In preparation for tomorrow’s general election, I had been planning a spin-free comparison of the key policy differences between the main parties. A simple list of how much each party would spend or cut in what areas, what laws they would change and such like.
Unfortunately, this has proved very difficult and in many cases impossible. And that’s because none of the parties have actually said what they’re going to do. Their manifestos lack even the most fundamental details of how they would allocate money.
The Conservatives, for example, are planning the greatest reduction in spending of the main parties but the policies they detail in their manifesto would result in a net increase in spending. In other words, they’ve told us about the good stuff but not the bad.
Similarly, one of the Labour Party’s key strengths is supposed to be the NHS but they don’t actually say how much they would spend on it. They also detail all the give aways in their manifesto and few of the take-backs.
And before this makes you run off to UKIP or back to the Lib Dems, none of the other parties are any better.
I don’t agree with Russell Brand’s conclusion that people shouldn’t vote but, for anyone intending not to do so, this deliberate obfuscation by all parties is probably reason enough. It is a disservice to democracy and to the parties’ shame.
Still, despite claims that they’re all the same and you can’t fit a cigarette paper between them, there are significant differences between them that will have a huge impact on our country and I believe it is our duty to vote. Even if we don’t know entirely what for.
Anyway, I have managed a few policy comparisons which are below.
(I shouldn’t lay all the blame on political parties for the sparsity of information below – if I had more time, I’d have done more).
Comparison of Parties’ 2015 Manifesto Policies
Will they hold an EU referendum?
|Labour||No||Unless treaty change.|
|Greens||Yes||But pro Europe.|
How would they set income tax?
|Labour||£0 – £10.8k
£10.8k – £11.1k
£11.1k – £41k
£41k – £150k
|Conservatives||£0 – £12.5k
£12.5k – £50k
£50k – £150k
|Liberal Democrats||£0 – £12.5k
£12.5k – £41k
£41k – £150k
What is their Minimum Wage?
Rate from October 2015: £6.70
|Liberal Democrats||£6.70||No change.|
How much will extra money will they put into the NHS?
Above inflation by 2020
|Labour||£10.5bn?||Unclear. Officially “£2.5bn more than Tories” but before Conservatives’ £8bn pledge.|
Will they renew Trident?
|Labour||Yes.||3 or 4 submarines.|
|Liberal Democrats||Yes.||3 submarines or less.|
|UKIP||No.||Alternative nuclear weapons.|
|Greens||No.||No nuclear weapons.|
|SNP||No.||No nuclear weapons.|
If you want to vote on policies then you could take this survey.