges the ageing population and people with long term health conditions, expressing the need to find a solution and accepting the reality of it.

The final big point is looking at innovative technology and being at the forefront of the technological wave. I think this is wise as there’s a lot of wealth to be created from this industry and is still in its infancy (relatively) in the grand scale of things. It points out the need to staying safe and secure in regards to privacy, which is quite contradictory, being that civil liberties and privacy in regards to technology have slowly eroded under the Tories and so much privacy has been lost online. This was overseen by the Tories and it’s a slight slap in the face to include that.

The Manifesto then goes onto separate sub headings outlining viewpoints and the direction of the party and what they expect to achieve. They start by stating they want to govern from the mainstream, they believe they can be the central party and govern on behalf of the majority of the electorate, by making decisions in the interests of everybody, which in itself gives off a conflicted viewpoint. You can’t please everybody and not everyone will agree on things, I understand we live in a divided nation currently and maybe this is their way of trying to combat this but by contradicting yourself is not a good start. They believe they can bridge the gap between left and right, which is a risky statement as you can end up alienating your core supporters, whilst losing the undecided voters by sounding wishy-washy. They say they’ll reduce and control immigration, which yet again is a risky pledge considering Cameron made the same one and failed on a monumental scale. They want to defend our nation from terrorist threats which is a double edged sword, as on the one hand yes I fully believe them but on the other, funding has steadily been cut to our police over the period of Tory rule. Yet they were cuts that needed to be made, I return to my earlier point of labour’s massive budget of public spending (and borrowing) and having no way of paying it back. Whilst I understand the police forces of this country are stretched, you can only spread out the funding you have. Yes they could free up extra capital by scrapping the foreign aid budget but lefties won’t accept that or the notion that in order to pay for something you have to take money away from something else. Our budget is finite. Unless you borrow money like Labour and then you get stuck in the cycle all over again.

They wish to protect workers rights and develop industrial strategy to work better in favour of the economy. Finally in this section they state that they won’t drift to the right and make decisions based on what works, which is refreshingly realistic.

Their next point is the age old adage of governing in the interests of ordinary, hard working families which has become a catchphrase for all political parties as trying to project an air of caring for Joe bloggs and his family, and aiming themselves at a majority of the electorate. Boring, NEXT! The next passage just rearranges and reiterates all of the previous points to try and drum it into the reader, which is understandable if you want to learn what they actually stand for as most people you ask on the street wouldn’t be able to tell you the differences of what the major parties even stand for anymore.

The next section is entitled Our Principles, where they try and rebrand what it means to be a Tory, which is a massive turn off for people with traditional conservative views. They establish a notion that people owe a debt to the community and society which I’m at odds with, whilst I understand they’re trying to convey an expectation of a strong work ethic, I don’t think we’re born into debt with our nation. We’re born free.

They then set out how they’re going to achieve these goals in greater detail which I have no desire to deconstruct as I’m currently on my honeymoon, so I shall simply bulletpoint these with a brief explanation and whether it’s a pro or con for voting.

Keeping taxes as low as possible – freezing VAT (pro – goods and products won’t increase in price for consumers), increase personal allowance to £12500 (pro – relieving £2500 taxable income for lower earners), local residents can opt out of high increases of Council Tax via a referendum (con – too vague, if they slowly increase it, it won’t be classed as high increase so no basis for referendum), Corporation Tax to fall to 17% (pro – actively seeking inward investment from overseas post Brexit is a good think ahead however, Con – Labour have applied pressure to big corporations and called them out for not paying their fair share, so won’t sit well with low earners or students who don’t understand basic economics).

Increasing Trade – Lodging new schedules for the UK with WTO (pro – looking ahead post Brexit we’re going to need trade schedules in place to ensure a smooth exit and to strike free trade deals around the world and become a stronger trading nation BIG PRO), Creating a network of 9 trade commissioners to promote trade abroad and increase trade between the members of the UK (pro – self explanatory), push forward with UK export finance (pro – ensuring that no viable UK export fails due to lack of finance or insurance).

Wages – Increasing the National Living Wage to 60% of median earnings by 2020 (Con – this will back fire massively, as wages increase so will the number of redundancies as companies can’t afford to employ as many people, which in turn increases workload for workers, unsustainable).

Modern Business Strategy – Freeing up funds for research and development in fields of future technology e.g batteries for electric cars (pro – this will keep people on side who believe in renewable energy, Con – we don’t know where these funds will come from, most likely through Green levies or taxing the current motorist more. Which I can’t get behind!), A modern technical education for everyone (pro – any education made available can create social mobility, Con – being traditional I’d prefer that people are still taught in the old school way, as we can’t be reliant on technology for everything).

National Productivity Investment Fund – £23bn set aside to enhance certain infrastructures, £740m on digital infrastructure, big increase in spending on railways (no figure attached provably because of HS2) £1.1bn on local transport and £250m on productivity skills enhancement (pro – I believe that the money is well spent in this venture as the Tories are trying to keep with the times, you can guarantee part of the digital infrastructure includes rolling out super fast broadband everywhere in the UK).

Future Britain Fund – holding investments of the British people to go towards future funding of infrastructure and the economy, made up of profits of shale gas extraction, dormant assets and the sale of some public assets (Pro – if they can research shale gas and it doesn’t harm the environment then good, Con – selling off public assets automatically makes you think of parts of the NHS like buildings and equipment).

Support for industy – After Sir John Parker’s review of shipbuilding there will be a push for modernising and revitalising the shipbuilding industry (massive pro – we used to be world leaders in shipbuilding, creation of jobs all over the country E.g Clyde, Barrow, Portsmouth).

Support for Farming Industry – Grow more, sell more and export more post Brexit (Pro – on the face of it the notion is great as I live in the countryside and support our farmers, Con – yet they expect more but state they’ll give the same amount of cash to aid development, you can’t expect more for the same amount of investment, it’s unrealistic).

A Free Vote on Fox Hunting (Pro and Con).

Clearly setting out to leave the Common Fisheries Policy and exercise our control of our sovereign waters (Biggest Pro on here! No legal uncertainty will be made during negotiations, this is not up for debate! Preserving and increasing the fish stock which has been overfished under the EU’s common fishing policy, which introduced quotas and have depleted our fish stock, massively looking forward to our thriving fishing industry in the future).

Completely ruling out a divisive Scottish referendum and pointing out that regardless of the devolved powers given to Scotland, they’ve squandered growth potential and have lagged behind (Pro – nothing else needs to be added!).

As part of infrastructure investment, bringing Welsh railways up to speed (Pro – massively overdue, Con – Plaid Cymru will say money better spent on Welsh NHS, which is a fair observation).

Look to re-brokering a power sharing deal in Northern Ireland as soon as possible (Pro).

UK Shared Prosperity Fund – Replaces the funding sent from EU (which was our money in the first place) and redistributes it accordingly with consultation between Westminster and other devolved powers (Big Pro – shuts up all the Remainers moaning about ‘lost EU money’).

The Great Repeal Bill – EU law will be enshrined into UK law, so no rights are lost overnight, yet it gives parliament the right to amend, repeal or improve any piece of these laws. It also gets rid of the ball ache of sorting out 41 years worth of laws, we can slowly over time strip all the unsavoury laws out of our law. (Pro – get overall power of our legislature back and Human Rights Act will be reconstructed after formally leaving the EU, Cons – it’s a time consuming exercise, we’d still be signed up to ECHR for the next parliament, which I oppose massively but it’ll be reviewed in 2022).

In conjunction with our Overseas Territories, create a Blue Belt and aid conservation by creating the largest marine sanctuaries in the world (Pro for anyone in the world).

Continue commitment of 2% of GDP to defense as part of NATO obligations (Pro – normal humans like to be safe, Con – if you’re a Stop The War supporter or pacifist), (lol).

£178bn spread over a decade on strengthening our depleted Royal Navy, by building new vessels in conjunction with rejuvenated shipyards up and down the country (Pro – Brittania rules the waves).

An introduction of no payment of employers contributions of National Insurance for a year, if they take on an Ex-serviceman/woman (Pro – finally beginning to look after our serviceman upon leaving the forces, Con – too little too late).

Reducing the number of MPs to 600 (Pro – the chamber is far too crowded, Con – this lends itself more to the FPTP ‘first past the post’ system).

They promise to retain FPTP (Con – Proportional Representation is a more realistic and representative system and ensures as many people’s views are heard, it would also end the monopoly of the two party system, which is why the Tories and Labour will never back it, as it’s not in their interests).

The reintroduction of Grammar Schools (Pro – increases social mobility immensely so that kids from disadvantaged backgrounds get a better education based on their skills and attainment, Con – funding for the education system is already poor so it begs the question where is the money coming from, it also leaves behind the children in state schools of mixed abilities, where they won’t mix with smarter children who boost attainment figures of state schools, meaning a drop in ofsted standards nationwide).

Cutting student loan repayments for teachers in their first year to encourage them to stay in the profession (Pro – it’s a start, however looking at the research, teachers in general can find easier jobs for more money elsewhere so aren’t incentivised to stay anyway).

Centralising all teaching jobs to a single jobs portal much like NHS jobs (Pro – it increases the effectiveness of getting current teachers into vacancies, Con – there is already a teacher shortage and I reiterate my previous point about teachers finding jobs elsewhere).

Cutting of free school lunches to most children in the first three years of primary school (Pro – they will receive free breakfast instead and low income students still receive free lunches, Con – very reminiscent of the ‘milk snatcher’ Thatcher!).

Introduction of T-levels, a technical qualification equivalent to A-levels will most likely replace BTEC, which includes three month work placement as part of the course (Pro).

Breaking down barriers to public sector jobs based on attainment E.g teaching assistants can become teachers through an apprenticeship degree, healthcare professionals can do the same to become nurses (Pro – it eliviates the shortage of teachers and nurses, Con – have you ever had to live off apprentice wages?).

Reintroduction of pledge to decrease immigration to tens of thousands (Pro – After Brexit we should have full control of immigration and should for once be achievable, Con – Cameron made this pledge and failed massively with net migration ballooning, troublesome waters for Tories).

Further cultural integration through schools (Pro – forcing schools with one predominant race, culture or religion to teach basic British values regardless, to ease social cohesion, Con – too little too late, why hasn’t this been the pre existing building block to interracial cohesion for the last 60 years, since mass immigration started?).

There is a section regarding combating Islamic extremism which doesn’t outline how to root out and defeat it (Con).

Audit of gender and racial pay gaps in the workplace (Pro/Con – can lead to disharmony in the workplace and start on down the slippery slope of quotas rather than merit based advancement, which doesn’t help anyone).

Over the next parliament extend funding to mental health by an extra £1bn (Pro/Con – throwing money at things doesn’t automatically fix them, they need to improve diagnosis and speed of people being seen and treated, too many people suffer in silence in fear of not being believed, I have seen this first hand).

Ban letting agents fees (Pro).

Increase in NHS spending by £8bn over next 5 years (Pro).

In negotiations with EU try and ensure the 140,000 NHS workers from the EU can stay post Brexit to continue their essential work (Pro).

Government building new homes on its own property as part of its plan to build 1 million homes by 2020 (Pro/Con – it’s good they’re addressing the issue but it could include building on NHS land, the sooner they can address the real root cause which is immigration, the better).

30 hours of free childcare for every 3 and 4 year old (Pro – it’s a start, Con – we’re so behind other nations in this aspect, looking forward at the ageing population and the eventual need to replenish the population, the government need to be making childcare almost free until school age, we need to reward the people adding to our society by making having children affordable, they wonder why birth rates are so low!).

By the end of the year, 19 out of 20 premises will have access to super fast broadband in conjunction with their detailed digital plan (Pro – I’m still waiting at home for this, one of the last areas on the list I’m guessing!).

Introduction of comprehensive relationship and sex education to primary and secondary school students to include cyber bullying and online grooming (Pro – a realistic and important step in protecting our children online and in the real world, Con – weirdly still a hotly contested subject, some parents still don’t feel comfortable with their primary school age children learning about sex and needing to protect their innocence, maybe a minimum age should be introduced maybe 8 or 9?).

A random one but one with great potential, the digital amalgamation of HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, Valuation Office Agency, Hydrographic Office and Geological Survey to provide the most comprehensive map of the UK (Pro – can be used for more efficient planning of housing and creating digital maps of our land, this also creates an innovative tool for video games developers in making real world UK games, GTA London remake anyone?! Big Pro).

Overall I rate this Manifesto a very modest 8 out of 10. Very comprehensive and set out a detailed plan for governing our country. I felt it could have been shorter than 88 pages, as on more than one occasion it felt like they were repeating the same points. I also felt that on balance their Cons were easily avoidable but like I said, you can’t please everybody!

I hope this cuts through media bias and gives you the basic outline of what the Tories wish to achieve, parallel to this I will now write up the run through for the Labour party. Thank you for reading!

 

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Brace Yourselves, Elections Are Coming.

So it’s time for all of the ‘part-time’ politicians to crawl out of the woodwork to display their ‘superior’ opinion, in a field they have suddenly become experts in. That’s right you guessed it, it’s election time. It’s all much of the same. Millennials spouting nonsense about Labour and how they can change the country and stop Brexit. But it’s hard to see why? All of the things they fight for, were things that Labour messed up in the first place? They crippled the country and forced us into a recession, or have they forgotten this? Oh wait they were still in school, where frankly there isn’t any politics being taught (a major issue) and any political leanings are from Liberal teachers. The thing is, I remember the country under a Labour government. These youngsters sing it’s praises, yet all of the major players in the Labour party now try to distance themselves from that era. They wanted to try and take the party away from ‘Blairite’ or ‘Brownite’, as ultimately it was dividing the party, not nearly as much as now though. The difference is that under New Labour, they had an identity. Something they massively lack now, as the disconnect between the core labour voters and MPs couldn’t be at further ends of the scale. They voted in huge numbers to make Corbyn leader but the party’s own MPs could see that his brand of Labour, can’t sustain an offensive attack on the Tories. It’s too busy licking it’s wounds from the civil war that erupted not long ago. The in-fighting that was created by the very people that want to get the party into power.

You may think i’m having a dig at Labour here and think this is unfair, yet I will explain the same thing about UKIP. You see it all boils down to one thing, a party is nothing without a leader. Now, Paul Nuttall is a good leader of UKIP, i’ve always liked him and believed he performs well in the spotlight. Yet the big problem facing UKIP is that he ISN’T Nigel Farage. Love him or hate him, he was a proper leader. When you’re a face of a party, you project certain things about the party, a lot of people get behind that and got behind Farage as a result of that. He was the main reason that UKIP got 3.8 million votes in the last general election. He’s a skilled orator and performed immensely well in the debates and interviews for the election and before the referendum as well. People endear themselves to strong leaders and are more likely to vote for a strongly principled leader. Now before you liken that statement to Corbyn i’ll explain, yes on the one hand he’s strongly principled and stands for something but on the other he lacks the real leadership qualities of Farage. He can barely run his party let alone a country, whereas Farage had an iron-like grip of his party and all the ins and outs of it. This is one of the main reasons that Theresa May has opted for the ‘strong and stable’ slogan.

Onto the Tories, who look set to gain a large majority from this election. I’d be surprised if they didn’t as they have the upper hand and the element of surprise. Although, only time will tell if it was a political masterstroke. The timing couldn’t have been better, with the ‘opposition’ if you can call it that, completely in disarray and with no chance or time to come up with a reasonable campaign to fight the Tories with, we expect a wipeout. Yet I don’t think it’s that clear cut. All of the projections show that Labour are going to get wiped out and that the Tories will amass a majority of the likes of Thatcher, yet these are the same projections that got the referendum wrong and the last general election wrong too. The Tories will win yes, there is no doubt, and yes they will have a stronger majority, however I don’t think it will be as big as they hope it will be. There will still be the people that vote Labour because they always have and the added element of youth who seem to be in love with Corbyn for whatever reason, they don’t quite have the numbers to bring down the Tories or even get close though. Even with some hashed together coalition with the Lib-Dems or SNP.

I don’t even need to take a dig at the Lib-Dems anymore, they do it to themselves. Tim Farron got himself all caught up in the simplest of rules. Don’t mix politics and religion. The gay sex is a sin thing is cringeworthy at best. Even though he came out and said it wasn’t, the fact that he dodged the questions for literally years, leads you to believe otherwise and if you have created that doubt in the potential voters minds then you have already lost. The only people to successfully mix the two, have done so in baby steps and haven’t rammed it down your throat. Blair ‘came out’ as a Catholic but did so when he already had a grasp of the political landscape and was cemented in power. Theresa May has done the same, she’s in power now and had overwhelming support from her MPs in the leadership contest, she’s done the whole I pray to god and all that. But that was it, nothing more nothing less.

The SNP are the ones set to lose the most in this election. I think the Scottish Tories will stage a large comeback as the SNP are a massive single issue party and it’s wearing a bit thin. Especially as Sturgeon has been told in no uncertain terms that a referendum is definitely not on the cards in the near or distant future. Now they seem like a dog without it’s teeth, they will lose a substantial amount of seats. UKIP lost their only MP and without Farage standing have zero chance of getting another elected. They will probably get about 2.5 million votes (myself included) but largely in pockets and with no real power, you might think this is wishful thinking due to the local elections but to be fair local elections are completely different and have no standing in comparison to a proper election. I have to admit, I didn’t even vote in the local elections (partly due to not having time) but I don’t think I would have done anyway. The reason i’m still voting UKIP in the GE is due to the MP that stands in my constituency Sir Paul Beresford. His voting record is poor with plenty of absences, he was part of the expenses scandal by claiming his dental practice as his second home and getting 3/4 of his running costs paid for by the taxpayer, claimed to be eurosceptic but voted to remain and is just an all round dick. Okay so mine is an isolated (but valid) reason for voting UKIP, but I still think their presence is needed. If the Tories get too much of a majority there is the slight chance that we get a softer brexit which we definitely don’t want. I would like to see one UKIP MP so that there is a voice of the true leavers in the house, as I think that massive backsliding could begin to creep through as the house would be full of yes men (and women) who follow the PM on everything. Especially if she tries to take the easy route out and makes a shit deal with the EU, I still firmly stand by the notion of a hard brexit being better than a watered down deal.

That is Theresa May’s downfall and the only chink in her armour. The fact that she flipflopped from Remain to Leave. Some calling it pandering to the masses but she needs to keep in mind what is best for the country for a long time to come, rather than point scoring and political posturing. There are simple red lines that can’t be crossed, no money will be paid to the EU upon exit (apart from money already set aside for schemes we have supported and voted on), no free movement of people (apart from the border in Northern Ireland and fast tracked visas), reinstate our territorial waters and fishing grounds. If the EU won’t let go of these then hard brexit is the only option for this country. This was one of the main reasons that she called an election in the first place, so that she could have full autonomy on proceedings and negotiations. I think that people are taking this election out of context and actually think it’s to do with policies, which it really isn’t, as most pledges as you know go out of the window when somebody is in power. I’ll run through a list of key points from each party to try and give a better more impartial scope of what’s on offer in this election, however I shall write a more comprehensive list when all the manifestos have been released.

 

Tories

Pros: Scraping of ECHR & ECJ and reclaim the power for our courts, the re-introduction of grammar schools, no increase in VAT, bringing back fox hunting is both a pro and con, investment in businesses will sky rocket after brexit which is usually good for wealth creation which Tories are good at, increase in living wage.

Cons: NHS spending/staffing/pay structures are constantly under fire no matter who is in power, Education system is facing a massive blackhole funding and staffing wise, continued degradation of citizens privacy rights, bringing back fox hunting (animal rights activists won’t like this), continued excessive spending in regards to foreign aid.

 

Labour

Pros: Capping of household energy bills, tuition fees abolished, pay cap for NHS workers scrapped, unpaid internships scrapped (pro and con), employers stopped from only recruiting overseas, increase in living wage, no raising in income tax (earners below £80k), rent capped to rate of inflation, keep defence spending at 2% of GDP, ban fracking (pro and con).

Cons: Ban fracking (if proved safe and not in a greenbelt area could benefit the country), soft deals on brexit and no hard brexit option, no scrapping of ECHR or EU law, increased borrowing to pay for the NHS, creation of NHS excellence (a regulator that is paid for from tax payers money), unpaid internships scrapped (might dissuade big businesses from giving graduates a ‘foot in the door’), excessive hounding of big companies to pay more tax might force them elsewhere which is unwise post-brexit, unobtainable house building targets and more borrowed money to pay for it, lowering the voting age to 16, they say they’ll renew trident but he’s shown his support against renewal, unobtainable increase in police officer numbers (as seen from Diane Abbott).

There’s no point in listing all of the parties at the moment as I said i’d do a full analysis when the manifestos are officially released. That’s a basic snapshot of what will be picked up on in the papers, debates and interviews over the coming weeks. I try my best to stay impartial when I list facts and will continue to do so, as I have shown in my previous posts that I don’t feel I can persuade anyone anyway and would rather you come to you your own conclusions, this is no different. I respect that we live in a democracy and that we should have an open playing field in regards to politics, it may be a mismatch in regards to Labour but it should be an open debate with no shutdowns. This is an occurring theme from the left that I despise and I personally call on them to have a rational debate this time, because every time you shout ‘racist’ or ‘fascist’ you’re giving the Tories one more voter at a time. It’s like having a fight and punching yourself in the face, it’s time to grow up and argue your point like an adult. I will as always, be here waiting for you.

Thanks for reading!

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In the Heart of the Beast

I’ve been doing some reading this week as I’ve been off with the flu. With the biggest talking point being the triggering of Article 50 and the final days before Brexit officially starts, I decided to read about the origins of this hideous institution. I came at it from the angle of the Remainers who cling so dearly to this ideology of ‘freedom’. I’ve already been down the road of attacking the EU as a system and for having poor democratic value. I’ve attacked the individuals in charge, the fear-mongering, the poor displacement of funds, the links with Goldman-Sachs and the Schengen Area. So I’ve decided to go back to the very beginning and attack the root core of this whole thing.

I start with a name unknown to me until now but after reading most of what I can about him, it is obvious he was the mastermind behind the EU all the way back in the 1920s. I’ve talked about Robert Schuman before who I thought was one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the EU, which he was. However, the real mastermind that i’m talking about was Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi (from now I shall refer to him as RVCK). He was the original driving force behind European integration, the failed project we see today. His name might be recognised by those of you that enjoy conspiracy theories, as he was a member of the Freemasons and also had links with the Rothschild Family.

A short summary is that he was the opposite of Hitler but had the same end goal. Mein Kampf was released in 1925, as was Kampf um Paneuropa (RVCK’s vision of a unionised Europe). It’s well known of Hitler and his fear of the Russian Bear which is why throughout the 30s, anti-Russia rhetoric was at it’s most volatile and eventually why Nazi Germany expanded East in it’s search for Lebensraum. However, RVCK played on the same fear-mongering (much like the EU is now) warning of a Russian invasion if they didn’t come together and create a European defensive alliance. This, I feel is the last obstacle for the EU. You only have to look back a matter of months in the aftermath of Brexit when there was talk of a European Army. He also states the other two reasons behind a European Union.

“The danger of European war of extermination can only be averted by a pan-European agreement to arbitrate; the risk of Russian rule can only be averted by a pan-European defensive alliance; the risk of economic
ruin can only be averted by a pan-European Customs Union.”

He was right in a sense. Little did he know that inside 20 years, a war of extermination did break out, but it was his opposite number Hitler who was the aggressor. But rather than an extermination of Europeans, Hitler targeted Jews, Gays, Gypsys etc… The last point ignites the humorous and cynical side of me, ‘the risk of economic ruin can only be averted by a pan-European Customs Union’, if he was alive today i’d like him to visit Greece or Spain and tell me how it works so well for them. I know the Euro has a lot to do with it as well but it seems so ironic. Hitler knew of RVCK and famously branded him a ‘bastard’.

One of my favourite parts that i’d like to share with the Remainers is this passage.

“Russia and England are Paneuropa neighbors. These two empires are viable even without Europe – while the remaining States of the Hemisphere are connected by their geographic location common destiny; condemned, either jointly basis to go – or resurrected together.”

There is my case for our self determination. We were never in the plans for the EU from day one, they recognised us as a self sustaining nation.

“From many sides, the inclusion of England is required in the future Pan. This claim fails because of the construction of the British Federal Empire. Never the Dominions would tolerate that England swing to another state system into closer relationship as to them; so that is the connection of the English kingdom of Pan-Europa obsolete. The connection of the British Empire Federal Pan-Europa to lapses by the impossibility to transform Canada into a European state. The consequence of this challenge
in America would be the connection of Canada in the Pan American Union and the disintegration of the British Empire.”

It was only after the fall of the Empire and Ted Heath tricking the public into thinking it was in our common interest for us to join. Plus he raised a good point that members of the commonwealth wouldn’t have accepted our involvement, which in relation to one of my previous posts ( https://gunnerlukey.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/the-movement/ ) should lead to us building a good healthy relationship with the remaining commonwealth nations, that the Queen is still a Head of State of. Once we finally leave of course.

There’s a few more things i’d like to brush upon. The most revealing point in my eyes is his affection for world domination and trying to create a Europe that vies for power as a 5th world power. No matter under what banner, whether it be for peace or freedom, if the writer is pushing for more than that then he’s just power hungry, much like Hitler. The similarities between RVCK’s description of Europe and Hitler’s of Germany after the Treaty of Versailles are close. They both felt that they were wounded and weak and both feel the desire to convey prosperity through unified work. Albeit on two different ends of the scale under different banners, yet still so remarkably the same. The only difference is RVCK is asking for it, Hitler wants to take it aggressively with power. Hitler did what he does best and banned the PanEuropa Movement when he came into power, thus eliminating any opposition to his plans. I can’t help but feel if the shoe was on the other foot and PanEuropa gained momentum earlier like Nazism that we’d still be looking back at a catastrophic war. You know what they say though, once a massive evil is banished it only leaves behind a vacuum.

“The old Europe had world domination. Outwardly sure it could afford the luxury of internal wars without danger to life. In the twentieth century that European world domination collapsed. Asia awoke under Japanese leadership. America outperformed all European states, Russia has been solved by the introduction of the Sovietism of Europe, England has come from a major European power to head an intercontinental world power whose focus is in the Indian Ocean. This growing organization of the non-European world into mighty empires is the growing disorganization of the European World over. Here the fragmentation has made further progress by the war. In Central Europe, two Great Powers fell to a number of smaller states to make room. So Europe is forced out of the center of the world, once the subject of world politics – it has become their object: weakened, wounded, destitute, torn. A recovery of European world domination is impossible; but it is possible, by combining the European
States to unite this continent, as a fifth world power and save the peace, freedom and prosperity of Europeans”

RVCK played the long game. His movement started to gain real momentum after the war when his idea was given lip service by notable people, Einstein and Churchill to name a couple. Yet again though, Churchill never saw the UK as part of that in his Zurich speech but conceded that we needed to have good relations and work together. It seems to me after reading the whole thing, that it’s rather anti-british, almost like he’s jealous of what we had and if you carefully look back through the history of the EU/EEC (which I have), from De Gaulle through until now with Juncker. There’s this overwhelming feeling of disdain and lack of respect for the UK coming from the EU. I’m not surprised after reading what I just have, if the mastermind behind the whole project had negative feelings towards the UK, then it has transcended throughout the generations of EU luvvies.

I think it’s entrenched in the mindset of all that hold it dear. Even in another one of his points “No Europeans will be able to dodge this decision. Before making that decision neutrality is treason. Who is not Pan-European – is anti-European!” the notion that if you’re not with them you aren’t European. It’s a phrase I hear a lot of Remainers using in the wake of Brexit and it bugs me because the EU and Europe are two different things. Something that I think a lot of people have lost sight of, yet they will soon realise their mistake.

I also want to pull out this extract from the PanEuropa propaganda: “For this struggle for Europe, I call on all, in the possibility and the necessity of the United States of Europe, believe; but a program – for the Pan-Europa is no utopia; not a dream – but a demand! Against this great goal disappear the contrasts of the nation, religion and party: first must be a house built before the dispute over the wallpaper begins!”

This was his attempt at creating a nationless entity easily controlled without politics or religion. He wanted to create a slave race. Without party politics or allegiances you have no direction or power and nothing to stand for. With no specific religion to guide your principles, you’re nothing but a pawn. That’s the most important thing we should take from this. Our years in the wilderness have passed and on the other side of Brexit we need to reclaim our identity. The EU starves nations of identity and cultural heritage. They have slowly eaten away at our history because they’re scared of what we would or could become. They have eroded the powers of the nation states because they can’t be trusted. If you read that and thought that’s a good thing because historically Europeans just start wars with each other, then I ask you, does that make the EU a policing state? If so, then why is it okay? We have the right to self determination, we make the rules not them. We all grew up thinking of 1984 as a dystopian nightmare, well we’re living in one massive policing state. It’s not just going to stop when we leave.

*I want to take time out here to explain that i’m not a massive loon and not a Nazi sympathiser or anything untoward. I have just tried to awaken people to the world we live in and the danger the EU poses to EVERY single European country, not just our own. I have tried numerous different ways like I stated at the beginning. Now bear with me whilst I go on one of my almost conspiracy theories (I don’t believe most of them!) and then conclude my article, I promise there is a message in there for all of us somewhere!*

The reason it won’t stop is because (deep breath please don’t think i’m crazy) we’re part of the biggest experiment known to man. Multiculturalism has never been experimented with on this scale anywhere in the world EVER. You’ve read my articles before about demographics and how densely populated the UK is, have you ever wondered why we’re the most watched country in the world (cctv wise)? Why our security services go through absolutely everything (GCHQ) and rival that of the US and Russia? It’s the notion that we can’t be trusted again. It’s because we’re unpredictable because we don’t have a national psyche anymore. You go anywhere else in the world and pretty much you know what a country is going to be like because of their culture. There may be subtle differences in different regions (Texas isn’t the same as New York) but they all bleed the same blood and share the same core values. We don’t. That’s why there is a divide among our people. Culturally, the UK doesn’t know where it stands.

I’ve noticed it more and more recently and i’m controversially going to come out and say it, they don’t want white europeans to procreate anymore. (That’s it this guy is off his rocker) It’s not just white people either, it’s aimed more at young people in general. It’s being drummed into us now that ‘it’s fine for women to have careers and not children’ or ‘having kids in your forties is fine’ no and no. Women create life full stop. That is what they’re put here to do, I don’t mean that in a condescending way but to ensure survival of our species (the human race) we procreate, all lifeforms for that matter are the same. Plus having kids in your forties presents all kinds of risks and problems. I’ll explain what I mean about the first bit now if you’re still reading.

Have you noticed people are only having 1 or 2 kids nowdays? No, okay. A sweeping general statement I know but I shall continue. They make it so that we can’t afford to have anymore than that, then over time you see that birth rates are declining. Rather than fixing the problem and promoting the idea of having kids and giving parents help or make it easier for them, they’d rather just bring people in from outside to mix the gene pool up. That’s what has happened with the massive influx in Germany.

They want us to mix and they call it cultural enrichment, the mixing of cultures. Which is fine in small doses, what is slowly happening is cultural replacement where droves of different cultures and religions come into the country in unrestricted and unlimited numbers and they’re encouraged to ‘integrate’. Like I say on a small scale this would be fine, anyone can be with whoever they want these days and that’s fine. But in such high numbers it has fractured our culture. I’ll put it in a way it can relate with everyone, there’s nothing wrong with a Jack Daniels and Coke, what we’re ending up with is a dirty pint and we’re getting fucked! Say for example we have a Nigerian and a Korean immigrant come here and have a child, now if you ask that child what does it feel like is it going to say ‘British’? More than likely yes, but what British influence do they have in their lives? I’m not saying they have to go morris dancing or go to the pub and this is the exact problem, we don’t have a national identity to buy into anymore. This brings me back around to RVCK, as in another publication he wrote he stated this: “The man of the future will be of mixed race. Today’s races and classes will gradually disappear owing to the vanishing of space, time, and prejudice. The Eurasian-Negroid race of the future, similar in its appearance to the Ancient Egyptians, will replace the diversity of peoples with a diversity of individuals. Instead of destroying European Jewry, Europe, against its own will, refined and educated this people into a future leader-nation through this artificial selection process. No wonder that this people, that escaped Ghetto-Prison, developed into a spiritual nobility of Europe. Therefore a gracious Providence provided Europe with a new race of nobility by the Grace of Spirit. This happened at the moment when Europe’s feudal aristocracy became dilapidated, and thanks to Jewish emancipation.”

It’s been a big masterplan from the beginning and that is why we need to come together now in the face of Brexit. I want to extend my hand out to the Remainers as from now on, we’re leaving whether you like it or not. But we need each other so that we can create a true British identity for when we rejoin the global stage as a REAL nation. We can’t do that when we’re divided and arguing. So I will take the first step in saying, even though i’m still enjoying the win of the referendum and will hold it dear for many years to come, i’m moving on. The next win is more important, I will enjoy beating the EU more than my fellow compatriots with getting a one off deal. If we pull that off then all of this will seem distant and irrelevant in comparison. The end goal is to tear down the EU, as for me they pose the same threat that the Nazis did to our country all those years ago. Only difference is, the EU has had some control of our country, something the Nazis never even got close too. It’s a financial & judicial war they wage, not one of a militaristic nature. The only problem being, when we eventually crush the heart of the beast, as always there will be a vacuum and we ALL need to be start thinking of what’s coming next.

*If you’ve made it here I commend you, thank you so much for reading my inner ramblings!

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Answers Needed

The most divided fanbase is unquestionably Arsenal. For once though, i’m not entirely sure why? At the beginning of the season, in the transfer window we bought exactly what the Wenger Out fans have been screaming for. A strong CDM (Xhaka) who wasn’t cheap (Wenger Out fans cry about Arsene not spending), a world class CB (Mustafi) who wasn’t cheap either and finally a Striker (Lucas Perez) who even though he hasn’t featured much, has shown every time he’s on the pitch that he was worth every penny. Now to me, Arsene answered all the critics in this respect, by ‘splashing the cash’ and buying in every position that needed strengthening. I genuinely thought we had a chance to fight for all the trophies going this season and as a fan you have to believe that, otherwise you aren’t truly supporting your team. After a disappointing first game of the season, we then went 17/18 games unbeaten (I think). We then lost back to back games. Firstly, against Ronald Koeman’s Everton, who were well organised and every manager has a bogey manager, Koeman is Wenger’s as everyone knows. We then went away to City who have according to some, the best manager in world football and we only lost 2-1, away from home. Following that we went unbeaten in UCL group stage, even against PSG who have just showed Barcelona up.

Currently we are off the pace by 10 points in the league, which yes is an issue but it’s definitely not over. Bearing in mind we beat Chelsea and they beat us cancelling each other out, so nothing was lost at Stamford bridge which I think fans are forgetting. I understand that to win the league you have to beat the big teams, I don’t believe in excuses but Bellerin was knocked out, if that goal doesn’t go in then what might have happened you never know, the complexion of the game would have been completely different. Admittedly, Chelsea are good at home and we would have been lucky to get a win but to think we couldn’t have got at least a draw is disrespectful to our players.

We are still in a winnable FA Cup. The media are trying to downplay Arsenal’s chances and angling for a giant killing, especially in the wake of the defeat at Bayern but why are people stacking up the pressure against one of the most successful managers in the FA Cup full stop? Yes Sutton have home advantage and a shitty 3G pitch, poor facilities and low ticket allocation for away fans. Yet we will put out a 80% strength squad, probably close to the team that smashed Southampton 5-0. I have noticed so much non-news recently in regards to Arsenal and Arsene, it’s almost like the media is out to get us constantly and will make a story out of nothing.

Now in regards to the question that is floating around at the moment, should Arsene go? This poses a very difficult question for me being a Wenger In fan. In short I don’t think he should leave. Not right now, I think he should go at the end of next season. There are so many different factors involved to make a snap decision like the media and Wenger Out fans want. It’s reactionary and unnecessary, especially when it all hinged on a single game. I hear and understand fans frustrations, i’m a fan too. But do you really think destabilising the club at a time like this will help in any way? If anything we need to be together at the moment with important run ins coming up, the only thing that matters at the moment is a full stadium and to get behind the players so that we get back to winning ways.

The way it needs to go is at the end of the season Arsene Wenger sits down with the board and sets out a plan of devolution. It’s not as simple to just bring in a new manager. Arsene basically runs so many different bits of the club, a new manager coming in can’t take over every single aspect of his job as he’s been there for so long, there needs to be a transition period where Arsene slowly delegates his many jobs to other people. Get the right people in place to run the club so that he can purely focus on his final season as just a manager. Then at the end of the season hand over the reigns to another manager with the club in the best possible shape so the new managers job is easier and can take the club onto the next level. As I believe the end goal is for Arsenal to become a Supergiant, it has to be the long term goal. They wouldn’t have put so much effort, time and money into creating Arsenal the brand. We have a huge stadium, the 7th highest revenue in the world, one of the biggest fanbases in the world and a team capable of getting into the UCL every year. The only place left to go is get another world class manager, buy world class players in every position and go for the Champions League, not just once but prolonged success. That is the business model I believe they will aim for.

This takes me onto the next part, who could come in and make that transition work? Me personally, don’t laugh but on a 3 year contract I think we should go for Mancini. The simple reason why is that he 1. Has Premier League experience and has won it. 2. Has some Champions League experience. 3. Knows what it takes to juggle the two (most foreign managers can’t grasp the winter period e.g Pep & Klopp) 4. Has a great win percentage and record. 5. Plays an attractive style of football (which is imperative to appease fans). Now I know no one will share my view so let’s assess the other options out there.

  1. Diego Simeone – The logical choice. Fighting off Real & Barcelona every year takes a lot, especially when they won La Liga. Sustained attacks in Europe, winning Europa League and getting to the final of UCL twice in 3 years, an amazing win percentage and also has a backbone and wouldn’t think twice about shaking the team up with some emotion. The downsides – He has no experience of the Premier League, a poor defensive style of play that i’m not sure that fans will trade attractive football for trophies (winning ugly), there’s only so many times you can shout at players to provoke a response. If we were to get him I believe it should only be on a three year contract.
  2.  Thomas Tuchel – This is a strange one for me, he’s come out as favourite pretty much and I can’t see why? Sure he’s manager of a big club like Dortmund, he’s got them scoring but if you couldn’t get Reus & Aubameyang to score then you shouldn’t be a manager! He’s not excatly setting the Bundesliga on fire and hasn’t even won half of his games. He got to the Quarters of the Europa League and is through to the Last 16 of UCL this year. He had one good season last year and has a different approach to tactics which are his only good traits.
  3. Joachim Low – He plays amazing football with the German national team, he’s got a good win percentage overall, however if you look at his domestic record it’s not amazing, he won the Austrian League the same year as our Invincibles and took Stuttgart to 4th twice in the late 90s. Yes he’s won the World Cup but it’s a different ball game (excuse the pun) in the leagues. This would be a massive gamble plus he likes smelling his own balls!
  4.  Eddie Howe – I understand this one, yet it won’t work. He gets the most out of Bournemouth because of the structure in place at the club and he runs the club with 4 or 5 ex-players as his backroom staff. He plays some attractive football and has achieved well whilst having restraints in regards to players. Yes he’s English and it would be good to see an Englishman in a top job in England! I’m all for giving opportunities but you should get in on merit and Eddie’s record doesn’t speak for itself.
  5. Max Allegri – He’s had it so easy, he inherited an AC Milan team he did well with and then took over Juventus with unlimited amounts of money, he’s won 3 league titles in his time in management but his style of football is dull running a 3-5-2 system. He’s been through to the Last 16 in UCL just as many times as Wenger, even though he reached the Final his first season with Juventus. The club would be much the same under Allegri and wouldn’t be seen as making a step forward.
  6. Leonardo Jardim – Only in his early 40s, he’s travelled around a bit, though he’s got a good point percentage overall and plays quite nice football, his European record isn’t amazing. Although saying that I reckon with the structure and resources that Arsenal will have in place, he could excel. Probably my my 2nd or 3rd choice, it wouldn’t be a bad move for Arsenal.
  7. Roger Schmidt – Finally, low down on the list with having only won an Austrian Title and Austrian Cup. Stable Top 4 finishes with Leverkusen and through to the Last 16 2 out of 3 seasons, not exactly the profile of someone a club of Arsenal’s stature should be looking at in my honest opinion, yet he’s been ‘shortlisted’ or linked with the club so I included him.

Whatever the outcome at the end of the season whether he stays or goes, no manager that comes in should be expected to create instant success and should be given time to adapt and build their own squad. We should all be patient and give anyone the time to progress. I’m in two minds as to whether Arsene should stay at the club in the background as sometimes it can be a distraction, as the new manager is always compared to the outgoing manager and doesn’t help if he’s still around (e.g Ferguson). Ideally if he does stay, i’d like  him to become director of football and oversee the youth academy as his true talent lies in developing young players and making them ready for the first team.

Thank you for reading!

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The Beginning of The Journey

So, here we are. Where is it, you may ask we are? We are still in a cloudy patch of history that will be remembered as well as the Phoney War in 1939. Not very well I can tell you. Yet that was the beginning of a journey our country started on. To overcome a dangerous threat and enemy, who at the time seemed to be more powerful, faster and larger than ourselves. I feel we are in a similar predicament at this exact moment in time. We’re up against an opponent with vast amounts of money, carries the sway of 27 nations and they have a bit between their teeth. They’re led by an ignorant power hungry man with Authoritarian views. They try their hardest to stifle free thinking and opinions that vary from their own. Such narrow mindedness that will eventually be their downfall.

I’m of course talking about that soon to be defeated Supranational Union of European States. Or EU for short… We have created the building blocks for the resistance to EU rule. We have re-ignited the wick of a burnt out, eternal candle that died out in 1975. Self determination was the catalyst. We are the leading light out of the darkness. We give hope to countries that are one their knees, that there is a way out of this. It may not be immediate, much like World War 2 but we can form an alliance to go up against the would be ‘Axis Powers’. The first of these will be a France under the leadership of Marine Le Pen. Much like Trump, I don’t agree with everything she’s put on the table. Yet she has the same vision and end goal. To take on the EU and have a self ruling France. It’s a larger task than ours as they’re a fully paid up member of the EU, but we will stand with them. There are a whole host of nations outside of the EU that want to do business and are extending olive branches even now. It would also be very advantageous for us to have an ally on mainland Europe outside of the EU, who we can trade freely with and create our own bloc to combat the monopoly of goods & services the EU has over Europe. Two great nations such as ours and France working together to create a new Europe of self rule and opportunity. Great things can be achieved between two giants of Europe who refuse to lay down. We’ll see where all the money comes from when we officially leave. That will be left at Germany’s door, who will be the final obstacle to overcome.

Of course others will follow us like Spain, Greece, Italy & Portugal, as their chances going out on their own are far greater out of the monetary union that has bankrupted them. The Dutch are certain to follow if Wilders wins this year. Germany will be the toughest nut to crack, purely down to history. We stirred up a feeling of national pride and used the tool of harking back to a bygone era of prosperity and dominance to get where we are now. The danger of sparking the fire of national pride inside every German might be counter productive to our cause, as it’s because of them we were stuck with the EU in the first place. They just couldn’t be trusted not to keep starting wars in Europe and picking on their neighbour the majority of the time. So between them and France they came up with a Union to end all wars in Europe, by literally taking away the powers of the nation. Basically they were put on the naughty step of world politics, and we paid the price for their poor behaviour. Whilst I sympathise with some nationalistic views myself, there is a huge under current of the extreme views flowing just underneath the surface all across Europe. We could, in the metaphorical sense, let the animal out of the cage by stirring up national pride in Germany to try and destroy the remnants of the EU. What we would be left with would make the journey we’re on, a wasted one.

Image result for german and french fight

However, the journey whilst it will have some dark and difficult times, twists and turns, trials and tribulations, it is a necessary one. Whether you like it or not we have set off already and there is no looking back. The clock is already ticking down. What we really need is the mental strength and resilience to fight the EU. We need to unify under the banner of the UK. Yet I still see the Remain side, sabotaging and slowing the fight down. We cannot fight a war with enemies inside our own walls. It’s time to get onside and fight for our country. In a world of snakes and ladders, it’s time to be a mongoose. MPs have a duty to their country, above that of their constituency. Their country voted to leave and now they try to debilitate the Government in adding amendments to the bill, that shouldn’t even be in parliament. I keep hearing from voices on the Remain side defending their tactics, that the government doesn’t have a mandate to make the decisions and negotiations regarding Brexit. Well I don’t know about you but  I seem to remember that they were given a clear majority in the last election and have a mandate to rule the country until the next election. I’m pretty sure that is a mandate the last time I checked. I personally think that they’re jealous that they aren’t at the negotiating table and that the ones on the Labour side of things are too busy destroying their own party and fighting amongst themselves as they can’t create an opposition capable of holding the government to account.

Finally, i’d like to say that even though I didn’t agree with the decision to have a PM who was a Remainer, Theresa May has done a good job so far. The rhetoric that has come from her camp has been worthy of recognition. She understands that this is the direction the country has to go in and she’d rather be in control than stand back and complain. I think every single Remainer in this country can learn from her. She’s sending out the right message of just getting on with it and not making a hash of it. Now if a leader of a country who doesn’t agree with what she has to do, can accept and understand what needs to happen next, then there’s no reason the rest of you can’t. Even coming out with the notion that hard Brexit is better than no Brexit, she endeared herself to me. It was refreshing and a step in the direction. Remainers need to put their energy and concentration into the future. Formulate a vision of what you want a Post-Brexit UK to look like. Look passed the present and shake off the loss. Quite literally, you win some, you lose some.

Republican or Royalist?

I read an article the other day that stated that there is actually a movement that wants a referendum on getting rid of the Royal Family. Personally I have no side to take on the issue but this has made me curious what people’s thoughts and feelings about the matter are.

 

On the one side you have the Royalists, who believe that the Queen is the be all and end all. She and her family contribute £1bn in tourism a year, they’re good for international relations and being the face of the British people abroad, they’re an unelected barrier between the Government and absolute power which is healthy, otherwise you end up with power hungry leaders with no restrictions. People use the argument against the Monarchy and the House of Lords saying they’re unelected and anti-democratic. When in actual fact they’re just a safeguard against giving all the power to one individual or one party. The House of Lords can delay bills and block them for up to a year but can never fully stop a bill going through but can buy enough time to properly scrutinise and amend a bill, so that it isn’t rushed through without being properly debated or heard and enshrined into UK law. The Queen has the power to reject any law but in doing so would create a constitutional crisis so usually signs it off anyway, which is where people get the idea that the Queen has no power, as she has to adhere to what the government puts in front of her. Our lawmaking process is pretty good and thorough though, so when it finally gets put in front of the Queen, it’s in it’s final form and has the support of most MP’s who are voted in and given a mandate to vote on and make laws on our behalf. Which will finally be completely back in our control after Brexit! She can still technically wage war against another country, not that she will ever need too. She can also dissolve parliament which is a perfect safeguard in the event of having an unpopular PM or mad PM intent on harming this country. However in doing so it would start a civil war, so it’s more of a deterrent. The PM always tends to keep the Queen onside as it’s a kind of mutual understanding between the two. Also the Royal family will play a pivotal role when we start to negotiate trade deals around the world again post-brexit. Where some Prime Ministers can be disliked and unpopular with other countries, the Queen has the respect of a large amount of nations around the world and this can be a good building block for negotiations in places where the PM might be unpopular. Believe it or not this is how it used to be done before the EU negotiated all of our trade deals for us. I also read in an Economist article that keeping the Monarchy but reforming it would be a welcome sign to both parties. That’s a basic look at the For argument.

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On the other side you have the Republicans who want to see the Queen dethroned and kicked out onto the street. That’s my cynical view of it but for the sake of being balanced let’s look at their argument. They say that the Queen sponges off the state which is true, yet her net contributions outweigh the running of her estates and outgoings. They use the fact that Prince Charles has penned letters to MP’s in the past as an excuse to describe him as meddling in politics. Which is also true as the Royal Family as a whole should stay impartial and a-political. Which is where I think a lot of the fear shown by the Republicans come from, the realisation that he will one day be king. They assume the worst and expect Charles to stick his oar into political proceedings. I think the fact that he cheated on Diana with Camilla sits uncomfortably with most people and don’t think that someone with such bad intentions should be trusted or be trusted to run a country. Much like nowadays when an MP is caught doing something lewd they’re forced out of office, yet with a monarchy you can’t force them out. It’s an outdated hereditary system which I can understand, a birth right to the throne is such an archaic means of choosing a head of state. Yet if you had to vote in a head of state, then you’re stuck in the catch 22 of they could be in league with the PM and therefore wouldn’t be impartial or a-political and we would automatically fall into an autocracy or a puppet government run by the head of state (e.g Russia). The Republicans also show a distaste for the amount of coverage the Royal Family gets in the media, I personally look at this as jealousy as the movement doesn’t have as much coverage or the following and support they feel they deserve. I understand that they get media attention for being given the crown and not doing anything worthy or noble to warrant receiving the crown like they originally did (e.g Battle of Bosworth), however I don’t exactly see the Queen racing head first into the enemy on horseback with a sabre in hand in this day in age.

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The reason the Queen and the Royal Family are who they are is because of the Queen, she has an overwhelming sense of duty that deserves respect, she has worked at making the Monarchy what it is and her family all look to her as an example and we can only hope that they try to follow in her footsteps, wearing the commitment and duty she does. I’m happy with the status quo and don’t wish to ruffle the feathers of the establishment on this issue, yet it is important to have these kind of debates on issues as it defines who we are and what we really hold dear. I’d like us to keep the Monarchy in the traditional sense and hope they don’t go over the top and try to drag it into the 21st century too much when the Queen passes away. That will be when it’s time to get rid of them as they’ll become more celebrity than monarchy. Bowing to pressure. This institution stands tall and doesn’t quiver at the thought of opposition, leading by example and displaying the true British values and integrity. I don’t think there will be reform as I can’t see anyone voting for it, if we did then i’d imagine that the Royal Family had already lost their grip at that point. I think it would spell the end of the United Kingdom as well, as we wouldn’t all have that shared culture anymore and I feel that we’d get more and more disconnected as a nation\collective nations.

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This also brings me onto the subject of continued referendums. I believe in democracy and the spirit of referendums, however they should be reserved for the truly divisive issues that can’t be settled by any normal means. It shouldn’t become the go to measure for every occasion. Before you know it we’ll have a referendum on whether referendums should be legally binding! A referendum about a referendum. I also think that it’s disgraceful that even though it has been put to the public vote (Brexit) because the politicians couldn’t be trusted with the decision, they’re trying to hatch a plan to disrupt democracy in plain view. There are calls to try and halt Brexit through the House of Commons as it’s only ‘advisory’. Advisory it may be, yet the turnout was high and the voice of the people shouted a resounding Leave! The MPs almost forget who puts them in power in the first place, they act on behalf of their constituents who coincidentally were the ones who voted to Leave? So why would you even think of trying to go against the very people you serve? The disconnect between the population and politicians has never been wider. There is even a legal challenge as to whether the PM can activate Article 50 without consulting Parliament! The people have spoken, that should suffice. The mortally wounded Remainers are trying to impose a posthumous blow to the Leave campaign. Their attempted sabotage is morally corrupt and contemptuous. Anyone seen to be attacking the will of the people should be dragged from the commons by their ankles and thrown in the tower. It should be treated as treachery. They’re the same people that lied about what would happen in the event of Brexit, they don’t have the best interests of the country at heart. This brings me beautifully back to the start, this is why we don’t entrust all of our power to these people and why we are safeguarded against them. The system works, be thankful that we can choose who we have in government, the poor Americans are about to be lumbered with either Trump or Clinton.

I love my country.