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2017 General Election Labour Manifesto

Labour Manifesto

I wasn’t going to bother writing about the Labour Party’s rediscovery of the magic money tree, but it is such a document of deceit, that seems to be deceiving people – given the polls, that I do need to do my bit to debunk it.

You could summarise it by “you can have everything for free because we are going to make the rich pay for it”.

Except it simply won’t work.  This is back of a cigarette packet economics, and that is probably offensive to cigarette packets.

Allegedly the manifesto is fully costed, but I could similarly say that my dream apartment in Ibiza is fully costed.  Let’s break it down.

The Labour Party say that they are going to raise £19.4bn by increasing corporation tax to 26%.  This might sound fine to you – you might think that a higher tax rate means more will be raised in tax.

However, economics does not work like that.  After a point, the more you increase the tax rate, the less total tax will be raised.

The theory behind it is called the Laffer Curve, and anyone claiming that they can raise more revenue just because they are putting the tax rate up, is either stupid – or lying to you.  It is sometimes hard to work out which one is which in the Labour Party.

Since corporation tax has been reduced in this country – total corporation tax take has increased.  Of course, part of that is due to economic growth (in itself partly caused by lower corporation tax), but the Laffer Curve will be playing its part too.

Lower taxes raise more tax.

This is a fundamental understanding of economics that Labour simply doesn’t understand.

They also want to increase income tax on higher earners – you know, the people that open companies, the people that take risks – the people that employ many of you reading this.

Is it a co-incidence that during this period of tax-lowering, that employment is at a record high, or that unemployment is near a record low?  And I assume you know that every Labour government in history has left with higher unemployment than it inherited?

There is also this mysterious £6.5bn that Labour are going to get back from tax avoidance.  Don’t make me laugh. The idea that John McDonnell is going to magically stop companies from avoiding tax, a ha ha ha ha!  In fact, higher corporation tax will likely increase tax avoidance.

This is a completely spurious, nonsensical figure, made up to make the numbers add up.  Utter nonsense.

There is more to criticise, including the proposed increases in stamp duty, increasing capital gains tax and reducing corporation tax relief, to name three, that would likely have a negative impact on the economy.

Then there is the pointless renationalisation of railways, water companies etc – for which they haven’t even bothered to cost – seemingly trying to con me and you, that it won’t be paid for by debt, but bonds instead.  Bonds are government debt!!!

However, I would support scrapping the married couple allowance which seems an utterly pointless Cameron-esque policy.  See, you cannot say I disagree with everything Labour propose!

Then we have the giveaways.

Tuition fees is the big one.  So we are going to go back to fully subsidising expensive university tuition for anybody that fancies going to university.  Hugely expensive and not a productive use of resources, plus reductive to the quality in education.

Free car parking in hospitals may sound good, but who do you think is going to use that?  Nurses and patients?  Or the bloke who works in the office next door, the woman doing her shopping, etc?  Not exactly well thought out policy.

There is a massive £4bn giveaway on benefits (which sounds on paper like it would cost a hell of a lot more – yet more money to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In fact, there are bribes to pretty much anyone that might normally consider voting Labour – public sector workers, the regions, students, layabouts, the unemployed…

It is quite simply a manifesto to bribe people, pretend the rich will pay for it, and land the country in economic ruin.

Of course, many people are too selfish to care, or too short-sighted to understand.  Some people will think “oooh more money for me” and not think about the consequences for the economy, and the subsequent consequences when economic ruin returns.

Some people actually blame the Conservative Party for having no choice but to reduce spending – when it was Labour that got us into this mess with their overspending – running significant budget deficits from 2001 to 2007 BEFORE the crash – and therefore being totally unprepared for the recession that they were partly responsible for causing.

Unlike previous elections, I am not campaigning for the Conservative Party.  I understand if people don’t want to vote for them and am generally not going to argue against it, except for the enjoyment of an argument.

But I cannot understand why anyone that cares about the future of the economy, the future of their country and their own future in 5-10 years would consider voting Labour.

Shall we try to finish on a positive?

I agree with Labour not setting a pointless arbitrary figure on immigration numbers.  I think their proposed Migrant Impact Fund is promising (though pretty sure we already have/had something similar).

I found one policy I agree with!  Woohoo!  Or is that two?

Overall this is a disastrous manifesto.  Never in my life has their been a more appalling, dangerous manifesto produced for the United Kingdom.

This is one dodgy dossier – a dangerous, delusional document of deceit.  It must be rejected.

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2017 Election Conservative Manifesto General Election

Conservative Manifesto

I have finally got around to having a decent look at the Conservative Party manifesto.  Yes, I know it was launched over a week ago but I’ve been busy.  And a lot has happened in the meantime – not only to the manifesto itself.

You’ll likely know that I am no fan of Theresa May.  I find her a cross between Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband – with a bit of Nigel Farage thrown in for fun.  It is absolutely no surprise that she is throwing away the opportunity for a very large majority given her rather ghastly persona – perceived or real.

Yet I was impressed that she is pledging to do something about the generational imbalance.  The disparity between pensioners and younger working folk is immense and unfair.  Why should pensioners have a greater income than working people?

Pensioners have the houses, often excellent pensions, state pensions guaranteed to rise faster than inflation, and they have even got their own way on Brexit.  Yet I often hear from them, “I’ve paid my taxes all my life…” – oh forgive me, have you never used a state-funded hospital?  Your children didn’t go to a state school?  You haven’t ever driven on a road?  All the lampposts go out when you walk underneath?  Pensioners have paid their taxes – and we have a £1.7tr debt.  Thanks.

It really is about time the unfairness was resolved, and I think it excellent that winter fuel payments will be means-tested, the arbitrary and unfair triple-lock on pensions is now a double-lock, and they will now have to contribute more to social care.

This is true progress towards fairness.

Sadly this is balanced out with a Labour-esque non-commitment to the deficit – pledging a balanced budget by 2025.  As if there won’t be a recession by then.  The Conservatives are the only party that can claim economy competence and I don’t want to see that advantage draining away.

There is a touch of arrogance about not fully costing the manifesto – but Labour’s alleged fully costed manifesto is full of lies and deceit, as I will explain in another post – though the IFS do a pretty decent critique of it, albeit not going far enough in my opinion.

I’m neither here nor there with most of the education and health policies – I don’t really get the point of replacing free school meals with breakfasts.

I approve of the raising of the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 – though a more sensible and fair approach would be to do this with National Insurance instead – as this would benefit the poor more.  Or even just merge NI into income tax.

The immigration target to get it down to the 10’s of 1000’s is utterly pointless and highly disagreeable.  There is a pledge to make it harder for foreign students to stay once they finish their studies – which is a completely backwards policy for the future of our country.

Likewise I don’t get the point of the target on house-building – unless something drastic changes then the targets will simply not be met.  I’m interested in the ideas behind allowing local authorities to build more social housing and would like to know more.  Also, the pledge to eliminate homelessness by 2027 is welcome – but how on earth is that going to be achieved?

You know my feelings on Brexit – I couldn’t give a fuck who is negotiating as I don’t want any Brexit negotiations to be necessary in the first place.

I am, however, pleased to note that the 0.7% commitment to foreign aid has been kept.

That will do.  I could go into some of the less-important policies but I have written enough for a general insight into my thoughts on the manifesto.

I do agree with more of the policies than the other parties.  Hardly surprising.  Though there do seem to be rather a few aims instead of detailed policies.

It is a decent-enough manifesto.  It isn’t going to solve many of the problems of this country – but unlike Labour, it isn’t going to destroy the country either.  If I vote Conservative, then it will not be with enthusiasm or relish – it will be a grudging vote, whilst wishing there was a socially liberal, economically-sensible party.

Oh David Cameron, where have you gone?

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2017 General Election Liberal Democrats Manifesto

Lib Dem Manifesto

Given that I am still undecided, I thought that I should pay the Liberal Democrat manifesto a little more attention than usual.

There are some appealing proposals for a liberal such as myself, including the introduction of a regulated cannabis market (why not all drugs?) and the repeal of the Snooper’s Charter.

However, any liberalism does not extend to the economy, with large increases in spending on the NHS and education, which are only funded by increasing the debt.  There is also the reversal of some benefit cuts.

Further to that, they are going to increase income tax by 1p for everyone.

EVERYONE.

Bad enough when Labour propose to increase the rate of income tax on the rich (you know – the people that open companies and employ many of us), but to increase income tax on everyone will just discourage work and make us all poorer, at a time when living standards are fairly stagnant.

It seems that they are simply trying to appeal to Labour-lite voters.  I am not a Labour voter.

Yes I am missing something.  Brexit.

If you have read any article of mine, you will know that I want no kind of Brexit.  If the Liberal Democrats offered no Brexit – ie that they would stop the Brexit process, then I would vote for them.

To offer a second vote is pointless.  It’s a ratification vote.  If a second vote, on the deal, was lost – the Brexit question is closed.  Lose two referendums and the matter is conclusive for many a year.  And unless there is some kind of significant shift in public opinion (still roughly 50/50 split if you look at polls with balanced questions on Brexit), then I can only see another defeat for those of us who believe the future is dark, outside of the huge single market that is the European Union.

I cannot see that there will be any conclusive shift in public opinion, until Brexit happens, and when people start to notice subsequent negative effects on their lives.  Therefore, just like death itself, Brexit has to happen.  We have to have a Brexit failure to be able to reverse the process and be able to go back into the EU.  This is a long-term game – no point in just putting off Brexit.  People need to experience how bad things will be.

Thereby that policy of a second referendum on the deal is pointless.

I may still vote for the Liberal Democrats in some kind of anti-Brexit, anti-May protest vote, but it remains unlikely.  Who am I going to vote for, remains a good question.

Oh for a liberal party.

Categories
Energy Price Cap Fox Hunting Immigration Target Populism Socialism

Vote Tory, Get…Socialism?

Urgh.  The nasty party is coming back.  Socialism, nationalism, populism and killing animals for sport.

Let’s start with fox hunting.  I’m neither hare nor there when it comes to the matter.  I understand the pomp and revelry, I also understand that there should be some kind of control of the fox population.  But why on earth there is need to re-instate it as a sport?

I understand killing animals for food, or for pest control.  But not for fun.  And that includes fishing.

And yes, there will be a free vote on it, so bringing fox hunting back is not government policy per se, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out what the outcome of a free vote with a 100+ majority will be.

Then we have the nationalism/populism, with the reiteration of the 10’s of thousands target for net immigration.

Corbyn has a chance of meeting this but only through scaring anyone that has a level of aspiration greater than collecting benefits, to emigrate.  Why on earth we insist on such a ridiculous target which could only feasibly be met in a recession, especially given our increasing demand for government services (namely pensions, NHS) that have to be paid through increasing amounts of taxpayers.

For example, why do we want to put a limit on the numbers of students coming to study at our universities?  Firstly they pay the full whack of fees, helping to fund our university sector, helping subsidise university costs for UK students, and helping our universities continue to be some of the best in the world.  Not to mention that some of these students, if we actually allow any of them to stay, will be the creators of the next Google – why wouldn’t we want such talented people in our country?

Plus the idea that the government knows the amount of immigrants that businesses need is preposterous.

So then we get onto socialism.

If there is one thing that I cannot abide by, it is economic-destruction brought about my socialism.

Markets sometimes do need some element of intervention – for example where a company’s monopoly position is pricing out customers, or where there is a cartel controlling the prices.

But there simply is no reason for this punitive market-distorting price-cap – something similar of which only 2 years ago was rightly condemned by the Conservative Party as marxist.

Despite the popular misconception, the energy market is neither a monopoly (100+ suppliers) or a cartel.  Yes they make a profit (though 3 of the big 6 made a loss last year) but that is nothing to be ashamed of in a capitalist society.  If you want lower prices, than we need higher supply of electricity and gas.  Though the same people that complain about relatively high energy prices are often those that complain of wind farms being built, or fracking drills proposed.

Or we could look at reducing regulations intended on encouraging renewables.

Price caps tend to lead to higher prices, through lower supply.  For an extreme version, look at the whole economy of Venezuela.

And why just price caps on energy?  Why not on food, housing, clothes, etc?  The answer, is because that it is popular to bash energy companies – a perfect example of populism.

Not only is this policy outright wrong, it also gives bad signals.  Does this mean Theresa thinks that other policies in Ed Miliband’s manifesto of 2015 should be considered?  Is Theresa suggesting that maybe some of Corbyn’s policies are worth considering?

Is Theresa May even leading the Conservative party?  All I see is vote Theresa.  Vote Theresa and her team.  What happened to the Conservative party?

Theresa May seems as interested in asking people to vote Conservative as Labour MP’s seem interested in putting Corbyn on their propaganda.

If I still thought of myself as a Conservative, I would be offended.

Theresa May does not represent the Conservative party of Thatcher, of Major or of Cameron.  It’s a curious mix of socialism, nationalism and populism.  Or simply, anything to keep the Daily Mail happy.

It doesn’t make me happy.  I am further away from voting for Therera’s Team than ever.  How can someone who reveres Thatcher, vote for socialist policies?

It is now only a 30% chance that I will vote Tory, sorry, I mean vote Theresa.  A 10% chance that I will vote Liberal Democrat.  0% that I will vote Labour, Green or UKIP.

Which means a 60% chance that I will spoil my vote.  Unless there is someone else to vote for.  Maybe I should run?  I could be the next Emmanuel Macron.  I used to work for a bank, what more do you need?

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2017 Election Probably Voting Conservative

3 Reasons Why I Am Probably Voting Conservative

Despite being a life-long Conservative, I would rather not vote Conservative this year, or the Brexit Implementation Party, as I am tending to call them.

I am gaining a strong dislike for Theresa May.  I find her severely lacking in leadership qualities, poor at debating, slow to react and I struggle to determine a political philosophy.  Why is she leader?  How does she want to change our country for the better?  She reminds me so much of Gordon Brown – someone who wants to be leader because they want to be leader.

And the rhetoric, the sound-bites are just cringe-worthy – like Blair at his pomp.  “Brexit means Brexit”.  Oh do fuck off.

Speaking of Brexit, I would love to give our Prime Minister and government a metaphorical punch in the nose over Brexit.  I really would like to use my vote on June 8th to show my utter displeasure and distaste for Brexit. Which leads me onto my first reason that I am probably voting Conservative.

1. All parties are supporting Brexit.  At first I was considering voting Liberal Democrat as I saw it as a Brexit protest vote.  But Tim Farron (I don’t have to think to remember his name nowadays) then started muttering on about having the right sort of Brexit.  I do not want any form of Brexit.  I don’t want a hard Brexit, I don’t want a soft Brexit, I don’t want a clean Brexit, I don’t want a positive Brexit, I don’t want a black Brexit, I don’t want a grey Brexit, I don’t want a less damaging Brexit, I don’t want a red, white and blue Brexit, I don’t want a better Brexit.  I want NO BREXIT.

I accept Brexit has to happen.  I also have to die one day (hopefully not until after we have rejoined the EU).  And all parties have accepted this too.  So therefore there is no point in voting Liberal Democrat.

2. Brexit will be a disaster.  Socially and culturally for certain, economically probably – at least damaging if not disastrous.  But Labour governments are also a disaster, as proven time after time (IMF, gold, Labour’s Great Recession, unions controlling country, dead people unburied, etc etc).  And Corbyn, who seems to fetishise the socialist economic system in Venezuela that has led to widespread inability to purchase even basic goods (despite one of the largest oil reserves in the world), would be absolutely bone-dry guaranteed to bring a complete economic disaster to this country.

Brexi = disaster.  Brexit + Corbyn = disaster*disaster.

I fundamentally cannot risk a Corbyn government.  If that means voting for a government run by the self-anointed “bloody difficult woman” (just like Gordon Brown – it doesn’t take much for her to get angry), then so be it.

3. Finally, there is the argument, which states that if Theresa May had a larger majority, then the ultra-Brexit tail of Redwood, Rees-Mogg, Bone, etc, would not be wagging the dog.  If there was say, a 100+ majority, the government would not be controlled by said lunatic fringe.  Of course, this is just theory, and it may be that a large majority changes nothing.  But it is hope.

There is enough time for me to change my opinion.  I’ll be interested to read about policies on house-building, in particular.

But I do feel myself becoming more of a Tory again as I feel compelled to attack the lies and disinformation being pumped out by Labour and it’s followers.  Oh for a centre-leaning, economically sensible party with a strong leader.

I do I vote Conservative, it won’t be a vote for the Conservative Party, and certainly not for Theresa May.  It will be a vote against Corbyn.  I’d say that it is now an 85% chance that I will vote Conservative – I remain open to persuasion otherwise.