A guest post by Samuel Miller
Today’s the day we saw betterthigitherness coming home to roost in all its pooling and sharing glory. Are we surprised that a Tory government finally came for you where you live? ‘Forward together’ with ‘strong and stable’ government in the national interest. “Stronger, fairer and more prosperous than ever before” is the claim. And if you don’t agree with that leadership? Presumably yer agin’ the national interest I suppose.
Today was Tory manifesto day and it’s a helluva document for yer average Joe Public to peruse. Full of the usual policy wonk doublespeak (as are most manifestos tbf), and robbing Peter to pay Paul economic waffle, which basically means we’re still skint and I’m passing round the hat to those who can least afford it. There are however, subjects that stand out to almost everyone who takes an interest. Even if you don’t understand in depth everything your’re reading, you’ll find something that catches your eye and hits you right where you live. This latest offering from the Conservatives has a fair amount to struggle through and more than a few hot chestnuts for the clever clogs out there to be chewing over. How and ever, a wee taster to be getting on with:
The repeal of the Fixed Term Parliaments act (Translation: If any PM or government finds itself in the shit, as now, call a snap election and try to extend your term in office).
The end of the triple lock for pensions post 2020 (You really, really don’t want a translation for that one).
Scrapping stage 2 of the Leveson inquiry (Translation: keep your best buds sweet and onside).
Enactment of the Great Repeal Bill to proceed (Translation from Bond villain speak: Mwahahahahahaha!)
Fracking to be actively pursued as a revenue stream (Translation: see under Great Repeal Bill)
Immigration in general to be cut to 100k across all nationalities and a focus on reduction of immigration from Europe after Brexit (Translation: Vote for me ’cause I’m jolly difficult!)
As I say that’s just a taste, but let’s move on to the devolved legislatures. Obviously we’re particularly interested in Scotland at this point which, as everyone knows, is still part of Theresa’s preciousss, preciousss union. Just so folk are crystal clear on the current state of the Scottish parliament and its powers:
“It was the Conservative and Unionist party that delivered the 2012 and 2016 Scotland acts, and only the Conservative and Unionist party can deliver further powers and the best possible deal for Scotland as we leave the European Union” (page 32 Conservative manifesto)
Should we thank Theresa for control of the awesome powers of APD, aggregates levy, road signage and responsibility for collecting a percentage of income tax now or on June 8th? Also, I’m wondering if Labour and the Libdems should feel relieved that the PM has expunged them of any complicity in the current settlement or not? The dears did work so hard before, during and after the last indyref to bring the current constitutional omnishambles to everyone’s doorstep. Gordon, I’m sure, will probably feel terribly hurt and left out. It’d seem a shame not to give them their due place in the big show, or perhaps the PM has? Now that is a thought for their current leadership to ponder.
Moving on though, we find on page 36 and 37 the meat on the bones. The enactment of the Great Repeal Bill. The good news? EU laws and protections won’t end overnight (honest). There is however a ‘but’ to that statement:
“The Bill will also create the necessary powers to correct the laws that do not operate appropriately once we have left the EU, so our legal system can continue to function outside the EU. Once EU law has been converted into domestic law, parliament will be able to pass legislation to amend, repeal or improve any piece of EU law it chooses, as will the devolved legislatures, where they have the power to do so.” (Uh huh!)
“As powers return from the EU we will be able to determine the level best placed to take decisions on these issues.” (Uh huh with knobs on! Oh, and who is this we Kemosabe?)
“We will not bring the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights into UK law. We will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the process of Brexit is underway but we will consider our human rights legal framework when the process of leaving the EU concludes.” (The knobs now have knobs)
Oh and “No deal is better than a bad deal”, “Brexit means Brexit” and the sun always shines on TV. There’s something in there for everyone, from the youngest in our society to the oldest, NO ONE gets missed out for special treatment. That you may not want to go forward together with Treeza is understandable by this point. That, haud the phone, you might not agree that she presents either a strong and stable leadership, or a vision of a fairer, more prosperous society could mark you as a dangerous extremist acting against the ‘national interest’. Pure divisive this politics lark, so it is.
Make no mistake though, this is Theresa’s idea of moving the UK to a fairer, stronger, more productive society and country (don’t get me started on her use of the singular). That would be a fairer, stronger, more productive Conservative society then. A society where you better not be a third child. A society where you work till you die. A society where you daren’t get ill, or through no fault of your own become jobless. Theresa’s society is a society for those strong enough, fit enough, lucky enough.
The rest of us? The poor, the disabled, the jobless, the disenfranchised, those who don’t conform, don’t think the way Treeza does? Well she did say this was a Conservative manifesto. The PM’s vision of the UK going ‘forward’ doesn’t sound very forward at all to me, but then I’m not big on the whole survival of the fittest school of political ideology.
You can change this future with only two more votes.
Think about that.