A short video/podcast on why things went the way they did in the election and what lessons the Tories should take from the result.
When the Exit Poll came through last Thursday night I was thrilled. Not because the Tories had won, however; because Labour had lost. Badly. Let me explain…
I had built up a resentment after suffering several weeks of scathing social-media posts from socialists, clearly biased media reporting, and outright lies spewed from disciples who worship at the altar of self-righteousness that is the Labour Party.
I was expecting to catch a whiff of the humble pie that was surely being served for supper. Oh, how I was wrong!
But what did I expect? After all, if the last ten years have proven anything, it is this- when it comes to democracy, this ‘New-Left’ aren’t interested. Between petty protests, pointless petitions, and petulant non-propriety, they have not accepted an exercise in democracy graciously since 2005:
- 2010 General Election – Protested.
- 2015 General Election – Protested
- 2016 Brexit Referendum – Protesting, still
- 2016 Presidential Election – Protested in the UK, for some reason
- 2017 General Election – Protested
- 2019 General Election – Protesting now
The only elections that seem to be acceptable have been the EU Parliamentary Elections (where the Brexit Party were the runaway victors by securing almost twice as many MEPs as the runners-up) and the AV Referendum in 2011, which induced the Lib Dems to the decade of disappointment that has developed for them. I assume because nobody really cares enough about these, but I digress…
So, what has been the response from the Labour Party since their train was derailed? There’s a double-track answer–
- the media were unfairly against Jeremy
I have had multiple migraines from morning commute radio that I’m too exhausted to revive, but the next reason is the main one.
- “It’s because of Brexit.”
Wow. Imagine Brexit being a key issue in this election. It’s not like people wanted a clear position or anything…
But seriously, this one bothers me. Jez has the most consistent anti-EU voting track record of anybody currently in the House of Commons (markpack.org.uk/153744/jeremy-corbyn-brexit/ if you want to see this condensed). Wouldn’t the ‘Brexit election’, whereby their own admission the people were voting to “get Brexit done”, have him placed far in the lead? It would have, had he been honest about his position.
I don’t agree with Corbyn. I don’t trust him, either. However, I once respected him for his consistency and willingness to push back against the establishment in his party, even at his own expense. That’s now gone, too.
So, how does the Labour plan to rebuild itself after such a crushing defeat? Corbyn is going, which is a step forward. However, McDonnell has stated that the next leader “should be a woman”. How very cosmopolitan, but it’s not very genuine…
Scotland has a female first minister. Northern Ireland has both female first and deputy-first ministers (or, will do when they decide to go to work). The UK has had two female prime ministers. The entire world is filled with great female leaders. But they haven’t come through artificial manoeuvring and puppetry. They haven’t been used as a rebound course, and haven’t been some plant to help sweep votes after a bad election. They have been organic; women who have worked hard and earned their way to the top; that is why they have been successful. The Labour party hasn’t had so much as an elected female party leader.
Cast your mind back to 2015 and the Labour Leadership election – a result which wasn’t protested! Running were two men and two women. That’s also the order in which they placed. With only 21% of the vote, Cooper and Kendall were confuted by card-carries who clambered to Corbyn.
So this plan is nothing more than political posturing, and the people should be wary.
McDonnell doesn’t want to help women; he wants to use them to help himself.
This is not a new thing. For decades elites have held the ‘little people’ in contempt, considering them too stupid to understand, and certainly too stupid to decide.
We saw it with Brexit, where a great many people said it was ‘too complex an issue’ to be decided by referendum, and then deriding us Brexiteers as uneducated thickos.
And now we’re seeing it again. Another paternalistic elite that thinks they have the right not just to tell us what to think and do, but to physically prevent people from going about their daily lives.
Extinction Rebellion think of their right to protest, without understanding that right ends where other people’s rights begin. The British are a liberal people. By and large, we support the right to protest. We do not support the serious disruption of people’s lives, preventing them from getting to work and to hospital appointments.
Extinction Rebellion begin their planned disruption of the tube on the Jubilee Line at Canning Town 👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/oN8LDO1G0o
— Holly Collins (@HollyJoCollins) October 17, 2019
This isn’t just inconsiderate, it’s downright elitist. It’s elitist because it’s accompanied by two other things: contempt and hypocrisy.
Contempt for ordinary people who get up for work in the dark and then find themselves stuck in Canning Town tube station or Shadwell DLR station because Extinction Rebellion want to use the disruption of their lives as a protest tool.
Hypocrisy because they use a diesel generator to heat their patio heaters, fly in to protest against carbon emissions, pop into McDonalds, sleep in plastic tents, and take trains and buses to travel and disrupt that same public transport.
They think they have a right to dictate to people what they should be concerned about. They think that if they raise the alarm, we should drop everything to listen to them. They think that if they get in the way, we should be grateful to them. They think that their good-intentions, or age, or something else about them means that the ordinary rules don’t apply to them.
Well, I don’t think it will work. Not only is this wave of direct action not winning people over, it’s turning off increasing numbers of people who had sympathy with the cause, but not the methods. Ordinary, decent, working people don’t want to be associated with Extinction Rebellion and the elitist hypocrisy it represents.
The thing that Extinction Rebellion doesn’t seem to have grasped is that we live in a democracy. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, or ahead of the curve, or something else – but it’s my view that in a democracy the power rests with the people. If you want to change something, you need to persuade people. It’s simply wrong to try to impose things on them, especially if your demands – like Extinction Rebellion’s – would cause economic ruin.
Brexit has made it fashionable to think otherwise. We even have MPs who want to subvert the democratic vote in order to force us all to do what they want.
There’s a General Election coming. In that General Election, people are going to vote for candidates and parties that best represent their concerns and have the most persuasive policies.
And if Extinction Rebellion really wants change, they ought to stop their childish tantrum and get on with persuading people of their stance. Persuading people that the so-called ‘climate crisis’ is more important than all the issues they ordinarily base their vote on.
I can anticipate the reply, because I’ve made this argument before. My belief that it should be the people who decide is not a new thing. You’ve heard it before too.
“It’s too important to let the people decide. They can’t understand the complexity of the issue”, they will say.
But what Extinction Rebellion really means is that they either can’t be bothered – because they’re so important that they don’t feel they should have to persuade anyone – or else they know that their arguments will fail and they want to inflict their prosperity-destroying, alarmist measures on us regardless.
It started so well. A 20 point lead in the opinion polls had us dreaming of a commanding majority, a clear mandate and an opposition on the precipice. Then it slowly turned into a nightmare as dozens of seats fell and at one point some bookies had Corbyn as favourite to be the next Prime Minister. By the end we were watching from behind the sofa.
Theresa May had a shocking campaign. To stand on little more than two alliterative adjectives and then fail to live up to either of them was unforgivable and she must take full responsibility; the only woman to have had a worse election campaign than Diane Abbot.
Throughout the campaign, in a series of increasingly cringe worthy TV appearances, she looked awkward and uncomfortable, like Mary Whitehouse at an orgy. Her character, her manner, even her voice, are all potent ballot box kryptonite but there is a deeper and more fundamental reason behind the catastrophe– Tory Paternalism is a hollow creed.
When all is said and done Tory Paternalism is little more than ‘Diet Coke’ socialism. And when up against the full fat, sugary goodness of Corbyn’s Magic Money Tree May’s lukewarm statism is a poor substitute. Who would choose a weekend in Bognor when the other side is offering a fortnight in Disneyland?
To fight on a Paternalist platform allows Labour to frame the narrative, we play to their strengths. The discourse is then dominated by the idea of the state providing and Labour will always offer more.
Corbyn had a good campaign but we should have seen that coming. If nothing else he is a born activist and he came into his own on the campaign trail. But we were playing on his terms to try and campaign on what government can provide rather than how government can liberate.
Much was made of Corbyn’s terrorist links but in the end people just didn’t care. For millions of voters now the IRA belongs in the history books not the newspapers and Hamas has long had legitimacy amongst the chattering classes.
The obvious target was the bat-shit crazy economics in Labour’s manifesto and this should have been an open goal to the Conservatives but this opportunity was squandered as our own manifesto appeared to have been written on the back of a fag packet moments before last orders were called.
Fiscal responsibility and economic competency should be the cornerstones of any Conservative election campaign and the fact that we couldn’t take on Labour in our comfort zone illustrates the aimless impotency of Tory Paternalism. There is nothing to sell, nothing to believe in, nothing to be passionate about. No vision, no mission, just the bland, hollow platitudes of insipid One Nation Toryism. The PM was criticized for not talking to people enough, the truth is she didn’t really have anything to say.
It is now clearer than ever that we needed a Brexiteer to assume leadership. How did we ever expect a leader who never believed in Brexit in the first place to lead the country towards it? We needed a leader who believed passionately in the power of free markets and individual rights, in a bright future of endless possibilities. We got a leader who appears to believe in nothing. At the very least we needed a leader who was prepared to fight. We needed Churchill, we got Captain Mainwaring. This is a mistake we must never make again.
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty
It is natural for people to look for silver linings when something bad has happened, but unless there is a proper assessment of what went wrong and why, this can look dangerously like being in denial.
And this week’s general election result is no different. Already I see MPs and Conservative activists talking about how the result is ‘more complex than you would first think’ because overall Conservative candidates got more votes than ever before, and the party achieved a greater national vote share than it has enjoyed in a long time.
But as the key defenders of the First Past The Post electoral system, Conservatives should know that the only result that really matters is how we did on seats. And Theresa May and the campaign management team lost on seats.
By focussing on the positives to come out of this we run the risk of not having the full post-mortem that is so sorely needed to make sure the Conservative Party doesn’t so spectacularly misjudge the national mood again. And this year, the discussion into what went wrong is especially necessary because there isn’t a ‘national picture’. There isn’t a single story of what happened in this election. For example:
- Where the Ukip vote collapsed, in some places it went wholly to the Labour Party, in others the Conservatives, and in many more split to varying degrees between the two.
- In some places the Lib Dem vote collapsed and went to different parties, whilst in others it increased – and in some seats it increased enough to win.
- In places the Labour vote went down, and in others the Conservative vote went down.
- In others, both the Labour and Conservative votes increased to different degrees.
- In Scotland, votes changed all over the place – in some seats SNP voters went to the Conservatives, Lib Dems and/or Labour; and in other places Lib Dem voters went to Labour and Conservatives; whilst elsewhere Labour votes went Conservative.
To understand how this happened – and how CCHQ totally missed it happening, despite some Conservative candidates saying they were worried about holding their seats (and who went on to lose) – will take a lot of work. In the coming days and weeks Conservatives for Liberty will be sharing our own assessment of what went wrong and why.
The key priority must be rebuilding trust with the electorate. Only 2.4% more people decided that the Conservatives were a better option than Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party – with all that means. And of those people who voted Conservative this time, a large proportion – perhaps even a majority of them – voted Conservative only as the least-worst option.
That is the real danger the Conservative Party faces now; and if they do not act swiftly to assure their own voters and waverers who voted Labour this time that they have understood frustrations and anger at a campaign that took votes for granted and did little to present a positive vision of Conservative government, then those seats where Labour pushed Conservative MPs to slim majorities will be at risk. And let’s be clear: Conservatives should not now, nor ever, lower themselves to insulting the electorate and blaming voters for this result.
I believe that one of the important steps towards this trust building requires Theresa May to step down as Prime Minister. Given the difficulties of a hung parliament, this should not happen right now. But once the agreement with the DUP is settled, Brexit negotiations have opened, and a Queen’s Speech has passed Parliament, May needs to resign to allow a leadership election in the summer recess. Ideally, she would announce this intention within the next two weeks to allow the Conservative Party machinery to prepare for the transition.
Emily is the Chairman of Conservatives for Liberty. Follow her on Twitter: @ThinkEmily
Luke Springthorpe, director of Conservative Progress, outlines why he thinks the Conservative Party lost seats in the general election.
1) Brexit became a fig leaf barely concealing the fact that there was virtually nothing there behind it. The manifesto offered nothing to excite anyone about voting Conservative and certainly didn’t offer enough to people who voted to Remain in the referendum.
2) The national campaign stopped talking about how Conservatives would aspire to make people better off or to make a case about being on the side of the strivers – and nor was any effort made to assure people about public services. This was a huge error.
3) Whilst Labour did an admiral job at energising young voters (a key demographic for them), No.10 arrived at the odd view that it would be wise to take a swipe at pensioners (a key base for them).
4) If the polling numbers are to be believed, Theresa May became less popular the more people saw of her. Corbyn, by contrast, exceeded expectations as the bar was initially set so low and consequently he grew more popular the more people saw of him.
5) The national campaign became almost entirely negative. Whilst there is nothing wrong with pointing out your opponents’ flaws, you still have to devote the vast majority of air time to giving people compelling reasons as to why they should vote for you.
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty
When I cast my vote in this general election I will, for the most part, be voting against something rather than for anything. I don’t endorse Theresa May’s illiberal instincts, her paternalistic philosophy or desire for economic interventionism; nor do I think her Brexit strategy is grounded in what’s best for the economy. During this campaign, she has proven to be poor performer who is uncomfortable with scrutiny and weak under pressure. It has all been very unimpressive.
In truth, no political party commands my unconditional loyalty; politics is not football. If there was an optimistic, leader prepared to defend Neoliberalism and globalisation, who believed in a market based relationship with the EU, leading a capable Party they would have my enthusiastic vote, but there isn’t. I feel so uninspired that in the past I may have just stayed at home.
There is however a VERY large but. As in: but what about the alternative? I feel compelled to cast a vote against the Far Left Labour leadership and their zealous acolytes. I detest their ideology and i’m repulsed by their numerous questionable affiliations and sympathies. The populist Labour manifesto is based on a utopianist economic policy which is economically ridiculous in its profligacy and cynical in its attempt to promise the world to every voter group. It may be chock full of sellable doorstep policies but it’s rife with terrible ideas, from the National Education Service to the National Investment Bank and nationalisation program.
Worst of all, I don’t believe for a moment that if given the chance to consolidate their power, the Corbynites won’t go much further than suggested in their manifesto and attempt to implement their long cherished socialistic economic beliefs and ride roughshod through Britain’s institutions. I dread to think of what state the country would end up in.
Every vote for Labour will be perceived by the leadership as an endorsement of Corbyn and the Party’s current direction and I want to see them ousted so that Labour can become a competent and reasonable opposition and a government in waiting. That’s better for this country and its political system, and this may be the last chance to prevent Labour becoming permanently captured by extremists.
I don’t buy into the image of Corbyn as a kindly old man with some eccentric beliefs; he is a dogmatic extremist with a warped moral compass. It seems tedious to go over it again, we’ve all read a hundred articles laying out the case against him but it bears repeating until there is no longer any threat of this man becoming our Prime Minister.
This is a man who supported the IRA and is now lying about supporting the peace process ; he talks as if he was an integral part of it but he was nothing of the sort. This is a man who expressed sympathies with Hamas and Hezbollah by inviting them to Parliament and called them his ‘friends’. Who took money to appear on the propaganda channel of the Iranian regime five times. The Iranian regime, it should be remembered, is a totalitarian theocracy that executes dissenters and gays and is vehemently anti-Semitic, not to mention oppressive of women. None of that matters though, he is happy to be a useful idiot for anyone who is against the West.
So many hardcore Corbynites are frothing at the mouth anti-Semites which is disconcerting and very telling. There is something very wrong when a large poster featuring Theresa May wearing Star of David earrings in unfurled as if this was completely normal and acceptable, and not something reserved for neo-Nazis. The problem is, Corbyn doesn’t just tolerate this; he is one of the root causes. He whitewashed the investigation into this clear issue within the Labour Party so he can hardly be that concerned.
Here we again have to look at the people and causes he associates himself with. He has supported Raed Salah, a Jew hating Islamist who spreads the Blood Libel myth and claims they were behind 9/11. This kindly old socialist has praised him repeatedly, saying ‘’Salah’s is a voice that must be heard’, really? Seriously? Not surprising from a Hamas sympathiser I suppose, the group with an explicitly genocidal charter that rules out a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestine issue and makes it clear that killing Jews is an express aim of their supporters. A man who invited them to Parliament and praised them as “serious and hard working” is our potential Prime Minister… crazy times.
The team working under Corbyn are a sorry lot that shouldn’t be anywhere near government. We have the utterly vile extremist Marxist John McDonnell, a ‘bad, bad, bastard’ in the thoroughly apt words of Reaction editor Iain Martin, looking to take control of the UK’s economy. The decision to choose Diane Abbott, yet another IRA supporter as well as a Mao apologist, has proven to be disastrous. As his Communications Director he appointed a Stalinist, Seamus Milne, an enthusiastic apologist for the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic. He then judged it reasonable to hire Andrew Murray, a Communist who has defended Stalin and North Korea, as a campaign advisor.
Beyond that the dregs of the Labour Party make up his Cabinet because most of his MP’s can’t stand him and don’t believe he should be their leader, never mind Prime Minister.
Aside from the people, it’s the policies I cannot endorse. The Conservative’s baffling failure to run a campaign based on the economy left an open goal for Corbynite Labour to promise the world to the electorate. These longstanding admirers of the socialist alternative as exemplified by basket cases like Venezeula and Cuba, have an opportunity to transform Britain in ways they have dreamed about for decades. It’s the road to ruin. In their quest to remould Britain into a socialist country they plan to borrow billions; it will be an expensive failure. The size of the deficit and the national debt after achieving so many bad outcomes from their good intentions does not bear thinking about.
The putrid Far Left cannot be allowed to govern Britain. This catastrophe must be averted. They need to lose and lose badly to prove how unpopular they are, to expose their failures and increase the chances of loosening their grip on the Labour Party. That is why I am casting my vote against them.
Ben is the Conservatives for Liberty Director of Online Communications. Follow him on Twitter: @TheScepticIsle
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty
It’s become increasingly clear that libertarians are losing the battle for the heart of the Conservative Party – never more so than on the publication of ‘our’ latest election manifesto:
“We must reject the ideological templates provided by the socialist left and the libertarian right and instead embrace the mainstream view that recognises the good that government can do.”
In 2013 Conservatives for Liberty was founded to argue for freedom and economic Liberalism within the Conservative Party, partly in response to Cameron’s woolly centrist positions. Today, the Cameron years look like a golden age of tax cutting glory.
In this election we will of course be backing the Conservative Party; Corbynite Socialism would be ruinous. This manifesto is disappointing and, in places, very worrying; but we must oppose the Far Left agenda of the Labour Party.
At 88 pages long the manifesto has a huge amount of policy and detail, so I’ve pulled out the best and worst bits I’ve found.
The best bits
Scrapping the second part of Leveson, a serious threat to the freedom of the press, is very welcome. As is getting rid of the hated Fixed Term Parliaments Act (the uselessness of which is shown by the fact that we are having a General Election right now).
The manifesto includes plans to make ID compulsory for voting and reform postal voting to improve the security of the ballot. On democracy, there are also plans to introduce FPTP elections for Police and Crime Commissioners and the new Mayors.
Scrapping the pensions triple-lock is welcomed by Conservatives for Liberty. Yes, we must look after our elderly but this must be balanced against affordability and the burden on working-age people. Limiting this to a ‘double-lock’ – where rises are based on whichever is the highest of average earnings or inflation – is welcome protection for both pensioners and taxpayers.
Means-testing winter fuel allowance: we like this because handing cash for heating to well-off pensioners doesn’t make any sense. If only the government would go ahead and scrap other universal benefits…
In the same vein, free school meals for all infant school children is nonsensical, diverting cash from where it is most needed to pay for middle class kids’ meals. May says scrapping this will help free up and extra £1bn to invest in education – ensuring no school is worse off in cash terms with the new schools funding formula. Also on education, the manifesto includes commitments to open more free schools and to allow grammar schools.
On Brexit: May confirms the intention to leave both the Single Market and Customs Union. This puts us on track for the clean Brexit Conservatives for Liberty advocates – and the country needs.
The worst bits
The pledge to bring net migration figures down has proved to be folly – it should be dropped. And if not dropped, students should not be included in the figures. Retaining this pledge is simply setting the party up for failure – and ignores the benefits of immigration.
Charging companies for employing non-EU nationals is a thing which shouldn’t exist – nevermind doubling the charge from £1,000 to £2,000. This charge hits companies employing skilled non-EU migrants, which often operate in parts of the economy (e.g. tech) where we have skills shortages and which fuel growth in the economy.
A pledge to increase the National Living Wage to 60% of median earnings by 2020 will have potentially disastrous consequences for the economy and people struggling to get into work; and add to the cost of delivering public services.
Legislating to make company boards include either a director from the workforce, form an employee advisory council, or assign employee representation to a non-exec director. May will also introduce a right for employees to request (and presumably get) information on the future direction of the company.
The manifesto maintains the commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on international aid – something we believe should have been dropped.
Outlines of plans to regulate the energy market – one of the most regulated ‘markets’ in the UK already – are not very promising. It includes plans to make every household be offered a smart meter and additional caps to ‘protect’ prices.
The ‘we’ll see’
The pledge to continue raising thresholds for the personal allowance and 40p income tax rate are to be welcomed – but we remain concerned about what those rates (and other tax rates) will be by the end of the parliament. We know that lower taxes help to stimulate a healthy economy, often resulting in higher tax receipts – this should be a natural Conservative instinct.
A pledge to simplify the tax system for the self-employed and small businesses is positive – but the manifesto lacks detail on how this will be achieved.
The manifesto also includes some steps towards striking trade deals around the world, including nine new trade commissioners posts, reconvening the Trade Board, and supporting businesses to take up opportunities round the world, along with a commitment to promote free trade around the world. We’re not sure how May can simultaneously interfere in business and introduce regulation at home, whilst promoting free trade abroad.
On defence, the manifesto includes a commitment to continue spending 2% of GDP on defence, along with a pledge to increase the budget by 0.5% above inflation every year. However, many defence experts have warned that not enough is being spent on defence, and our armed forces’ capability is being harmed.
Dropping the pledge not to raise taxes sends a chill down our spines. We’ve already seen that Philip Hammond would have liked to raise National Insurance, so a ‘general commitment to not raise taxes’ is not good enough. If there is one thing the electorate should be able to rely on, it’s that voting Conservative means voting for lower taxes. Not anymore.
A pledge to eradicate the deficit by 2025 is worthy – except for taking so long – but without the fiscal discipline required, it is a meaningless pledge.
The manifesto has pages and pages dedicated to the NHS, but none of it addresses the core issue – that the NHS is not sustainable – and though the increased investment and attempts to improve how the NHS is run may have positive effects, it is nowhere near radical enough.
We will campaign for a Conservative win in June, but for us the campaigning won’t stop there: we will carry on campaigning through the next parliament for a Conservative Party that better reflects the interests of our country and the views of many party members and activists. Help us by joining and by volunteering; we are especially looking for people who can set up CfL branches in their own areas.
If you’re as worried as we are about this manifesto and loathe to campaign for a centrist, left-leaning agenda for government, we have a list of sound candidates we really need to get into parliament to help stand up for our Conservative values – please support them.
Emily is the Chairman of Conservatives for Liberty. Follow her on Twitter: @ThinkEmily
Harry Styles’ declaration in The Sunday Times that he will vote ‘for whoever is against Brexit’ on the basis that ‘the world should be more about being together and being better together and joining together, and I think it’s the opposite of that,’ seemed to confirm much of what I was seeing on the anti-Brexit marches which followed last year’s referendum. Vacuous, fashionable, young people who have little interest in the detail of politics, but read Buzzfeed and have vague, infantile, ideas along the lines of togetherness being nice so voting for Brexit must make you a horrid, nasty, racist. That hopey, changey, stuff again.
I should say now I am by no means tarring all Remainers, or all young people, with this brush. My flatmate is both a Remainer and a Federalist (a position I respect because it at least offers an alternative to the complete clusterfuck of the EU as it is currently constituted) and, being only three years older than Mr Styles, I suppose he still counts as young. My girlfriend is a Remainer, a Labourite, and five years younger than me – all while being eminently more sensible than I am. But, by the same token, I’d say young lefty Remainers are disproportionately represented in the ‘hopey, changey’ brigade. And this is who the Labour manifesto is aimed at.
I picked out several fantasies in Corbyn’s foreword alone (the magic comes in the accounting). ‘Young people are held back by debt’ was the first one. Really, Jez? I can only assume he’s talking about student loan repayments here, which were very consciously designed not to hold young people back. I now earn considerably more than the repayment threshold, for example, yet pay back £111 a month. So don’t be ridiculous. ‘Our entrepreneurs and managers are being held back from growing their business (sic)’ made me laugh. Jezza doesn’t seem to think hiking corporation tax and capital gains tax has any impact on business growth.
‘Britain is the fifth richest country in the world,’ he continues. ‘But that means little when many people don’t share in that wealth.’ Who, exactly, isn’t sharing in that wealth? This is a fairly prevalent misconception, as demonstrated by the lovely Cathy when she confronted the prime minister yesterday. But, to be fair to Cathy, she did have learning disabilities. Jezza’s just exploiting popular misconceptions for votes. If you look up ‘Shares of total Income Tax liability’ on Gov.UK, you can see some revealing statistics about the redistribution of wealth in this country.
The figures go back to 1999 and show, for example, that the bottom 50 per cent (and every percentile within that) have seen their share of income before tax increase in the last 16 years. Whereas, in 1999/00, the bottom 50 per cent earned 23.8 per cent of the country’s income, in 2016/17 they earned 25.3 per cent. Conversely, where in 1999/00 the top 50 per cent earned 76.2 per cent of all income, they now earn 74.7 per cent.
But the really revealing figures come from the ‘after tax’ column. There, the bottom 50 per cent’s share of earnings goes up from 25.3 per cent pre-tax to 28.3 per cent post-tax, while the top 50 per cent’s goes down from 74.7 to 71.7 per cent. Even the bottom one per cent’s earnings go from 0.3 to 0.4 per cent of all earnings, while the top one per cent’s go from 11.8 to 8.7 per cent. And, of course, the very same spreadsheet will show you that Jezza’s much-maligned five per cent – roughly those earning £80,000 a year or more – contribute almost half (47.1 per cent) of all income tax collected by HMRC. The top one per cent more than a quarter (26.9 per cent).
Many voters who know all this will vote Labour on June 8th, because they believe it is the right thing to do, and that it offers the best set of policies to tackle the challenges this country faces. My girlfriend will likely be among them. I can respect that and I can explain why I disagree. I can even explain why I don’t think voting for Theresa May will be all that different. But what can you do with people like Harry Styles? People who like to think they Give a Toss About Stuff™ and like the sound of vague hopey, changey policies, but who aren’t old enough to remember how disastrous they were the last time they were tried and aren’t interested enough to find out? They may as well be voting Liberal Democat.
There are some consolations to this conundrum. Many of the hopey, changey brigade don’t actually think voting is all that important to the democratic process – preferring the virtue signalling of Twitter and impotent post-result marches – and time: YouGov recently found the average age people switch from voting Labour to Conservative is 34. Just another 11 years, and you’re a Tory, Harry.
Paul is Creative Editor for Conservatives for Liberty. Follow him on Twitter: @Whiggery
The leak of the Labour manifesto is either further evidence of the leadership’s utter incompetence, or speaks volumes about the deep divisions further opening between the Far Left and the rest of the Party. If it was a strategic leak; it shows the leadership’s ineptitude as it gives the Conservative party time to hone its response. If it was leaked out of mischief it is surely a deliberate act of sabotage by the anti-Corbyn wing; either way it’s more evidence for the pile that Labour is not fit for government… and that’s before we even discuss the contents of the draft manifesto.
Corbynite Labour would renationalise energy, rail and Royal Mail. It would impose wage caps on business, raise taxes for everyone earning over £80,000, increase corporation tax to 26% and greatly empower trade unions to reverse many of the reforms implemented by Margaret Thatcher via a “Labour Act”. Before you know it, we’re back to mass strikes, power mad union barons, and everyone feeling compelled to pay fees in order to get a say in their wages, with their contributions being funneled into the Labour Party coffers.
The spending commitments come thick and fast to underpin the Leftist la la land that Labour now inhabits:
- Free school meals for all
- Free Further Education for all
- Tuition fees abolished
- Double paternity leave
- Welfare cuts reversed
- The pensions triple lock maintained
- £6bn extra in annual funding for the NHS
- £8bn over 5 years for social care
- 3000 more prison staff
- 10,000 more police officers
- Increased public sector pay
- A publicly funded set up of a National Investment Bank to fund £250bn infrastructure spending,
- And, of course, don’t forget the money for the nationalisation programme
How will it all be paid for? This is never adequately explained, and in any case, we know how this story ends. Corbyn has promised that there will “be a reckoning”; and that means a clamp down on business and the wealthy. The idea is to “take back” the wealth from the fat cats and business can give it back to “the people”. His supporters will be cheered by this but as business flee the country along with the rich and the wealth creators, investment will also dry up; as economic growth grinds to a halt and we hit a recession that quickly falls into a full blown crisis, what then?
Failure. Corbyn’s Britain could only end in failure; as we know from every single socialist experiment that has ever taken place. It would not end well. We at Conservatives for Liberty are unashamed economic Liberals; we believe it is the best route to prosperity. This manifesto doesn’t meet us half way; it repudiates everything we stand for.
Beyond the economic catastrophe are a plethora of other bad policies. Our nuclear deterrent would effectively be neutralised, the voting age would be reduced to 16, rent controls will be introduced despite the sound evidence that they don’t work and lead to bad outcomes and, as for Brexit; a pledge to roll over and pay whatever the EU demands and withdraw any implied threat to walk away ensures we make ourselves a supplicant in negotiations.
It has been said that the Theresa May’s brand of Toryism is a difficult time for the economic Liberals in the Conservative Party. Yet right now all energies must be focusses on defeating the alternative, which is naked Socialism. The Far Left want to turn Britain into Venezuela; it’s imperative that this proposal is decisively defeated at the ballot box.
As Conservative members up and down the country prepare for the second election campaign in two years, it seems to many that the result is already a foregone conclusion. A larger Tory majority is highly likely.
With things as they stand, the election is set to be fought over Brexit and will see the Lib Dems gain in many areas. With the new parliament now set to stretch well beyond the conclusion of article 50 negotiations, the new manifesto must show that the Conservatives are not just willing to campaign on successfully negotiating Brexit alone, but that Theresa May’s government is ready and willing to seize the opportunities that a global Britain presents.
Whatever result the election returns in six weeks’ time; the Prime Minister must be willing to show that it is her government that is best positioned to seize the new and exciting opportunities at hand. Although Brexit is the priority, the Party must use this new manifesto for radical thinking.
Liberalisation of planning laws is long overdue, for example. Although the recent white paper has alleviated some fears, tight restrictions over the building of houses on the green belt still mean that the construction of new homes is limited and unlikely to herald much change to the ongoing crisis in the housing sector. It is essential that more houses are built and easing planning restrictions will facilitate this.
The housing crisis, combined with the triple lock on pensions, does little to create a country that “works for everyone”, but instead rigs the country against the younger generations. Contrary to received wisdom, many young people are attracted to the Conservative Party. An ICM poll from March showed the Party ahead comfortably amongst people between the ages of 18 and 24; we have to exploit this and build upon it. The youthful, tech-savvy voters are the future and shouldn’t be neglected. Instead of securing the largely already safe votes of the over 65’s, Mrs May should look to embrace a radical manifesto to appeal to the increasingly apathetic young generations.
In her speech calling for the snap election, Mrs May referred to the House of Lords alongside arguably the buzzword of 2016: “unelected”. There are few people that will argue that the House of Lords isn’t in need of serious reform, and in the spirit of bringing democracy closer to the people, one viable option could be to see a jury style system introduced.
To many, the House of Lords is an extension of the establishment system that rewards friends with devalued peerages; a network of cronyism. Furthermore, the House of Lords has shown itself to be no friend of Brexit, and have vowed to fight the process every step of the way. According to polls, the single largest reason for Britons voting to leave the European Union last summer was for a more democratic country. If Mrs May is willing to deliver sovereignty to Britain from Brussels, then so too should the political system be brought closer to the people.
Regarding Defence policy; Mrs May would also do well to pay attention to inescapable geopolitical tensions. The armed forces of the UK are pitifully weak and in a world where the balance of power seems at its frailest since the cold war as eastern powers become more and more prominent, this matters even more. As Russia and China grow stronger and with North Korea looking nuclear, Europe appears precariously undefended. With so many of Britain’s neighbours and friends failing to meet NATO commitments, an independent Britain must look to restore its armed forces.
British troops have already been deployed to Eastern Europe to counter the ever growing threat of Russian escalation and yet an investigation by the Sunday Times earlier this year found gaping holes within UK defence. Malfunctioning drones and ships that could be heard from 100 miles away were two particularly troubling findings.
The Prime Minister has understood the desire for change; for free trade, open markets and a more workable meritocracy. Her desire to push forward the grammar schools programme demonstrates her understanding of the desire for change, so the new manifesto must not stop there.
Housing restrictions, the triple lock and reform of the House of Lords are all issues that would go towards creating a fairer country for all. The Conservative Party manifesto must reflect the real change desired by the British people and with May’s tenure now set to extend beyond Britain’s exit from the European Union, the conservatives must present themselves as the party best suited to hit the ground running and to capitalise on the new opportunities that a global Britain will present.
Brexit must bring change. June’s general election is an opportunity for Theresa May to present herself as the candidate best suited to do this.
Elliot is an English student studying in Southampton.Follow him on Twitter: @