Saturday, 3 June 2017

The E-lect-shuns

It's seven days to go as I start to work on this and like most post devolution politics it's messy because the parties unique to the devolved parts of the United Kingdom include all the parties that stand in Northern Ireland, Plaid Cymru ("The Party of Wales"), the Scottish National Party (aka S.N.P.) and have no representatives outside that part, country, region whatever the constitutional dogs dinner has left calling the bits of the UK leaving only three and three-quarters of the parties being in proper sense Nationally organized, having national statements of policies (Manifesto's) and Candidates standing nearly all the Parliamentary divisions called Constituencies. 
I say three and three-quarters because the Conservative (Tory) Party don't organize and stand in Northern Ireland although they are for the Union and have links to the two Unionist parties there.
The biggest single issue of the moment is leaving the European Union on which my thoughts can be found in other entries but I'll try to be fair.
The party most pro Europe is the Centre Left (and not what I'd recognize as Liberal) Democrats who came about from a small proportion of ex Labour people and nearly all the former Liberals and the difference between the two sides are still there.
The party was 100% behind remaining in the EU because it believes this has brought peace, economic growth and liberty to Europe and that much of the UK's trade is linked to it.
In its manifesto it has said it doesn't wish the UK to leave the Single Market for goods and services including people and the European Court of Justice.
It goes on step further and says whatever is decided at talks with the EU should go to separate referendum that include a "Remain in the EU" voting option.
The Further to the left Socialist party, The Labour party kind of agree much of that apart from the referendum but keep altering the emphasis because Labour supporters don't generally favour EU membership   and think they can talk the EU even in the last hours into some reforms.
The Conservatives and the United Kingdom Independence Party are for leaving the EU although some local branches and candidates of the former are not and generally favour what could be called a clean break.
This is because they feel the terms of keeping the Single Market which include not being able to set year on year migration targets, consider skills based applications will not be agreed to because the EU sees them as non-negotiable and all that has been able to been agreed are very short-term temporary restrictions for 'new' member states in Eastern Europe or the offer of a use one only every four year temporary limits.
Leaving the EU-"Brexit"- is like marmite: it splits people down the middle and personally is a huge issue with me and Midlands voters. One day I'll write the book "Staffordshire and how we broke the Post war settlement", lol.
Another increasingly important issue is care for the elderly in later life such as the provision of carers in peoples homes and how that especially it is they need to move into a care home where this is provided (we hope!) is to be met as that post war to mid sixties "Baby Boom" is entering the autumn of their lives in large numbers and will run on for at least fifteen or so years at a similar rate.
Presently some find it is necessary to sell off their home (if they own one) to part pay for it whereas those who are not and don't have savings have theirs paid by the state. That amount many care home providers maintain is insufficient to provide the quality of care not just expected but legally required and some scandals around this have emerged.
To pay for more of this, the Conservatives had proposed a increase in the amount you didn't need to pay before claiming back anything over £100,000 from the sale to pay for this on a deferred basis.
One problems with this is a good number of people buy a property expecting to pass it or its value on in death to immediate family (their children) and in a good number of places any property exceeds this value, not merely the better offs.
The resulting who-haa with it being called a "dementia tax" has left this quietly dropped to be re-tuned later.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats favour more state money aka taxes to pay for this but the problem with taxation is the tax yield from substantial increases is often lower and often leads to unintended consequences such as "brain drains" as the brightest and most well paid leave the UK.
My own view is you need to look at tackling tax evasion by multinational companies ("Hi Alexia, Google me Googles tax returns!" and growing the cake through greater productivity and furthering international trade.
Policing and security is an issue and while the Conservatives have talked about putting more on the ground, it also is the case the reductions in funding in their budgets since Twenty-ten had decimated them which in my personal opinion  was very short-sighted as you tend to get more significantly crime in a recession and with last weeks's awful event still in my mind here, it is obvious we are facing severe threats not just from overseas but from home grown terrorists who are not going to reduce their activities all because we're one an 'austerity' drive. 
The other parties are talking about it but as with much in this campaign we have seen little real information on exactly it has been costed and that as we get into the last days of campaigning is the one thing that really annoys me: The lack of forethought in how the policies are going to be funded together with the detail.

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