Today the Sun publishes its ‘Manifesto’ for the Election, the ‘Sunifesto’. They say they ‘haven’t decided’ who to support in the general election, but their policy statement is incompatible with any Party to the left of Genghis Khan. It’s an astonishing document: it exposes the agenda of the right wing media and the real Tory Party. It demonstrates how awful our country could become if the Tories get into power alone. It tells me that everyone with a progressive view of the country’s future should unite to make sure they do not get into Government again.
More tax breaks for companies. Leave the EU if we don’t get ‘control over our borders’. End the Human Rights Act. Stop the NHS being ‘a money-pit’ – ‘simply pouring more money in cannot be the answer’ – think the unthinkable and radically reform the NHS ‘with private sector help’. Cut the welfare cap and other ‘handouts’, including benefits for children and OAPs. More Free schools. End the dishonest culture of spin (big joke that one!). Move quickly to exploit shale gas – ‘we do not believe Britain should lead the way in tackling (climate change)’. Surveillance powers ‘should trump civil liberties’. Consider ground troops to fight IS in Syria and Iraq. More homes through ‘private enterprise’, no mention of social or affordable housing. Reduce the BBC to ‘its core mission’. Scrap 0.7% of GDP commitment for international aid. End political correctness and boost ‘freedom of speech’.
What an agenda that is. But there can be little doubt that this is what many Tories and most UKIPers talk about in private.
Political allegiances have been fragmenting in the UK but we face a ‘Front National’ moment and not a ‘Syriza’ moment. The chance for a more proportional system was lost in the referendum and the election will be fought on ‘first past the post’. The right faces a split between Tories and UKIP during the election but there is a strong chance that they could form a Coalition afterwards. The left sees the rise in support for the Greens, which will not lead to a significant number of seats being won but which could deprive Labour of victory in some key seats. A Green spokesperson said recently that people should vote Green even if it means getting Cameron, but in my view this is the disaster the country must avoid.
Personally I would prefer to see a Coalition with the SNP (although I suspect they will not do anything like as well as the current polls suggest) rather than the LibDems, whose performance in my particular area of interest – housing – has been totally deplorable. Despite a good Party policy, their Ministers have gone along with the whole Tory agenda with no appreciable policy victories of their own. But any combination would be better than allowing Cameron back in.
So let the Sunifesto be our warning!