So, the Tory manifesto is out. And what a thoroughly underwhelming experience it is. It would be cruel to call it a ham-fisted miasma of third-rate vomit-strewn landfill, a litany of the unlikely, the unedifying and the undesireable, but that’s exactly what it is.
Along comes Queen Theresa in her hermetically sealed golden chariot, curtained off to the world so voters are prevented from seeing her dead-eyed monarchial mystique, and there she stands, issuing forth a document of such worthlessness, than even charity shops wouldn’t have it polluting their shelves. Flanked by such meaningless buzzwords as ‘A stronger Britain’ and ‘A prosperous future’, the poor people of Halifax were chosen for the honour of the manifesto’s inveiling. How blessed the people of that town are. I can only imagine there’s many unimpressed people in West Yorkshire tonight, as they use copies of the manifesto for the fire as the coldness of the evening descends.
As for the manifesto itself, well, it’s one of the Tories’ longest in decades. But how strange that such a lengthy document didn’t have its essentials edited down to fit on the back of a fag packet, or a stamp, a fate most befitting of its blow-hard contents. But as to its actual substance? Well, it’s as vague and nebulous as everything you’d associate with the Tories. And should the Tories win the election it would be very easy play policy bingo, marking down on your card what they have said they’d implement but have absolutely no intention of doing so. After all, why change the habit of a century or so? So, is there any meat in the 30,5000-word Tory sandwich? It appears not. Starvation it is.
A review of the honours system? Check
Student loan ‘forgiveness’ for new teachers? Check
Fracking applications to be rushed through? Check
Introduce a levy on social media companies to fund awareness and “preventative activity” relating to issues such as inappropriate online content? Check
Commit to investing £600m by 2020 to pursue a desire for “almost every car and van” to be zero-emissions by 2050? Check
Create a sustainable business model for online media? Check
A detail-free spending pledge for the NHS? Check
Changes to the social care system that will hit the poorest the most? Check
And so on it goes. An unending bleat from a dying sheep, and about as radical as an old man wearing beige to pick up his pension from one of the few remaining post offices the Tories haven’t closed down yet. If this really is the best that May’s government can do, we’re screwed.
The wording of the manifesto contains lots of lofty philosophical ideals (as usual, they’ve reached for the only philosopher they can find to back their ludicrous ideas - Burke), clearly hoping an appeal to the learned past will help to balance out the paucity of ideas within. The manifesto promises to be, so Burke wrote: “a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” Except that with this manifesto, should the Tories win the election, we’d all be living a kind of permanent death.
What else? Well, there’s hardly any commitment to the environment (fracking is given more space than climate change, ironically), and on the EU, apparently ‘no deal is better than a bad deal.’ Oh, and the deficit will be eliminated by 2025, which is, after all, only ten years after George Osborne promised to wipe it out. A Tory promise is a Tory promise – until reality intervenes. Bloody reality. Also the manifesto has dropped the pledge to half to the disability employment gap. And the Tories under Treeza reject ‘the cult of selfish individualism’, which is nice. Has anyone told their millionaire donors? Or the 1922 Committee? Or the people to whom shares are flogged and dividends cashed in? Selfish individualism is the Tory bread and butter. May’s staggering claims to be a centre ground leader and one-nation Tory are about as convincing as a ventriloquist’s dummy of Boris Johnson. Actually no, that would make the dummy about twelve times more intelligent.
Max Webster is the Editor of Political Provocateur