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Saturday, 3 October 2009

Cameron's Manifesto

Interesting to note that it's Cameron's, not the Tory's. But he's actually nailed some colours to the mast, so that's something.
Not sure where all that socially liberal stuff has gone, up in a puff of smoke i guess.
So i like it? NO.
Cutting corporation tax indeed. Getting rid of the Human Rights Act
The link is here, a summary from the FT is here.
In summary: tax cuts and spending rises.

FT's take on it:
What to make of David Cameron’s 10-point plan
October 2, 2009 6:40pm
by Jim Pickard

As Tom Watson points out, politicos of all colours should read Dave’s 10 pledges, laid out in a newspaper* today. As we get closer to the general election Tory policy will get much closer scrutiny than before. Here are a few thoughts:

1] Freezing council tax for two years.

Given that we have been in a period of RPI deflation and very low CPI inflation this isn’t as radical as it sounds. All of Labour’s London councils have promised to freeze council tax next year. Yet I interviewed John Denham over a week ago and he wouldn’t be drawn on making a similar promise for the UK as a whole.

2] Reassessing 2.6m people on incapacity benefit.

The government is already doing this - although it’s not exactly happening swiftly. How could the Tories set a more ambitious timeline?

3] Replacing Human Rights Act with a new British Bill of Rights - to strengthen Britain’s traditional liberties

Nice in theory, but what does this mean?

4] a] Cutting the number of MPs by 10 per cent, b] slashing quangos, c] cutting ministers’ pay by 5 per cent.

a] Will having 590 MPs instead of 646 MPs really make such a great difference? Will it mean some having to sit on more than one select committee and do more scrutiny work - will they become overstretched. The idea is to save money but won’t this be a drop in the ocean?

b] The Tories have promised to set up no fewer than 17 new quangoes of their own. And where they have promised to demolish quangoes (eg the FSA) most of the functions will simply be moved into a different body (eg the Bank of England).

c] The ministers’ pay cut is such an obvious (while populist) policy it was bizarre that Labour hadn’t already announced it. I asked a cabinet minister in Brighton why they hadn’t pre-empted Cameron on this, given Labour may only have 7 months to suffer the lower wages: He seemed utterly affronted at the concept.

5] A new “Military Covenant” with the troops to make sure they are better treated and properly equipped.

This has been pushed for months by Jon Cruddas, leader of the “Soft Left”. It’s one of several of his smart ideas which have been ignored by the leadership.

6] Tax changes such as a] reforming inheritance tax and b] rewarding marriage and families in the tax and benefit system

a] But how quickly in the first term will the increase in the IHT tax threshold (to £1m) take place? This policy was great pre-crash but not so cunning post-crash. I suspect it will be kicked into the long grass for several years.

b] A vote-winner among natural Tories, but what about the rest of the electorate? And when will the “rewards” come? The money will supposedly come from welfare reform - an area where many smart politicians have come unstuck over the years.

7] Tackling the national debt

The big one, where Cameron’s candid outlook left Gordon Brown looking shifty and evasive throughout the summer

8] a] Protecting the NHS and b] Giving school heads the final say on exclusions

a] All well and good but the implications for other departmental budgets - if the average cut across Whitehall is 9.3 per cent over 4 years - is grim. They could see spending cut by a typical 14 per cent or more.

b] Out of 8,130 children excluded last year, only in 60 cases was a head’s exclusion overturned on appeal

9] Suspension of ratification of Lisbon Treaty, referendum and No campaign

Potentially popular in much of Middle England but leaves Cameron open to the charge that he will lessen the UK’s influence in Europe

10] More police officers, doubling magistrates’ sentencing powers, “make sure knife offenders can expect to go to jail”

Labour point out that the detail of Tory knife policy includes “community punishments” as well as jail terms for offenders

* Yes of course it’s the Sun. D’oh.

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