Monday, April 11, 2005

Tories launch the British Dream

More of a nightmare, really. Find their manifesto here.

At the risk of falling foul of Godwin's law myself, I was intrigued by the BBC's choice of photo to illustrate the launch.

'We will spend the same as Labour would on the NHS'
Nope, Andrew Lansley reckons that the Tory private healthcare subsidy will take £1.2 billion from the NHS to help the richest 10% in society.

'As well as keeping taxes low, we must reduce the burdens on business through deregulation. A Conservative Government will negotiate to restore our opt-out from the European Social Chapter and liberate small businesses from job destroying employment legislation.'

If you are in work, this little phrase should alarm you. The Social Chapter is designed to allow the EU to set European-wide policy on health and safety, equal pay, working conditions and consultation between management and workforce. The Tories will also force government departments to cap and reduce the costs of regulation, which must also have benefits that exceed the costs. How they will quantify those costs isn't clear, but I'll place a bet that your rights as an employee will suffer.
We will ensure proper discipline in schools by giving heads and governors full control over admissions and expulsions.
So if your child is expelled unreasonably, tough. Watch out for schools disposing of those under-performing pupils and passing them onto the new 'Turnaround Schools'
'[We will] review all speed cameras to ensure they are there to save lives, not make money'
John Hemming is thinking what they're thinking.
We will introduce a points-based system for work permits similar to the one used in Australia. This will give priority to people with the skills Britain needs.
We'll start with dodgy foreign political imports, eh?
'We will take back powers from Brussels to ensure national control of asylum policy, withdraw from the 1951 Geneva Convention... Our objective is a system where we take a fixed number of refugees from the UNHCR rather than simply accepting those who are smuggled to our shores. Asylum seekers’ applications will be processed outside Britain. We will set an overall annual limit on the numbers coming to Britain, including a fixed quota for the number of asylum seekers we accept. Parliament will set, and review, that number every year.'
This fantasy island for asylum processing returns, as does the 'fixed quota.' This has already been attacked by Charles Wardle, a former Tory immigration minister, who said that Labour had the most practical policies and that these proposals show that Michael Howard is 'utterly unsuited' to be PM (we know that already, don't we?). If even the leader of the barkingly-mad UKIP party says that your policies on immigration are 'so unworkable it was almost laughable,' then I think you have a real problem. Don't forget that we take 2.8% of all the refugees in the world - making up around 0.4% of our population, hardly overwhelming us. Still, why let facts get in the way of easy political points scoring?