So, I have finally managed to read through the Labour Manifesto for the 2019 General Election. Needless to say that as a supporter for social justice and abolition of inequality, the Labour pledge presents an ideal proposition. There are questions that could be raised, and answers are not available in the document, but the document instills a fresh breath of hope for the voters who have felt stifled during last nine years of austerity, through which, the Tories only managed to double the National Debt. The 107 page long manifesto is divided into five broad categories and numerous sub-categories, and in the sections below, I have extracted a bullet point summary of the salient features for each section. Some sections are longer, but nevertheless, it is evident that the Labour proposal is definitely for the many, not for the few.
Green Industrial Revolution
Economy and Energy
- One million climate jobs – To Deliver the Green revolution
- £400bn national transformation fund to invest in meeting climate and environment targets
- Net zero carbon energy by 2030
- Zero carbon standard for all new homes
- Immediately ban fracking permanently
- Supply arms of big six into public ownership
- 3% of GDP in R&D towards climate goal
- Free bus travel under 25s
- Reinstate 3000 bus routes – Bring back routes less used and discontinued by private bus operators
- Railways into public ownership – hope this will make the rail ticket more affordable. Would have been better if this was made free for under 21s
- End of combustion engines by 2030 – ten years sooner than Tory pledge
- Maintain and improve on EU standards of environment regulations
- New Clean air act with vehicle scrappage scheme and clean air zone
- £5.6bn for flood defences
- Net zero carbon food production by 2040
- Prohibit sell of snares and glue traps – people still buy them?!
- Ban badger cull
- Campaign internationally to end commercial whaling
- Ban import of trophies – would have liked to see trophy hunting a criminal offence even if carried out on foreign soil
Rebuild Public services
- Reverse corporation tax cuts – to c.26%, level lower than 28% in 2010, but higher than 19% as present. Conservatives shelved the plan to bring it further down to 17% but they will.
- Crackdown on tax avoidance – would have liked to see a process/proposal how this would be implemented.
- £150bn social transformation fund to replace, upgrade and expand schools, hospitals, care homes and council houses – A big ask, again, but desperately needed. It would have been needed at the end of austerity, regardless of the party.
- End and reverse privatisation
- Halt sale of NHS land and assets
- Free hospital parking for patients, visitors and staff
- GP training for 27 million appointments more – Tories offered 50 million
- £2bn to modernise hospitals for mental health patients
- £1bn fund and 4500 more health visitors and school nurses
- Training bursary for nurses and midwives
- Establish generic drug company – this is huge! This can eliminate NHS paying high prices for branded medicine to meet the zero prescription charges
- NHS fully excluded from any international deal
- Abolish prescription charges in England
- Support autistic patients in home
National education service
- Reverse sure start cuts – this is desperately needed for parents since over a 1000 has been shut in last few years.
- Paid maternity leave to 12 months
- 2,3,4 year olds 30hr free preschool – this will help working parents to be back to work sooner. presently the provision is means-tested.
- 150,000 early years staff more incl. SENCO
- Arts Pupil Premium- to fund arts education to every student
- Free school meal for all primary children
- Close tax loopholes for elite schools
- Free entitlement to training up to level 3
- Abolish tuition fees for university education and reinstate maintenance grants
Police and Security
- Re-establish neighbourhood policing
- Eliminate institutional racial and gender bias
- Constrain powers of PM to suppress committee reports – as presently Boris Johnson suppressed the publication of the report on influence of Russia in recent UK government
- Security treaty with EU even if Brexit happens
- Break poverty inequality crime triangle
- Restore prison officer numbers to 2010 levels
- PFI prisons to back in-house
- Restore all early legal aids
- Halt court closures
- Decriminalise abortion
- Public enquiry into blacklisting and Grenfell
Communities and Local government
- Reinstate council spending to 2010 levels
- Restore high street
- Stop post office closures and bring Mail in-house
- Reunite with Post office and create Post bank to fund green initiatives
- National youth service for access to local work
Fire and rescue
- 5000+ fire fighters
Digital, culture, media & sport
- Broadband into public ownership
- £1bn cultural capital fund for libraries, museums and galleries
- Free entry to museums – At least they can be made free for under 25s.
- Free TV license for over 75s
- Premier league income spent in grassroots
- Curb gambling ads – help prevent gambling addiction
Tackle Poverty and Inequality
- Eradicate in work poverty – for families with not enough income to meet the expenses
- Living wage £10 for all over 16 – not the cop out £10.50 for over 25s
- Universal basic income pilot – it will be interesting to see the outcome, preferably used on the lowest income areas first
- Ban zero hour contracts
- Right to flexible working for all
- Paternity leave to 4 weeks and increasing statutory pay
- Introduce statutory bereavement leave
- 4 new bank holidays – 4 holidays…yay! Selecting the patron Saints’ days possibly an easy win rather than celebrate significant days in British history instead.
- Eliminate gender pay gap and pay discrimination
- Ban unpaid internships – why would an intern do all the donkey work without any payment anyway?
- Remove restrictions on trade unions
- Repeal trade union act 2016
- Align UK law in line with ILO
- Reduce full time working hour to 32 in a decade
- Ending opt out option for EU working time directive
- New labour courts
- Amend companies act – for companies to prioritise long term growth
Women and equalities
- New Department for women and equalities
- Close gender gap by 2030
- Ban dismissal of pregnant women
- 10 days paid leave for victims of domestic abuse
- Misogyny will be hate crime
- Educate about migration and colonialism
- Scrap 2014 immigration act
- End indefinite detention and inhumane condition
- £20m to survivors of modern slavery
- Free movement for EU workers
- End deportation of family members – of people with rights to stay in the UK
- End minimum income for migrants
- Safe asylum process
- Scrap universal credit
- Scrap benefit cap and two child limit
- Payment 2 weekly, rent direct to landlords
- End digital only, +5000 advisors
- Scrap bedroom tax
- Increase local housing allowance
- Assessments in house for disabled people
- No increase in state pension over age of 66
- £1bn fire safety fund for fire safety in all high rise council houses
- More than a million homes by 2030
- Scrap definition of affordable homes – Definition linked to local incomes
- Stop social cleansing – All residents offered a new place in the same development
- Levy on overseas companies buying houses
- End leasehold properties
- New minimum standards for renting
- End rough sleeping
- National levy on second holiday home
- End hereditary principle of House of Lords
- Abolish House of Lords – replaced by Senate of Nations and Regions
- Voting age 16
- Ban funding from tax avoiders
- Repeal lobbying act 2014
- Women access to abortion in NI
- No hard border in Ireland
- Scotland £100bn. 120000 homes.
- Brexit 3 months to a deal. Six months to referendum
- UK wide customs union
- close alignment with single market
- Consumers, environment rights to be at least at pace with EU
- Close cooperation with security arrangements
- Scrap existing Brexit legislation
- EU nationals automatic right to stay
A New Internationalism
A New Internationalism
- Introduce war powers act, no PM can bypass parliament
- Audit impact of colonialism
- Judge led enquiry into torture and secret court
- Issue formal apology for Jalianwala Bag
- Stop arms deal with Saudi and Israel
- Seek justice for breaches of human rights across the world
- Support two state solution
Defence and Security
- £100m to UN peacekeeping missions
- Support Trident – that’s an about turn! Why would one support Trident?
International Solidatity and Social Justice
- Department for International development
- support UN process of binding business and human right
- International climate finance £4bn/year
- Aid-funded Food Sovereignty Fund for Global South
There are many more policies through which the government proposes to put an end to austerity. A number of financial analyses were run on Labour’s policies and the general view is that it is achievable, but possibly unrealistic on timescale. However, desperate times need desperate actions. The austerity has split the country – not just into North-South divide but the entire society is divided. What’s worrying is the inequality is widening rapidly and for their vested interests, the Tory government is unwilling to stop the austerity.
Clearly the Labour manifesto touches life of the many and not for the few who usurp the system with the help of their Tory elitist pals. It gives people hope, reinstates faith in the role of the state and shows a way how the government can embrace the climate concerns and the social, economic and political reforms can all pivot around the climate policies. It also shows that governance doesn’t have to be top-down like authoritarian regimes, but a bottom-up approach is equally viable, where local communities and people are given the powers to make the governance happen.
Amid all the euphoria, few things stand out, that is no clear execution plan, with a timeline. I have browsed through the Tory manifesto as well, notwithstanding the fact that most of it will be lies. What I found easily accessible is their costing report, where they show how they propose to fund any additional investments year on year, and how they are planning to earn the revenue. The Labour manifesto showed the revenue at the end of 2023/4 but the division was not presented on yearly basis. However, some additional information was presented in the detail analysis later on, although for most of the readers, that information would go amiss if they are only looking at the summary revenue and expenses sheet. Also, it was curious how both parties show a completely balanced sheet with revenues equal to expenses. Chances of that happening is slim. I would have also liked to see a detailed timeline of when exactly some of the policies will be implemented. Kudos to them for areas where a clear deadline was provided, such as three months to reach a deal with the EU and six months to the new referendum. But it would have been useful to know what else will be happening in first six months, one year, two years…But I guess it’s a difficult ask for an ambitious plan. If you offered tumbleweed, you can come up with elaborate plans to make it look massive, but the opposite is not easy to make it both credible and lucrative to all stakeholders. My final observation is about the recipient of the manifesto document. I know it needs to serve the interests of the complete demographics, but in my view, Labour’s manifesto should be about the unheard voices – the people who are left behind by the Tories with their austerity. Apart from the manifesto, there should have been templates for what the Labor pledge meant for e.g. Nurses, Police, Firefighters, Social workers, Pensioners, Disabled persons, Teachers, EU migrants, single mothers etc. Perhaps there are videos and other resources, but the people who are so hard pressed to make ends meet are not expected to go through the wordy manifesto. Oh and on Page 63, there was a typo “introducenew” with space missing. At least it’s only a space, unlike missing truth or integrity like the Conservative party.
I wouldn’t expand much on the catalogue of lies spewed by the Tories, as this will become a very long post. I would leave at the fact that they lied on the first day of the campaign by publishing a doctored video of Keir Starmer, then they changed their Tweeter handle to FactCheck spreading lies about Labour campaign, then lied about the number of nurses to be recruited…to top it off, the social media ads are 88% lies or at best misleading. If lying was not vile enough, the Tories have ramped up the hate campaign against the immigrants again to blow the Brexit trumpet, holding the EU nationals and other migrants accountable for everything they failed to deliver. The latest of the hateful rhetoric came from the PM himself, where he claimed that he’ll curb the immigration from EU as they treat this country like their own. They stooped even lower to use the death of Jo Cox and Jack Merritt to foment the anti-immigrant hatred. They have been openly criticised by the bereaved families, but the Conservative Party has no shame, so I can imagine the criticisms and appeals to show some integrity have fallen into empty ears. Not that it’s surprising. Note the Tory election campaign leaflet in 1964 at Smethwick, how divisive they can be to retain power. This is happening again – and they still are equally blatant.
So, with a fantastic manifesto, my vote goes to Labour. I don’t mind paying additional taxes or taking some extra burden if that brings even one person out of poverty. But what’s needed to bring Labour in power? There are many marginal seats and they hold the key to swing towards a labour victory. Tactical voting does work and it probably bothers the loyal voters of Labour/LibDem/Green to vote another candidate, but this is the last chance to get rid of vile Boris Johnson and his cabinet of liars, thieves and hatemongers. Here is a rough outline of how to vote tactically –
- Find if you are in a marginal seat from this Guardian guide
- Find the trend in your local area – GE2017, or even the local elections to see which Tory opposition is gaining more support. Be careful if you use the local elections though, because of the appalling turnout.
- Use your social sphere to influence opinions of the floating voters. If you canvas, even better.
- Join any last minute local events to bolster the confidence of the people who would like to vote tactically but undecided if that will work.
- Vote…go out and bloody vote if you can. There is no point suffering another Tory regime when you have the chance to make the change happen.
Some more links regarding analyses on labour manifesto: