Well, well, well, some parties so called Manifestos are out this week. Should we have expected them to be jammed full of surprises? No, not really, the only real surprise is that they didn’t appear at the start of the campaign nor even earlier, don’t you think?
[MANIFESTO:- Plaid Cymru (TWO WEEKS AGO): Labour (YESTERDAY): SNP (YESTERDAY/20 APRIL): Conservatives (TODAY): Greens (TODAY): LibDems (TOMORROW?): UKIP (? reportedly as late as possible):
In previous elections the incumbent Prime Minister kept their cards close to the chest so nobody knew when a General Election would be called – consequently all Parties had draft documents on the shelf, which they had to blow the dust off and revamp a bit before they could present them to the eagerly awaiting voting public, didn’t they? Not this time though, eh? No, by bringing in a fixed-term parliament, we have all known the boring timing of the election for a full five years – so why the delay in publishing the Manifestos then?
Cynically it is all about timing you see and catching the limelight, so it is little to do with the Parties telling us anything significant about what in fact they will or ‘can’ do, for us to decide on our election options.
Use of a ‘manifesto’ document is something certainly going back four hundred years (if not a thousand), but what actually is it anyway, you might ask? Well, it is supposed to be a clear attention seeking public statement about the matters covered. Therein lies a basic problem, because Party political manifestos are more concerned with being noticed than content, and are simply declarations of ‘intentions’ rather than promises of real action – as our politicians continue to pretend (it carries an idea or notion of doing something new – but don’t bank on it, will you?).
In Britain we currently basically have a two party system whereby ONLY Conservative or Labour are in a position to form (or lead) a government – so why the hell do we have to face manifestos (that tell us how they are going to run the Country) from the likes of SNP, UKIP, LibDems, Greens, Plaid Cymru for goodness sake?
When Labour or Conservatives form a government they are prepared to belligerently ignore their manifesto so called “pledges” and do their ideological own thing (which they have successfully hidden from the voting public before the Election, eh?). You get bizarre situations where the minor parties to gather votes, make grandiose promises because they can never be held to account, as they can never see power – that is how the LibDems got caught out at the last Election when they made strident promises to oppose university ‘tuition fees’ increases, only to find that they had unexpectedly been thrust into power (incidentally, a ‘broken promise’ that has destroyed the credibility of the party at a stroke).
When the big boys are all at it and unashamedly veer-off, without any reasonable excuse, from their manifesto messages, they blame the other party, lack of prior information, a hung parliament, an unexpected event, or even just blag it out, don’t they? They frequently rely on Joe Public not remembering the promises.
For instance some Tory promises made before the last Election and broken since were:
- No top-down reorganisation of the NHS (a commitment met with the biggest one in history)
- No VAT rise plans (within weeks jacked-up 2 ½ %)
- Immigration to be cut to tens of thousands net (“no ifs or buts” – the flow now at three hundred thousand net)
- No means test on ‘Child Benefit’ (“read my lips” – but introduced two years ago nevertheless)
- Sure Start children centres would be backed & protected (disgraceful Labour scaremongering to say otherwise? Now decimated with over five hundred closures and half others without onsite children)
- Stop the “forced” closure of accident and emergency wards (followed by closures on an unprecedented scale)
- FJF no change plans (the jobs fund scrapped)
- No scrapping EMA plans (Labour scaremongering? Scrapped this education allowance within the year)
[The 2015 General Election will be no different of course, so in five years time we can all have the fun of blowing the cobwebs off the winner’s manifestos and being amazed about the number of falsehoods, don’t you think?]