Also known as the “Invitation to Join the Government of Britain” the Tory manifesto was launched today. Much like the Labour one I wondered about which planet they were on when they wrote it. It seems to be all give aways – in a time of economic crisis! Electoral bribes, sorry, inducements are what they understand. They did after all dominate the Top 10 of all MPs who really knew how to milk the Parliamentary Expenses Cow. So, in a nutshell, what was in it? Basically, it’s all about you doing the work of government, not the government (but you still pay taxes).
Well, according to Tory Grandee Michael Gove on Newsnight on Tuesday evening, communities should be able to take over or set up their own schools, based on the US Charter Schools. The new schools shouldn’t have so much paperwork, we should trust people to do things right. So, Charter School or Paedophile’s Charter? Maybe even a Madrassa? They do seem a little confused though: on one hand they want schools to be able to pay the best teachers more, but they want to reduce the paperwork that measures the performance of the teachers. For old Etonians of course, it isn’t which school a teacher is at that counts, but which school they went to. Class always shows through.
Then there’s the Police. Never mind the Tory Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, believes sacking 450 police officers in the Capital will make it easier to increase the number of police officers on the beat, the new Conservative Manifesto wants to introduce an elected Police Commissioner for each Police Force. Just like in America. So instead of chasing criminals, the Tories want the Police to chase the headlines. Never mind the existing local Police Authorities’ local accountability.
What about Health? Again it’s a story of rolling back the state – privatisation by a different name. They want to reduce the number of managers in the NHS, just so the Doctors and Nurses can do it instead. After all, the one year waiting lists have for the most part been dealt with so there’s plenty of fat to peck at for efficiency savings there. Oh, you mean you actually like not having to wait a year for an op like your parent’s did in the Conservative 90s?
What about Local Government? Cameron & Co want a referendum possibility if councils want to increase Council Tax. So, if George Osborne gets his numbers wrong (again) and Whitehall needs more money, the Local Authority budgets can be raided indirectly by not providing them with enough grant from London, meaning that local people will have to vote on whether to keep open a special needs school or not. Having said that, I agree with the principle that there should be more referendums, but shouldn’t the people decide what about, not Cameron’s Conservatives?
As for rolling back the State, do you really think people – ordinary, working people, not the idle rich mind – do you really think ordinary people will club together to run things the State under the Tories wants to give up on? How will the vacuum be filled in Inner City areas? How will poor areas get hold of resources? How will ordinary people spare the time when you need three jobs just to be able to afford a mortgage on a house these days?
There’s lot’s of claims of Britain having a broken society, but surely a lot of that is to do with the way communities were ripped apart the last time the Tories rolled back the State back in the 1980s. According to Michael Gove though, parents just aren’t bringing their children up properly. Still, they missed a trick there – they could have blamed the Labour lot for being responsible for house prices going up by more than 200% while they were in office, thereby increasing the number of layabout latch-key kids while parents work their butts off to pay for it all and split up because of the financial pressures and stress.
If the Conservatives really want to roll back the State, they’ll allow Local Authorities to collect Income Tax, not Whitehall. That would really empower local communities and enable them to take control of their own destinies. But can you really see any of the greedy Tories that stand behind the Cameron wrapper actually giving up that much power once you vote them in? Of course, Labour aren’t any better on this score. Only the LibDems have a good record on expenses – for instance NO claims for second homes for Outer London LibDem MPs, the only one of the Big Three parties who can claim this.
As for the deficit, how about this nice tax cut instead? £3 a week for families! You people can buy a lot with that you know! And for the millionaires amongst you, how about a little bit of help with that terrible Inheritance Tax thingy – increasing the allowance from £325,000 per person to £1,000,000 per person, that’s £2,000,000 per couple, will save you a cool half a million plus a new Land Rover – and we’ll bring back hunting!
As for cuts, well, because VAT will be going up (only the LibDems have said they wouldn’t need to raise it) the Conservatives want to address the public’s distaste for politics just now by reducing the number of MPs by 10% and Minister’s pay by 5%. Well, that’ll make a big dent in the deficit, won’t it? Well, it will when we see 25% job cuts in public services which will remove more money from the economy and make the recession even longer. After all, we can always blame it on the Brown bunch; it’s all their fault anyway – it’s got nothing to do with all our rich banker friends who always vote for us and give us nice jobs when we retire like good ol’ Ken Clark got from Barclays. They aren’t greedy you know, they’re just rebalancing wealth in their favour and sod the rest.
Well, surely there must be something good about the manifesto you ask? Yes, of course, It looks really good compared the Labour offering’s out of date, not quite attractive look; it’s got a nice, serious font and lot’s of green all over the place (that always gets some votes you know).
Best of all though, there’s no tricky financial detail in there to show how things work. The devil is in the detail, but which Tory supporter wants anyone else to think they are the devil in disguise?