General Election 2017 is almost here. Below is a unbiased guide (well, as unbiased as the print media)The most important thing to do, is to vote. The second most important thing to do is vote anyone but May.
Interviewed by ITVs Julie Etchingham Theresa May was asked what was the naughtiest thing she’d ever done. Searching frantically for a politically expedient answer May eventually settled on ‘running through the wheat fields with my friends’. This is truly a woman of the people, a life plucked straight from the pages of ‘Cider With Rosie’. I wasn’t expecting her to say she turned the vicarage into a crack den but really? So, how do you decide who to vote for? Below is my attempt to make some sense of the manifestos, without reference to the Lib Dems, UKIP, SNP or the Greens – because this time round they are all wasted votes.
TM – stop free school lunches, ensuring that the JAMs will have to find an extra £1000 per year to feed their kids. Continue charging over £9000 for university tuition fees and no promise that these will not rise further leading to fewer teenagers from poorer backgrounds being able to take advantage of a university education.
JC – keep free school lunches. No university tuition fees, debts already accrued by current students to be wiped from the records, maintenance grants awarded to at least the poorest students and probably to everyone. Free school places for all 2 – 4 year olds.
JC 1 – TM 0
TM – Further cuts to the police service, up to 20% because ‘we have to live within our means’. Continued bombing in Syria, Iraq, maybe Syria and Afghanistan. Continue to put £ millions into anti-radicalisation programmes like Prevent and Engage, which have singularly failed to stop a single terrorist attack. Spend £50+ billion on the Trident nuclear programme for a weapon that could/should never be used.
JC – an extra 10,000 police officers on the beat, keep current funding levels for anti-terror police and MI5, perhaps rising as needs be. Look for alternative methods of tackling terror groups abroad including a concerted attempt to cut off funding to those groups. A strategic defence review to decide whether Trident is a good use of £50+ billion.
JC 2 – TM 0
TM – No, they’ve got nothing. Not on their radar. Apart from fracking, they do like a bit of fracking in the Tory party…….but not in Conservative areas….just in Labour areas.
JC – Policies to tackle air pollution which kills tens of thousands a year. No fracking, money into renewables, subsidies for green companies, bringing energy companies back into public ownership and lower bills for electricity and gas.
JC 3 – TM 0
TM – Privatisation, privatisation, privatisation. Cuts (sorry, efficiency savings), longer waiting lists, fewer doctors, fewer nurses, longer waits to see your GP. Ambulance response times up, mental health funding down, premature deaths up. Dementia tax.
JC – Reverse privatisation, ban private companies from contracting with the NHS, better procurement for drugs, an extra £7 billion per year into the system. Improved mental health services and funding. Higher taxes on the rich to pay for better social care.
JC 4 – TM 0
TM – More of the same. Austerity. Not even the staunchest Tory would be able to say what May’s vision for Britain’s future is.
JC – Optimistic. Hopeful. A brighter future for our children. Publicly owned rail, energy, postal services. A different style of politics. A less bullish foreign policy. Greater opportunities for the less well off. Less influence of the elite.
JC 5 – TM 0
End of part 1.