The dog that didn’t bark

19 May

What was interesting about the Conservative manifesto announced yesterday was what it did not say rather than what it said. I was expecting just some tiny thing to make some peoples lives better, some little bribe to vote Conservative, and it wasn’t there. The dog didn’t bark.

  • There is no promise not to raise income tax
  • There is no promise not to raise VAT
  • There is no promise not to raise National Insurance

On the thorny subject of immigration there was an intention to reduce immigration to tens of thousands, but no date to achieve this was given and no costings were made. And a Tory minister was on Today this morning saying that the benefits of immigration had not been measured.

The triple lock on pensions is being unlocked. Pensioners beware.

Cash-strapped councils are to be encouraged to build social housing, but no cash is being provided and these houses have to be sold off after after ten years, thus removing the collateral of the councils if they wish to build more.

Carers will be able to take up to a year off work to take care of sick relatives. Only this is unpaid and the employers don’t have to take them back afterwards AND, they do not appear as unemployed and so cannot obtain any benefits whatsoever.

If you get dementia your house will be old after you die to pay for your care.

The only positive aspects were in the words of the speech. The details seem to be entirely negative.

This is an election manifesto meant to help them win the General Election of June 8th. Was it brave to be so realistic about the prospects for the country? Unfortunately ‘brave’ in politics equates to suicidal. The best that can be said of the package is that it will give us more of the same, and that is not good.

Parliament was informed a month ago by Brexit Minister David Davis that the promise that things would be as good after Brexit as before was not really a promise but an aspiration. This suggests to me that the prospects of a ‘successful’ Brexit are just about zero, and he knows it. That is the direction in which we are headed.

To have a manifesto which leaves out all the promises normally expected shows a certain degree of pragmatism which is welcome in this febrile atmosphere. But it also points out that the costs of leaving the EU will impact the UK very hard. Tax rises are to be expected. Pensions and benefits are in greater doubt. The NHS is decidedly unsafe in Conservative hands. That is only being realistic.

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