Saturday, May 13, 2017

Thoughts on the Labour manifesto,

It is not difficult to see why some parts of the Labour manifesto are very popular with some people - especially those with short memories.

It is infuriating when you go to hospital to visit someone sick, and even more so when you are yourself ill or taking someone who is ill and needs treatment, to have to fish around for coins to feed some infernal parking meter.

It won't be much less irritating when you can pay to park using a contactless card.

Of course hospital car parking charges are highly unpopular - it's how Labour would pay for scrapping them that's the problem.

Tax on private healthcare - in other words, on people who have already paid their share of the costs of the NHS through their taxes and choose to pay again by going private - is likely to make some of them decide they can't afford private healthcare so they will use the NHS instead. Only a complete cretin or a member of the shadow cabinet could fail to understand that this will increase demand for NHS services and put MORE pressure on our NHS hospitals.

And the problem of "how do we pay for this and what will be the impact?" runs right through their manifesto.

Of course the idea of scrapping student tuition fees is immensely popular with everyone who is about to go to University, everyone with kids who might go to university, and everyone who believes in education. I fought a general election myself on a manifesto promise to scrap them when I still thought that the country could afford to do so. But that was two years before the 2007 crash.

That was then, this is now. It isn't just the economics of the tooth fairy to believe that Britain can afford to scrap tuition fees anytime soon - it's the politics of the tooth fairy to believe that Labour will keep their word and scrap tuition fees any time soon if through some disaster Labour were elected.

Don't forget that tuition fees were introduced in the first place by a Labour government which had been elected on a manifesto promising not to introduce them, but Labour broke their word.

Tuition fees were then greatly increased by a Labour government which had been re-elected on a manifesto promising not to introduce "top-up fees" but again Labour broke their word.

Nick Clegg is not only not the only party leader to have broken a promise on student tuition fees, he isn't even the worst offender.

And then there are the railways. Not by any means a perfect service, which is why the idea of giving them an almighty kick up the backside is popular, but anyone who wants the railways renationalised is either too young to remember the days of the nationalised British Rail, or has a selective memory.

If you don't think the railways could possibly be worse than they are now, I certainly remember when they were. Just look up the safety figures for fatal railway accidents for a start - during the seventies and eighties more people were killed on the nationalised railways every year on average than have died on Britain's present privatised railway network in the last decade.

I'm not ever going to start on what Jeremy Corbyn's nuclear policies would do to the economy of Cumbria.

Robert Colville on CAPX accuses Labour of taking the voters for fools and he has a point.

Diane Abbott must have done Labour's sums - they do not remotely add up.

There was an episode of "The New Statesman" in which both Labour and the Conservatives were deliberately trying to lose a forthcoming election.

A Labour spokesman makes a speech in which he produces a great list of wonderful sounding promises, and then Alan B'Stard (who with his usual treachery has an arrangement with him) asks

"How are you going to pay for all this?"

and gets the answer

"Ah. That is the problem."

This Labour manifesto really is that joke come to life.

I won't pretend I think that a Labour win in the election on 8th June is likely but ironically the greatest danger to the Conservatives is the fact that almost everyone other than fanatical members of the cult of Corbyn is convinced Theresa May is going to win.

Nobody with a working brain who has spent as much time as I have meeting voters over the past few months can be unaware that Jeremy Corbyn and his policies are electoral poison to many of voters.

Labour's best chance is the possibility that complacent Tory voters don't think they need to turn out, or that swing voters who would never in a million years deliberately elect Jeremy Corbyn might miscalculate, thinking that a Conservative win is nailed on and that they can risk a tactical vote to trim what was expected to be a Conservative majority.

The simple fact is that no election is over until all the votes are counted and nobody should ever take an election result for granted.

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