The Wicked Witch’s Manifesto
The Conservative & UKIP Party (once known as the Conservative & Unionist Party), has now published its Manifesto for the 2017 General Election called by Teresa May (aka The Wicked Witch of Westminster). The other main parties which campaign throughout the United Kingdom: the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have also published their manifestos. Links to these manifestos can be found on the May’s Brexit General Election page.
Needless to say, the newspapers have a lot to say on the key differences and the serious papers have fairly full coverage:-
- The Independent – General Election 2017
- The Telegraph – General Election 2017
- The Guardian – General Election 2017
Friday 19th May 2017
Interestingly, Frazer Nelson wrote this in the Spectator: “Red Theresa’s manifesto – The Prime Minister’s election strategy is simply to discard ideology“. Paul Goodman of the Conservative Home blog also seemed to be worried about Mrs May’s approach: “The Freedom gap“. Apparently, some Conservatives are worried about the impact of some of Mrs May’s manifesto pledges on longstanding Conservative policies.
Perhaps the most interesting
Torygraph Telegraph story was not on the front pages (where it should have been) but buried in the inner pages: “Cars are Britain’s backbone – here’s what the Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem manifestos mean for motoring“. It is well worth a read. The key points are:
- The UK automotive industry employs over 800,000 people, it exports to over 130 countries around the world.
- Foreign companies – namely Nissan, Toyota and Honda – build global models in Britain for export to the EU, as well as North America and the rest of the world.
- More than half the cars we build here are destined for export to Europe.
- Many of the 800,000 people employed in this industry are understandably worried about their jobs.
- The UK’s automotive industry depends upon unrestricted access to the single market of Europe for survival.
- More than three quarters of SMMT members (77 per cent) said that staying in Europe is best for their business when surveyed in 2016.
So if your family, your employer or your region depends on the UK motor industry or its supply chain – you should not be voting for a party which favours a hard Brexit. Do you want the jobs to move to Belgium or some other EU territory ?
The Evening Standard reported on the polling: “UK General Election poll: Jeremy Corbyn given boost as Labour narrows gap with Tories after manifesto launch“.
Saturday 20th May 2017
Ashley Cowburn writes this in The Independent: “Theresa May’s immigration pledge could have ‘catastrophic consequences’ for the UK economy – The report adds that politicians have ‘failed to challenge the assumption that less immigration would be good for Britain’“.
The same paper also has this: “The Conservatives’ immigration policy damages the economy and tears families apart – and now it’s getting worse – Theresa May and Michael Fallon are too afraid to admit to how much it will cost us to cap immigrant numbers. Luckily, I don’t share such a fear ” Key points:-
- Reducing immigration to the tens of thousands could have “catastrophic consequences” for the British economy
- It is a target the Wicked Witch has in the Conservative Manifesto but which she never achieved as Home Secretary since it was introduced by David Cameron in 2009
- A net migration target of 200,000 is required to avoid collapse – particularly in the NHS and Social Care sectors
- The policy breaks up families, stops students from studying here, prevents talented people contributing to our economy and makes it harder for Britons who have married someone born abroad to settle here
- The Conservatives do not even know the cost of the policy.
Self-evidently, this is the Wicked Witch’s sop to UKIP supporters as she seeks to capture their votes to adhere to her new Conservative + UKIP supporters’ club.
It behoves us all to remember that the United Kingdom has a long history of xenophobia which impacts on immigration policy.
Xenophobia probably goes back to the reign of Elizabeth I and the Armada and certainly to the Victorian era – see this article in The Independent: “Pride and prejudice: The Victorian roots of a very British ambivalence to immigration“.
Politicians, particularly Conservatives – and more recently UKIP, have often sought to pander to prejudice to justify immigration control. Older people will remember familiar expressions of their youth ranging from: “The Wogs begin at Calais” to the infamous leaflet used in the 1964 Smethwick election “If you want a nigger for a neighbour – Vote Liberal or Labour” – see this Wikipedia page on the Conservative Candidate – Peter Griffiths.
The Brexit campaign certainly involved racism and xenophobia: even the
Torygraph Telegraph had this in March 2015: “‘No dogs. No blacks. No Irish’ is now Ukip policy – Nigel Farage has tried to row back his comments about ‘British-born’ workers, but don’t be fooled. This is open, explicit racism“.
See also this June 2016 account in the Guardian: “Brexit has given voice to racism – and too many are complicit”
We should remember that the Wicked Witch has “form” in relation to this issue. See this by James Kirkup in the Telegraph in October 2015: “Theresa May’s immigration speech is dangerous and factually wrong – The Home Secretary is fanning the flames of prejudice in a cynical attempt to become Conservative leader” . The author’s conclusion was: “It’s hard to know where to start with Theresa May’s awful, ugly, misleading, cynical and irresponsible speech to the Conservative Party conference today. If you haven’t seen reports of it, allow me to summarise: “Immigrants are stealing your job, making you poorer and ruining your country. Never mind the facts, just feel angry at foreigners. And make me Conservative leader.” See also this in on the Politics Home site last year: “Theresa May under fire over ‘xenophobic language’ on foreign workers“.
The New Statesman had this: “Hope not Hate: far-right prejudices have moved into the mainstream – Following the ban on National Action and the murder of Jo Cox MP, what is the state of the far-right in Britain today?“
“What we witnessed in 2016 was actually the mainstreaming of some of the more ‘palatable’ views of the extreme far-right, with prejudicial views on Muslims, immigration and other minorities ignited by issues such as Brexit and absorbed into more mainstream political discourse.”
However, “Disagree with them or not, neither Theresa May nor Nigel Farage have called for the extermination of immigrants, asylum seekers and fellow politicians – as those within the extreme far-right have often done“. At least, not yet.
The Observer reports the latest Opinium poll: “Tories ahead by 15 points despite gain for Labour, poll finds“.
The YouGov/Times poll: “Voting Intention: Conservatives 45%, Labour 32% (16-17 May) shows voting intention for the Conservatives down significantly to 45% (from 49% at the weekend). Labour meanwhile are on 32% (from 31%), giving the Tories a 13 point lead.
There was a least a very good Guardian cartoon today: “Martin Rowson on Brexit and Tory plans for social care – cartoon“.