Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Manifesto Destiny

The parties launched their campaign manifestos this week. A manifesto is a like a campaign platform but unlike in the U.S. the parties adhere much closer to their manifesto then American parties adhere to their platforms.

Two major issues are appearing to dominate the election. Since the UK is mired in the global recession then the parties are making a big deal out of economic and budgetary matters. The other issues deals with reform of the political system and gaining the people's trust after the scandal involving MP's expenses.

Labour addresses the budgetary issues by promising to halve the deficit in 4 years. They do so by promising to cut wasteful spending. However, Labour went to great pains to promise to not raise taxes on most incomes and to keep the Value Added Tax(a type of national sales tax) from being extended to food and children's clothes. However there is no promise to not raise the existing VAT. To reform the political system, Labour promises to end the last hereditary peers and to pursue reforming how MP's are elected.

The Conservative plan to end the deficit by the end of the next parliament and they plan on doing so by cutting 12 billion pounds in wasteful spending over the next two years. The Tories big splash came in there ideas for reforming the political system. David Cameron announced that the Tories would cut the number of MP's by 10% and also cutting the pay of government ministers. Votes would also be able to recall a sitting MP under the Tory plan. The Conservatives also plan to allow for local referendums if 5% of the population wanted one and these referendums could be used to veto tax increases.

The parties also put forth some ideas that are distinctly their own. Labour focused on household budget issues. They propose creating a 4 week period of paternity leave for new fathers and giving tax credits to families with young children. The Tories idea focusing on scrapping the plan for a nation ID card and they want to hold a referendum on lifiting the ban on fox hunting.

Gordon Brown, David Cameron, and Nick Clegg(the Liberal Democrat leader) will meet on Thursday in the first of 3 debates. Now that the parties have set the terms for the election, the real campaigning begins.

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