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?