Thursday, 1 June 2017

Review of LibDem Manifesto

This is a quick review of the manifesto of the Liberal Democrat 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

To clarify, since I am libertarian I will give a positive score to any policy that increases liberty and a negative score to any policy that decreases liberty.

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


Health and Care


  • +2: Taxation is theft and economically destructive.  All taxes should be eliminated or reduced, and certainly not raised.
  • -1: Government shouldn't be in the health care business at all.  The waiting time standards for physical health care are abysmal relative to other European countries.  Waiting times for both physical and mental health care should be lower, and the only way to do this is move the NHS towards a free market health care system.
  • -1: See above.  
  • -1: See above.

Brexit


  • -2: We sensibly voted to leave the EU, even knowing there was a "risk" of not getting a deal with the EU.  This is blatantly an attempt to overturn the referendum result and is an absolutely terrible negotiating strategy.  It creates an incentive for the EU to give us the worst possible deal!
  • +1: Almost no one wants EU citizens living here legally to be deported.  Even if no deal is reached with the EU, they would not be deported.  This makes it pointless to use them as a "bargaining chip" in the negotiations, and creates unnecessary uncertainty.
  • -2: We voted to leave the EU and it was made extremely clear that this included leaving the single market and customs union.  This Party clearly has contempt for democracy and the British people.
  • -2: Freedom of movement is unsustainable while we have a welfare state, socialised industries and subsidised housing.  Ending freedom of movement was one of the key reasons why many British people voted to leave the EU.

Immigration


  • -2: See above.
  • +1: High-skilled immigration is needed and benefits the country.
  • -1: Why?  This seems like an arbitrary way to manipulate the net migration figures.
  • -2: Many of these "refugees" are in fact low-skilled economic migrants, or worse are criminals or terrorists.

Economy and Taxes


  • +1: These are sensible goals to have, but they should be achieved by reducing spending, not by increasing taxes.
  • -2: Taxation is theft and economically destructive.  All taxes should be eliminated or reduced, and certainly not raised.
  • -2: Government should not be involved in any of those industries, and certainly shouldn't be borrowing to "invest" in them.
  • -2: See above.  The corporate tax rate was cut from 28% to 19% by the Conservatives and this INCREASED corporate tax receipts.  By reversing these cuts, receipts would likely reduce, as well destroying marginal businesses and jobs, and making products more expensive.  Capital gains and inheritance taxes are similar.

Education and Family


  • -1: Throwing more money at the education system is not going to improve education; only allowing free markets in education will achieve that.  
  • -1: All types of schools should be allowed; let parents decide where they want their children to be schooled, if anywhere.
  • -1: Teachers, like everyone else, should be paid according to the value they produce (their marginal productivity), and the only way to ensure this is to have a free market in schooling and let individual schools decide how much they pay each teacher
  • -1: Students, their parents (or private charities) should pay for their own schooling; taxpayers should not.

Housing


  • -1: Government should not be in the business of building houses; it should get out of the way so that the private sector can build the houses needed to meet demand.
  • -1: See above.
  • -1: Right to buy should be extended and all state-owned houses should be sold to the private sector.
  • -1: Taxation is theft and economically destructive.  All taxes should be eliminated or reduced, and certainly not raised.

Welfare and Pensions


  • -1: Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidise pensioners.  It should be up to bus companies to decide whether to allow pensioners to travel for free.  State pensions should be privatised, but until they are they should not increase at a rate above both inflation and wages, because this is effectively a forced transfer to pensioners from younger people who are working hard to make ends meet
  • +1: Government should not be subsidising anyone, let alone wealthy pensioners.
  • -1: The welfare system should be privatised, so that everyone can decide for themselves who is deserving of their charity.  Private charity is better targeted and delivered more effectively than welfare payments.  
  • -1: See above.

Foreign and Defence


  • -1: We are spending about 2% now, and that should be reduced by refocusing the armed forces as above.
  • -2: Individuals should be able to decide who receives the money they wish to spend on charitable causes.  Government international aid is typically ill-targeted, inefficient and increases corruption, such as by supporting dictatorships in Africa
  • -1: Weapons manufacturers should be able to sell to whoever they please, as long as they are not subsidised by the government.
  • -1: The nuclear deterrent is nothing but a waste of money and a favour to weapons manufacturers.  There are no circumstances in which nuclear weapons should be used, so there is no reason to have them.

Future of the UK


  • +1: Decentralisation should always be welcomed.
  • -1 The Barnett formula is a forced transfer payment from England to the other home nations.  Each nation should support itself.  
  • +2: This would help with decentralisation efforts in places like Yorkshire, Cornwall and Rutland.
  • -1: Scotland would be better off leaving the UK - as would the rest of the UK.

Transport and Environment


  • -1: Government should not subsidising destruction of any kind.
  • -1: Government should not be enforcing any kind of emissions targets or zones.
  • -2: That would be hugely economically destructive (so-called "clean energy" is far more expensive overall than traditional energy sources), and would be completely pointless since the UK makes up only a tiny proportion of greenhouse gas emissions, and the science regarding the effects of greenhouse gases is far from settled.
  • -1: Government should not be involved in the energy industry or deciding between different forms or methods of generating power.

Overall

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

Final Score: -38


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



Don't forget to check out my similar review of the Conservative manifesto here and the Labour manifesto here.  Over the next few days, I'll do a similar review of the UKIP manifesto.

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