Conservative Party Manifesto
To a Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in England
I have downloaded and read your manifesto which invites me to ‘join the government of Britain’. The ‘invitation’ refers to Britain as ‘a country’ containing ‘a nation’. However Britain is composed of three countries, each with its own nation. Moreover, despite claiming to be a party of the Union your party is split into Welsh and Scottish (but not English) divisions and issues additional manifestos for Scotland and Wales, which I have also downloaded. All three manifestos refer to ‘our country’ or ‘our nation’. How are we to understand the difference between these words in your manifesto for ‘Britain’ and those for Scotland and Wales? What is not ‘British’ about Scotland and Wales? Perhaps it is that they are not governed wholly by an imperial British Government as we are in England?
Clearly then your manifesto for ‘Britain’ addresses England but no-one in England would know that from the manifesto. However, under ‘Mend our Broken society’, all three of you manifestos state that your party wants to make Britain a fairer place where opportunity is more equal. So what are we to understand by the use of the word Britain here in your party’s manifesto for England? Clearly then the use of the word ‘Britain’ is interchangeably used for Britain and England. This is not transparency! Nor is your party offering equal opportunity to people in England.
Unlike your party’s manifesto for England, your party’s manifestos for Scotland and Wales continually refer to these countries and address both reserved and devolved matters! Your party cannot introduce its policies on reserved matters into Scotland and Wales by way of a general election, so what relevance do these policies have? However the differential policies outlined for devolved matters show that the conservative Party does not have a consistent policy for the ‘Union’.
Under ‘Macroeconomic Stability’ your party’s manifestos refer to increasing spending on health in ‘Britain’ so that a proportion of those funds are available for Scotland and Wales. Your party’s manifestos go on to say that your party will cute wasteful departmental spending. What savings can a British government make when it is only responsible for spending in England except where spending is in a reserved department. What proportion of theses departmental savings are assigned to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? In addition an undertaking is made to reduce the number of MPs by 10%. However the manifestos do not say whether these savings will apply equally to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Further your party’s Scottish division manifesto states that there will be an end to free prescriptions (they are in fact £3.00 in Scotland) and free school meals. However it does not state that the Scots will be required to pay the same levy as we in England. Nor does your party’s Welsh division manifesto state that your policy for Wales is to remove the existing free prescription benefit not enjoyed by us here.
Under ‘Get Britain Working Again’ your party claims in its manifesto for Scotland that your MSPs have successfully demanded cuts in rates for 150,000 small and medium sized businesses over the last few years. Have your Westminster MPs endeavoured to do the same for the equivalent number of similarly sized English businesses?
Your party’s Scottish division manifesto expresses concern about to the lack of funding for Scottish universities but does not, however, address the discrimination within the so-called union regarding tuition fees.
Under ‘Create a Modern Transport Network’ only your ‘British’ manifesto it states that your party will give councils more powers to get traffic flowing more smoothly. Is this road pricing by another name and why is this policy not reflected in your manifestos for Scotland and Wales? In your party’s Scottish division manifesto it states that you have plans to expand the number of rural petrol (sic) stations eligible for rate relief. Is this a policy that your party has for England in a United Kingdom? Similarly in your party’s Scottish division manifesto it states that the Scottish Government could create a new Business Dividend Fund giving local authorities funds for every new business. Is this a policy that your party has for England, it does not appear to be in the ‘British’ manifesto. It also states that Scottish Civic leaders will have as much opportunity to influence reserved policy as their counterparts in the rest of the UK. Who would be the counterparts specifically dedicated to representing England?
Under ‘Public services Reform’ it states that you will publish the salaries of senior civil servants in central government but your party does not propose that this should be done for the additional bureaucrats required by the Scottish Government. Your party’s Scottish division manifesto states that your party will publish a standard set of cost measures that capture the key drivers of Whitehall spending. Since most of that spending is on English Departments why do you not have the same policy for those departments at Holyrood especially as the manifesto concerns itself with transparency in these matters?
Under ‘Build a Greener Economy’ your party’s Scottish division manifesto states that your party will encourage local councils to introduce green discounts for council tax and business rate. As a ‘party of the union’ we would expect the same provisions to be made for England.
Under ‘Build the Big society’ Your party’s ‘British’ manifesto states that your party intends to introduce National Citizen Service for 16 year olds. Clearly this can only be introduced in England and possibly Wales but not Scotland despite the pious hopes in your party’s Scottish division manifesto. Is this service to be compulsory or be a service a child cannot refuse without an effect on his or her future? In your party’s Welsh Division manifesto it states that your party will empower communities to take over Post Offices under threat. Does this policy extend to England? It does not say so in your party’s ‘British’ manifesto.
Under ‘Reform tax and benefits’, in your party’s ‘British’ manifesto, it states that your party intends to freeze council tax to help ‘Britain’s’ families. However your party does not advocate this for Wales, which is part of Britain. Moreover, to do this your party intends to make cut backs in government (which government?) advertising and consultants. However, while advocating a continuance of this policy, which has already benefited people in Scotland for three years, your party does not make any recommendation regarding cut backs in Scotland to pay for it.
Under ‘ Give Families more Control over their Lives’ your party’s Scottish division manifesto refers to 12.5 hours of free child care in the week. There is no reference to this benefit in your party’s ‘British’ manifesto. Surely there should be equal benefits in a fair union as set out in the 1707 Act of Union?
Under ‘Back the NHS’ in your party’s ‘British’ manifesto it makes no reference to increased spending on the English Health Service but rather refers to cutting the cost of administration and to transfer resources to support doctors and nurses on the frontline. However in your party’s Scottish and Welsh divisions manifestos it states that Westminster’s increased spending on the ‘N’(English)HS will produce consequential increases for Scotland and Wales. How are these statements to be reconciled?
In addition in your party’s ‘British’ manifesto it states that one million more people will have access to an NHS dentist. Is this England only or all of Britain? Moreover this manifesto does not state that all the people of England will have access to free dental checks and eye tests as they do in Scotland. Clearly your party does not intend for there to be equality of benefit throughout the union it claims to support. In addition, while your party’s Scottish division manifesto opposes phasing out of prescription charges in Scotland, already only £3.00, it appears to relate only to higher rate taxpayers. A similar undertaking is made in your party’s welsh division manifesto. No mention is made in your party’s ‘British’ manifesto of the inequality of all people in England continuing to pay £7.20 for all their prescriptions even those who have chronic ill health such as asthma sufferers. Yet the conservatives are passionate about the union!
Under ‘Take control of your care’ in your party’s Scottish division manifesto your party claims the accolade for extending free personal care for the elderly in their own homes in Scotland to the preparation of food. Not only does your party not advocate the same provision for the elderly in their own homes in England but also intend to make them insure themselves against the cost of residential care and to cover the costs of receiving care in their own homes. And while the insurance policy for the cost of residential care is also stated in your party’s Scottish division manifesto, where it cannot be implemented, no mention is made of it in your party’s Welsh division manifesto!
Under ‘Better teachers and tougher discipline’ in your party’s ‘British’ manifesto your party states that it will raise the entry requirement for state-funded teacher training. However no mention is made of raising this barrier in your party’s Scottish and Welsh divisions’ manifestos. While EU and Scottish students at Scottish Universities will continue to benefit from free tuition your party’s ‘British’ manifesto only offers relief from student debt for top maths and science graduates who go on to become teachers
Under ‘A rigorous curriculum and exam system’ your party’s ‘British’ manifesto undertakes to create 20,000 additional young apprenticeships. Are these places to be shared out throughout Britain, as the title of your party’s manifesto implies and if so how are they to be apportioned? In addition in this manifesto your party undertakes to publish performance data held by the DCMS. Is that the English Department or the British one? Will this undertaking be matched in Scotland and Wales? In your party’s Scottish division manifesto it states that sports trust funds will be set up to allow all pupils to take part in sports in their school or community and also to experience a full week of residential outdoor education at least once between the ages of 11 and 15. Is this benefit to be extended to England’s children in the spirit of equality within the union?
Under ‘reforming the criminal justice system’ in your party’s Scottish division manifesto your party advocates the introduction of lie detector tests for sex offenders and greater use of GPS for tracking those on bail who might flee the country. Why are these approaches not being put forward in England in the interests of public safety?
Under ‘a new agenda for a new politics’ in your party’s ‘British’ manifesto it states that your party will cut the size of Parliament, the scope of Whitehall and the cost of politics. Clearly the British Parliament can be significantly reduced in size by reducing it’s workload rather than have fewer politicians with the same workload. What is abundantly clear is that for a balanced union the British parliament should concern itself only with reserved matters and leave devolved matters to devolved administrations.
In your party’s ‘British’ and Welsh manifestos your party undertakes to make politics more local. Politics is already ‘more local’ in Wales with their own national Assembly. That affirmation of nationhood is to be omitted in your plans for England and despite your party’s claim the ‘top down’ model most proximately affects England, which is and will continue to be ruled by an imperial British Government. Your party’s ‘British’ manifesto states that power will be handed from Whitehall to ‘communities’. What natural communities is your party referring to? Clearly in your party’s Scottish division manifesto it means Holyrood, the seat of the national Scottish Parliament, and from there to the people of Scotland.
Under ‘Make politics more accountable’ your party’s ‘British’ manifesto refers to the revelations about MPs that have detached voters from the political process. The majority of these MPs were returned from English constituencies and the majority of their influence was on English domestic affairs. Voters in Scotland and, to a lesser extent Wales, are not as concerned since the domestic matters most close to them are governed by their own national politicians. Your party’s ‘British’ manifesto claims that your party wants power to be returned to the people of Britain. It already has been in Scotland and Wales and we in England are still waiting for similar consideration.
In addition your party’s three manifestos call for every vote to have equal value. However the value of a vote in England is permanently halved since we have no opportunity to vote for representatives in a devolved national parliament. Moreover your party is promoting the concept of an elected second chamber. This will perpetuate the ‘upper West Lothian question whereby laws for England are revised and debated by a second chamber composed of Lords from other countries where there is no reciprocal arrangement.
Under ‘Make politics more transparent’ your party’s ‘British’ manifesto is a testament to the lack of transparency with regard to the effects of devolution on England that your party and the other ‘unionist’ parties perpetuate. This was starkly illustrated in the TV debates where the three leaders made a point of never referring to England or what matters were relevant to England only. In addition your party’s three manifestos call for accountability but nowhere does your party address the evil of unaccountable MPs voting on and making policy for England.
Under ‘Make politics more local’ your party’s ‘British’ manifesto calls for elected mayors in England’s largest cities. ‘Localism’ is no substitute for national devolution and is not set out as an alternative for national devolution in your party’s Scottish and Welsh divisions manifestos.
Under ‘Strengthen the union’ in your party’s ‘British’ manifesto it states that your party will rebalance the unfairness in the voting system. In fact your party’s adoption of the Clarke proposals still allows all members of the House of Commons to vote on English only matters and they retain the power to defeat English bills even though they have been approved at committee stage by MPs from English constituencies. While your party’s manifestos state that your party is ‘passionate about the union’ they do nothing to rebalance the union. Moreover your party’s Welsh division manifesto tells us that your party intends to further unbalance the union by allowing the people of Wales to determine, by way of a referendum, whether they want further legislative powers for their national assembly. Further your party’s Scottish division manifesto tells us that your party would make British Treasury Ministers available to the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee pre and post British budgets. Who, in this cosy affair, will represent English interests? Your party’s ‘British’ manifesto tells us that your party will end ‘double jobbing’. Will that not mean more politicians, a false objection always tossed out when people in England call for equal treatment. A false objection since it is based on the fallacy that 646 MPs are needed to deal only with reserved matters. Nowhere in any of your party’s three manifestos does your party mention the inequity of the Barnett formula which discriminates against the people of England. How will that running sore strengthen the union?
Under ‘Conserve and enhance the natural environment’ your party’s Scottish division manifesto tells us that your party wants the label ‘Scottish’ to be protected as well as ‘British’. Does your party want the label’ English’ to be supported and protected?
Under ‘Support our brave armed forces’ your party’s Welsh division manifesto promises to review the rules governing the award of medals. Does this not apply also to England?
Your party’s Scottish division manifesto shows subtle discrimination by praising Scottish achievements on page 17, whereas your party’s ‘British’ and Welsh manifestos make no such approbation based on national origin. Moreover unlike your party’s Welsh and ‘British’ division manifestos, your party’s Scottish division manifesto exhibits further discrimination by using illustrations that are entirely of Scotland, not the rest of Britain, and Scots, not other Britons, and does not include the ethnic minority Briton in ‘A New Agenda for a New Politics’
The policies that your party advocates in devolved matters not only cannot be delivered by any of the MPs we select at a general election but also cannot be delivered in the devolved administrations unless the Executive is dominated by the additional Conservative politicians that sit there.
Here is an extract from the Conservative Party Manifesto:
And we will stop the practice of ‘double-jobbing’, whereby elected representatives sit in both Westminster and Stormont.
Labour have refused to address the so-called ‘West Lothian Question’: the unfair situation of Scottish MPs voting on matters which are devolved. A Conservative government will introduce new rules so that legislation referring specifically to England, or to England and Wales, cannot be enacted without the consent of MPs representing constituencies of those countries.
Without a hint of irony the 'double-jobbing' policy statement is immediately followed by their vague and ambiguous policy on the West Lothian Question, which entails asking MPs to 'double-job' as UK MPs in the House of Commons and English MPs in an England-only Committee.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. King James Bible.