The faults in our manifestos

With 5 days to go until the election, I thought reflection upon the main parties manifestos would be a good topic to go in to the voting booth level headed about why all of the parties have got at least one thing wrong, but why some of them may be at least somewhat acceptable faults that we can appreciate the intentions of. This is the first of the blogging series in the run up to the election.

Side note, I will be updating the personal information section of my page with a summary of my ‘political identity’ but I will also try my best to be bitter to all of the parties regardless of my voting intentions. All comments on the manifestos will be using the parties official manifesto published on their website in written format. 

Starting with the current majority party, Conservatives. Putting aside the fact that Theresa May needs to find a synonym for ‘strong’ given that one page in it is mentioned 5 times, it seems admirable that the conservative party want to dispose of traditional conservatism with ‘selfish individualism’ out of the way and dedicate more to the ordinary working families. With establishing sovereign funds for British infrastructure and for the British economy it seems that the conservatives are considering the long term picture thinking of future generations. additional ratification of the Paris agreement would seem to be ideal statements many individuals could support. However the actions proposed by the party to support state funding in areas such as education and healthcare lack clarity and direction, most notably in the section ‘celebrating public service’ which seems appropriate in its intent but lacks clarification on how Nurses being underpaid and on food banks can be helped and junior doctors can get fairer contracts.

The additional section of employment notes how to strive closer to full employment we encourage people to get into work as it is the best route out of poverty. This statement expresses the ignorance of the conservative party towards true reasons for unemployment, issues such as structural unemployment are not simply fixed by getting a job there needs to be greater access routes to employment. Many forms of unemployment are not out of choice and under the poor welfare systems being trialled across the country by the conservatives it is not one many are likely to pursue out of choice. 

A final abode to the mentions of Brexit negotiations, with a clear description that May would like to be associated with ‘strong and stable’ it seems the aspirations of Brexit are not much clearer. In the initial talks about the parties aim it rejects traditional conservative Free Market economy, and the party is very aspirational in talks of securing the free market position it maintains in the EU while also getting the benefits of trade deals outside the EU. These ideals however are highly contradictory to the rest of the manifesto pledging to maintain ‘friction less borders’ but also aiming to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, it is very unlikely May will be able to negotiate such a privileged relationship with the EU no matter how many times she calls it ‘deep and special’ in the manifesto. Ms May is very aware however that these ideals are overly aspirational which is why the statement of ‘no deal is worse than a bad deal’ is being reiterated many times, the fine details and actions are unclear which is likely to work in her favour for accountability when there is minimal to be held to.

Overall the conservative manifesto makes a few promises on numbers such as net migration ‘around tens of thousands’ but like many of the statements made it is vague and lacks accountability. This manifestos has plenty of faults but it is not lacking costings despite many claims because the numbers are there, but a much blatant fault is the lack of direction for many of the goals they wish to achieve setting a starting point and an end goal does not policy make. Least not for a government that wishes to enact some of its manifesto policies, but then I realise why the conservatives have done this, enacting policies that weren’t described in your manifesto isn’t wrong if you have described an end goal which you wish to meet. The conservatives if elected won’t be held accountable to the policies and impacts they make with legislation, more so whether they meet the end goal as the public will be none the wiser to what the true actions of government will be. 

The misdiagnosis of political apathy.

A common concern in the world of politics, at least when avoiding a authoritarian leadership role, is the increasing sense of apathy that has been seen in elections over the recent decades which compromises the heart of democracy. Formal political turnout was at its lowest in the start of this millennium at 59.4% in the 2001 UK election, and has not reached above 67% since then. But the question is why don’t people care, when everyone will conduct themselves in respects to their personal beliefs but won’t convert this into votes at the polls.

Political apathy is diagnosed to many of these non-voters, it is common for the many who do not vote to simply say ‘I don’t care much for politics’ when everyone cares for the issues in their lives. The core values and beliefs of an individual can be placed onto a position on the political spectrum, which can then be translated to a vote at the polls. These individuals forget that the key motivation of politics is to provide social harmony over what society wants, and the apathy towards politics is an apathy to your own wants and desires. Politics needs your opinion and the principle of having an opinion is all that is needed in politics, you are not apathetic you are just misguided on what to do with your opinion.

And now we hear the general cries of ‘my vote doesn’t matter’ and the lack of identification to parties to even vote for. But this mismatch doesn’t need to be perfect it just needs to be engaged with, an increased engagement shows you care and tells politicians they should care too. Just look at the backlash to the Brexit referendum, young people weren’t heard because of poor turnout from their age group but after petitions and the screams of social media the Labour party has truly adapted a manifesto to target young people. These young people are registering to vote at rapid rates never seen before and this is the cure for apathy, it is just being aware and engaging.

Maybe the apathy epidemic isn’t over, we need to wait and see the turnout at the UK election in 2017. It is clear that things are changing in response to poor politics in recent years where people are feeling the backlash of their apathy however it may not be enough to remind people how opinions work in modern society with true democracy.

My political identity

According to my most recent political compass test, I am most closely associated to the political figure of Ghandi. However I don’t feel like I relate to the guy that much so I am going to do a quick breakdown of where I stand on some social and economic issues. It will probably be useful as a guide to know how bias I may be, at least I will be honest about my leanings.

Social issues should be free from the state in many respects, the rights of all individuals should be upheld and protected regardless of race, sexuality or gender. In such a respect I may be likely called a liberal but in my opinion giving someone rights should just be characteristics of a human being rather than a section of the political spectrum.

Economically speaking, government regulation upon businesses is necessary. I do support taxation of the wealthiest for the individual but not at such an expense that an individual should feel disincentive to earn so much money. The taxation system should be closing the gap of inequality and that is the sole purpose, to grant a basic standard of living to all before granting luxuries to those at the top.