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!

 

 

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!

 

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!

No Longer A Beautiful Game

Here I go again, another football post. My last one got me thinking about things. I want to ask a question to people. Should we regulate football clubs and what they spend?

1. Wages – It has been revealed today that Wayne Rooney has signed a new deal at Manchester United, earning himself £300,000 a week, or £1.2M a month. I mean really? I understand world class players deserve to be paid a good wage because football careers are short and all that but still is he really worth that much? He’s not even world class anymore, in my opinion he never was. He was just England’s best striker, but in case you hadn’t noticed England aren’t amazing at international level. I think personally if you set a rate for wages, you’d get more quality footballers out there and bring the game alive again. Instead nowadays you just get athletes who can kick a ball and who are just after money and don’t care about the game. If you capped salaries, only people that were passionate about playing football as a career would play and you’d get real passion back on the pitch. There should be a wage structure in place for the big clubs much like in other companies and organisations. Everyone starts at the same wage, but you get bonuses for goals scored, clean sheets, wins & cups and like in a some jobs you get a raise every year of service for your club, encouraging players to stay at one club rather than going all over the place. Look at people like Steven Gerrard, Tony Adams, etc… one club men, something you don’t get anymore because people are lured away by big salaries. I don’t like that football as a game is run like a business now and it’s ALL about money.

 

2. Transfers – Transfer valuations are ridiculous. How do you value a player? I think they should reset valuations and the best players in the world should be valued at around £25 million. No player is worth more than that to a club. I mean I remember back when I was young, there was a player called Christian Vieri and he was sold for £28 million at the time and I literally couldn’t fathom the amount of money that is, but now that’s not really considered very much money, but just think about that number for a second. £28 million, in fact think of the number £1 million. A million pounds is a lot of money to normal people and after all football is ‘the working man’s game’. I just think that the big clubs ruin it for everyone treating it as a money game, yes Arsenal are included this also, I will happily put my hand up and admit that about my own club, but we aren’t that bad in comparison to some others. I will use the Gareth Bale sale as an example as well of course, do you really think that he is worth £86 million, that’s about the equivalent of 3 Juan Mata’s right? Is he three times the player of Mata, no. It could do with a serious overhaul.

 

3. Contracts – Contracts mean nothing anymore, they should just do away with a “4 year contract” and do a yearly contract with every player so there’s no confusion. What’s the point in having a contract when nowadays most players are bought before it even ends, there’s no loyalty anymore between players and clubs. You should trust the player and that he wants to stay at the club, so when it comes around to the end of the contract, he can decide to stay and sign an extension of a year again or he can move onto another club for a fee.

 

4. Nationality – I know they’ve tried to clamp down on it but it’s not an English game like it once was, I don’t know what percentage of the team has to be English but I don’t think it’s enough. Yes yet again I know Arsenal are bad for this and I know it makes the Premier League one of the best in the world for it’s diversity, but the reason we aren’t great on an international level might have something to do with the big clubs not having enough room for English talent. I’ll use Arsenal as an example as I know the team well, of the starting 11 how many are English (or potential starting 11)? Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade- Chamberlain and Walcott. So that’s 4 of 11. That’s not even half, this is where we are going wrong, if all the teams were made to have more English players at their clubs it would be so good for young English talent.

 

 

5. Tackling – I know this is off topic but I need to put it out there as this is a football post, but I miss a good strong tackle nowadays. If it’s one thing that needs to change about the current game is what is deemed as a good challenge. I’ll use that Wes Brown challenge on Charlie Adam a couple months back as a PERFECT example. Wes Brown committed to a strong sliding challenge and won the ball, which when I was growing up you were taught to do, as long as you got the ball it didn’t really matter too much about connecting with the other player, it’s a physical sport at the end of the day. However, he slightly clipped Charlie Adam in doing so, who didn’t even go to ground I might add, and Wes was sent off for the intent of the challenge, the intent of winning the ball?! It’s just too crazy all these rules that the FA come up with and it’s spoiling the game that I know and love, red cards should be left to an accumulation of yellow cards, violent conduct and straight red offenses like tackling from behind.

 

6. Diving – This needs to be stamped out in every sense. To start they need to change the term from “winning a free kick/penalty” to “being awarded a free kick/penalty” after all it is down to the referee to decide not the players to go out looking for them. If you are fouled whilst trying to play the ball then a foul is awarded, it’s shameful players look for any contact and go down just to get a free kick or penalty. We should be encouraging them to stay on their feet and carry on, then bring the play back and penalise the offender, for my example I shall use an Arsenal vs Liverpool game from my childhood, where Robbie Fowler was through on goal, tried to round David Seaman, Seaman tried to pull out of the way and Fowler lost his footing as he was clipped, instead of making a big deal of it, Fowler went to the referee and said it wasn’t a foul and play was resumed. You wouldn’t even dream of seeing that today, now they are told to win the penalty and go down if caught at all. I think it’s ridiculous.

 

 

Sorry for going so off topic on the last two but i’m passionate about football as a game and hate what has become of this amazing sport these days.