Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Review of Conservative Manifesto

This is a quick review of the manifesto of the Conservative Party, based on the bullet-point summary provided by the BBC here.  I will make a brief comment on each bullet and award a score as follows:

  • 2 points if I agree and it is important, or I very strongly agree
  • 1 points if I agree but I don't consider it important
  • 0 points if I am unsure or don't care
  • -1 points if I disagree but I don't consider it important
  • -2 points if I disagree and it is important, or I very strongly disagree

I'll do the same for the Labour Party, the Lib Dems and UKIP over the coming days.  I have already written a detailed review of the Libertarian Party manifesto here.


Health and Care


  • -1: The NHS doesn't need more funding, the system is flawed and we need a free market in healthcare
  • +1: Every person should pay for their own care or find somewhat willing to voluntarily pay for them; taxpayers should not be forced to pay
  • -1: There shouldn't be a cap, see above
  • +1: No problem deferring bills as long as they get paid (though this should be a decision for the each care home to make individually).

Brexit


  • +2: We sensibly voted to leave the EU, and this includes leaving the single market and customs union, as was made clear before the referendum
  • +2: Correct, no deal would be better than a bad deal, and better than remaining in the EU
  • +1: The settlement is less important than the ongoing arrangements, but we should still seek to get back some of what we have contributed to the EU over the years, and certainly shouldn't pay a bill to be allowed to leave!
  • +1: Yes, for an orderly transition, just translate all EU law into UK law, then after we've left we can remove the (many) parts of EU law that are bad for the UK.

Immigration


  • +1: Quality is more important than quantity, but reducing the total number should mean those who get accepted are better quality
  • -1: Companies should be able to employ whoever they want, so they should not be penalised for hiring immigrants
  • +1: This would help ensure immigrants are economically self-supporting and therefore a net benefit to the UK
  • 0: This would depend on whether the students are an economic benefit to the country or an economic loss, and I don't know which is the case.

Economy and Taxes


  • +1: A balanced budget is important because future generations should not be burdened with the debt of the current generation.  This should be achieved by reduced spending, not by increased taxation.  It should be done as soon as possible and should easily be achieved sooner than 2025.
  • +2: Taxation is theft and economically destructive, so should be eliminated, or at least reduced, and certainly not increased
  • +2: See above, any and all tax cuts should be welcomed
  • 0: Depends what the review finds, obviously.  Hopefully it will reach the sensible conclusion that reducing business rates will help businesses thrive, create jobs, economic growth and cheaper products.

Education and Family


  • -1: The problem with state-run schools is the same as with any socialist system (waste, inefficiency, bad incentives, lack of innovation, inability to rationally allocate resources, etc).  Since the problems in the schools are systemic, throwing more money at them would just be a waste of taxpayers' money.  Homeschooled children and children that go to schools outside the state system get a better education than those in state-run schools.
  • -1: All state schools should have their budgets cut - to zero!
  • +1: All types of schools should be allowed
  • -1: Tinkering with the qualification system (again!) is not going to help anyone.

Housing


  • -1: Government should not be in the business of building houses; they should get out of the way so that the private sector can get on with it.  All council houses should be sold immediately
  • +1: I presume this means reducing regulations so that the private sector can meet the strong demand for more houses in this country, rather than building council or subsidised housing
  • +1: Government should not be owning any land, so if this means freeing up government-owned land for the private sector I am all for it
  • -1: Government should not be in the business of making sure people have houses.  If some people need the kind of help this Act proposes, let private charities provide it.  They will do a better job and won't use force to obtain funds.

Welfare and Pensions


  • +1: State pensions should be privatised, but at least this will ensure that pensioners don't benefit from income increases above both inflation and wages, at the expense of younger people who are working hard to make ends meet
  • +1: Winter fuel payments should be paid by private charities, not the state, but at least this will ensure that wealthy pensioners who do not need the money will not receive them any more; any private charity would adopt a similar policy
  • 0 (-1 and +1): It should be up to bus companies whether they allow pensioners to travel for free, they should not be state-subsidised.  The exclusion from having to pay for a TV license should be kept, and extended to everyone, i.e. it should be abolished immediately as an unjust, unfair and archaic method of funding what is mostly state propaganda
  • -1: All regulators should have less power, not more power; people should be free to make exchanges with anyone they please on any terms they wish so long as there is no force or fraud involved.

Foreign and Defence


  • -2: The UK should withdraw from all these organisations, and work with other nations to address international issues on a purely case-by-case basis.  No entangling alliances!
  • +1: The UK should definitely become a global champion for free trade, but not by signing new trade deals, which are totally unnecessary.  The UK should declare universal free trade unilaterally, setting an example for other countries to follow
  • -2: Individuals should be able to decide who receives the money they wish to spend on charitable causes, by donating to private charities.  Government-to-government aid is typically ill-targeted, inefficient and increases corruption, such as by supporting dictatorships in Africa
  • -1: UK defence spending should not be bound to any target set by NATO or anyone else; defense spending should be reduced by cutting out all overseas spending.

Future of the UK


  • +2: Decisions should always be made as close as possible to the individuals affected by them, which means devolution should be extended, and certainly not reversed
  • -1: Each nation (indeed each county and even each individual) should be allowed to declare independence from the UK whenever they wish.  It should not be up to Westminster to decide when Scotland has it's second referendum, but the Scots themselves.  Personally, I'd advise the Scots to wait until Brexit is finished, but it should be up to them
  • 0: The number of civil servants should be reduced.  What would be the point of moving them out of London and the South East?
  • -1: This fund is apparently to be used to reduce inequality between regions, effectively a new subsidy payment from the south to the north, to replace EU subsidies.  Government should not be involved in transfer payments of any kind, including to reduce inequality.  Let the regions secede if they wish.

Transport and Environment


  • -1: Government should not be involved in the transport industry; all transport infrastructure should be privatised and government should get out of the way for the private sector to deliver a better service at a lower price
  • -1: Government should not get involved in any disputes between companies and their employees.  Employees should be allowed to strike, as long as they do not initiate violence against anyone.  Companies should be allowed to fire employees who strike
  • -1: Heathrow Airport should be completely private, and the question of expanding it should be made on a commercial basis by the owners of the airport
  • -1: Rail tickets should be priced in whatever way the rail companies believe is best and it is no business of government how they price their tickets.  Genuine competition in the rail industry (no monopolies, no regulations, no subsidies) would help ensure that rail companies make decisions based on what is best for their customers.

Overall

  • Health and Care: 0
  • Brexit: +6
  • Immigration: +1
  • Economy and Taxes: +5
  • Education and Family: -2
  • Housing: 0
  • Welfare and Pensions: +1
  • Foreign and Defence: -4
  • Future of the UK: 0
  • Transport and Environment: -4

Final Score: +3


Have I been fair in my review?  Do you agree with how I have scored the policies?  Let me know in the comments below.

Over the next few days, I'll do a similar review of Labour, the Lib Dem and UKIP manifestos.  I wonder if any of them will get a higher score than the Conservatives.,.



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