In case you’ve not noticed, there’s an election on. And it’s probably not hyperbole to suggest that this is the most important election in living memory, the choice between two very different options, a Labour Party committed to wholesale restructuring of the economy and likely undoing of Brexit, and a Conservative Party long in the political tooth by now after nine years in power, intent on pushing Brexit and a right wing agenda through. Add to that the LibDems and challenger parties and you’ve a real selection of options on array and Britain could be a very different place when we all wake up on Friday morning.
In an attempt to simplify things, here are the pros and cons of all the main parties this week (although you may consider many of the pros to be cons and vice-versa)…
The Tories are currently the front-runners in the polls. But what do pollsters know? Boris Johnson has again and again made the case for ‘Getting Brexit done’ and has apparently made significant inroads in Labour strongholds in the north. But is it enough? He has to win 28 more seats in parliament to secure a majority, which feels like quite an ask. Here are some reasons for and against voting for Boris and the Tories.
|They’ll ‘Get Brexit done’||Do you really trust them?|
|After an age of squabbling over Brexit we can finally pass the necessary legislation to put the result of the 2016 referendum into action and get on with everything else!||Boris has lied again and again (he’s even been fired from two jobs for telling lies!) and it’s tricky to believe that he’s going to be any different as PM. He won’t even tell us how many children he has!|
|Markets will welcome stability||We need a change|
|The stock market has welcomed every poll that puts a Conservative majority within reach because they are desperate for stability after years of to-and-fro, even if it does raise the spectre of Brexit…||Gosh we need a change, am I right? We’ve had Conservative or Tory-led government in power since 2010, three prime ministers later we are gagging for new blood|
|That Love Actually advert||Brexit trade deal hell|
|To be fair, Boris definitely came up with the best election video of the campaign, if you’ve not seen it then you’ll either love it or cringe, but you’ll definitely remember it. It might ruin a Christmas classic, though…||‘Get Brexit Done’ is a slogan that we might as well have tattooed on our eyelids because we’re going to be ‘getting Brexit done’ for ages and ages as we broker trade deals first with the EU but also with far bigger players like China and the US and it won’t be pretty…|
|Jeremy Corbyn will be toast||Austerity. Austerity. Austerity…|
|Can you really see Labour letting Jeremy Corbyn stick around if he fluffs a second general election? A Tory victory on Thursday will, in turn, likely see Corbyn replaced by someone a little more competent, who will probably be far more capable of holding the government to account and will very possibly win a landslide in 2024…||Let’s not forget that it was the Conservatives and LibDems who brought us austerity, severe cost-cutting measures in response to the global recession which cut budgets for schools, libraries, the NHS, social care, etc etc.|
|House prices will go up||Do you really trust them with the NHS?|
|It’s predicted that, along with the economy, house prices will boom under a Tory majority as sellers and buyers have been waiting for stability before selling. If you’re a home owner, this could be significant!||The Mirror’s front-page story this week of the child being treated on an A&E floor because there weren’t enough beds illustrated the crisis in the NHS. Don’t forget that doctors went on strike for the first time just a few years ago.|
In a campaign dogged by claims that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is soft on the surprisingly high number of antisemitic members of his party, Corbyn has nevertheless pitched a very different approach to government than the incumbents (no surprise there). Along with nationalisation, higher taxes especially for big business, there’s another referendum on Brexit and possibly one on Scottish independence too to look forward to.
|Fancy a 4 day week?||Anti Semitism|
|Here’s the pitch, Labour will make your boss give you a three day weekend. Every weekend. And they can’t pay you less. Labour say we’ll be just as productive in 80% of the time.||We’re on the cusp of electing a party that has been repeatedly accused of anti-semitism. A recent survey showed 47% of British Jews would “seriously consider” emigrating if Labour win the election|
|They love the NHS||They may tank economy|
|They created it and it’s widely considered that they’ll look after it better than the Conservatives, not least because they will stop further privatisation of parts of the service.||Their radical plans to tax the city and nationalise are nothing compared to the likely reality that a Labour government will probably be within a hung parliament, and one promising more Brexit nonsense. Expect the markets to go nuts and don’t count on being richer…|
|Another Brexit referendum||Brexit dithering|
|After plenty of hand-wringing Labour finally and decisively said that they’d back a second referendum on Brexit, with a vote being between remaining in the EU and a deal that Labour will negotiate with Europe.||First Labour will negotiate a ‘better’ deal with the EU (which will be totally unincentivised to offer a better deal given…) then we’ll have a referendum on that deal to leave with it or remain after all. If you thought that a referendum and two elections polarised the country, you ain’t seen nothing…|
|Sick of soaring rail prices? Tired of paying over the odds for your broadband? Labour will nationalise the lot in the biggest raft of nationalisations since the 1940s.||The reality of a Labour government is that, save a miracle, they’ll be in coalition with the SNP. And there’s a price with that: a second ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ referendum on Scottish independence or IndyRef2. And given how things have been lately, they might well win…|
|They’re the ‘greenest’ party||Higher taxes|
|Surprisingly, not least for the Labour party, it is their promises which have been judged the most green of all the parties with plans for a ‘Green industrial revolution’||Labour plan to spend a lot of money. Loads and loads. Some of it they plan to borrow, the rest will come from taxes. They claim they’ll only tax rich people but it’s been estimated that even low earners will have to pay more to HMRC|
The Liberal Democrats have struggled to make the mark they’d perhaps hoped in this campaign so far, with leader Jo Swinson being excluded from the big telly debates and awkward questions around her approach to cancelling Brexit and whether we’re born a specific gender or not.
|Cancel Brexit||Austerity was their gig!|
|The LibDems are the only major party promising to Revoke Article 50. Which means, they’ll just cancel Brexit, rip it up and pretend it never happened. If you hate Brexit, then this is the definitive way to rid of it!||It’s a seriously inconvenient truth for the party that’s been trying to distance itself from the Tories, but the LibDems were in power as partners with the Conservatives in the 2010-2015 government.|
|Only option to have a woman PM||Tax frequent fliers|
|The only main party that’s run by a woman, makes Jo Swinson the most likely next Prime Minister as things stand. Of course, she’d have to actually win a majority, but if you want to vote for a woman Prime Minister, vote for Jo (though you’d’ve presumably voted for Theresa May in 2017)||If you fly often, then expect the LibDems to come after you with extra taxes. Aimed at business people and those lucky folks who take lots of holidays, it’s another tax|
|They’ll legalise cannabis||Not realistically going to be in actual power but won’t work with Corbyn|
|“I was gonna vote LibDem, but then I got high…”, Swinson claims to have smoked a lot of weed in the past (though nobody believes her!) and wants to make sure that you can too as she promises to legalise cannabis||A likely outcome of the election is a hung parliament, in which case the LibDems and SNP will be kingmakers. Except that Jo Swinson has refused to work with Jeremy Corbyn in this scenario. Which spells more political inaction and a LibDem party unable to influence how the country’s governed.|
|Welcoming 10,000 refugees a year||A fundamentally anti democratic policy|
|The UK currently allows around 5,000 refugees a year (the Tories want to cap it at this level) while the LibDems are committed to double that amount||52% of the country voted for Brexit at the referendum, but around 30% generally vote for the the winning party at an election. Meaning that cancelling Brexit would take significantly fewer people, and that is fundamentally undemocratic. For a party that previously insisted that a referendum was needed to confirm the result, this is a lurch into dangerous territory|
|20,000 new teachers||Remember tuition fees?|
|The LibDems gave us free school breakfasts when in coalition, and now they want to increase teacher numbers by 20,000, making Swinson the definitive teacher’s pet.||Let’s not forget that the LibDems campaigned in 2010 on a manifesto opposed to raising tuition fees. Then, once they unexpectedly found themselves in power, they… voted to raise tuition fees. Remember Nick Clegg’s ‘I’m sorry’ song?|
Nigel Farage has quit UKIP and set up his own alternative party, the Brexit Party. Guess what they’re in favour of?
|Signal your support for Brexit||Confused message on… Brexit!|
|It’s the clearest signal that you support Brexit and want to ‘Get Brexit done’, vote for Nigel Farage’s start-up party and send a real message that we need a ‘clean break’||If there’s one thing that the Brexit Party should be clear on then it’s probably, well… Brexit, right? Except they’ve flip-flopped on how they actually intend to implement Brexit, if they support the Tories, even if they want a clean break or a negotiated deal. Added to which a raft of defections of high profile Brexit Party goers to the Conservatives, and you’ve a muddled message on their key defining feature|
|Lower taxes||Right wingers|
|The Brexit Party promises to abolish inheritance tax, cut VAT on fuel and will waive corporation tax on the businesses’ £10,000 of profits.||David Cameron famously branded UKIP as ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists’ and it’s not clear that the Brexit Party is much more. Their woes at this election, plus their relative ‘new-ness’ have led to little scrutiny, but it seems likely that their views aren’t necessarily going to appeal to Green Party voters.|
|They have the best colour||Nigel Farage|
|Okay, we have to admit it, the Brexit Party have a really beautiful colour rosette. Honestly, it’s a stunner.||Oh, and lest we forget (how could we?), the whole party is presided over by Nigel Farage, the man who brought about Brexit, but did so by standing in front of a billboard widely derided as totally racist.|
They only have one MP, but don’t write off the Greens, with their Brighton MP Caroline Lucas even touted at one point as a possible interim Prime Minister when parties couldn’t decide whether to topple the Tories or not. And they’ve some radical ideas for government if, one-in-a-million, they actually win power.
|Abolish university tuition Fees||Wasted vote (unless you live in Brighton)|
|Is your salary £200 a month down because you’re still paying off your student debt? Yes? Well you can write it all off if the Greens get in. Yippee!||Realistically you’re better off trying your hand at winning the Euromillions than pinning your hopes on waking up to a Green Party majority government on Friday. So what’s the actual point?|
|Green new deal||Radical change|
|The clue’s in the name, and the main priority for the Green Party is, unsurprisingly, the environment! So expect them to implement their Green New Deal, a £1tn (that’s 1 trillion pounds) to fight stopping climate change||A trillion pounds? That’s soooooo much money. I get that there’s a real issue here, but the sort of radical changes that are needed would cripple the economy and make us uncompetitive as a country.|
|Universal Basic Income||Open immigration|
|The Green Party plan to bring in a Universal Basic Income, a set amount to be paid to every single Briton every month forever. Like a trust fund for everyone. Currently set at £89 per person per week, it’s literally money for free.||The Green Party have the most liberal plans on immigration, which is basically to open the borders and let everyone in. Presumably anyone who fancies £89 a month universal basic income…|
Of course, if they all disgust you then you can simply spoil your ballot. It seems perfectly possible that this might be the election when the most ballot papers are returned spoiled, watch this space.
Find out who is standing in your area, and where to vote by clicking here…