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Five horrors from the Tory and Labour manifestos

Five horrors from the Tory and Labour manifestos

At times it looks like they are trying to outdo each other in being nasty

Facing a crash at the polls on July 4, for a while now the Tories have been trying to look as tough as they can on a range of socially conservative issues, in the hope of overturning their polling fortunes. Issues like immigration, trans rights and getting tough on protests have been at the forefront of the news. Meanwhile, Labour have been trying as hard as possible to stick close to the Tories’ agenda but to suggest that they will be more efficient in power.

The two main parties’ manifestos were published last week and they detail what they intend to do should they win. The full manifesto can be found here. The Tory manifesto can be found here. At times it looks like they are trying to outdo each other in being nasty. Here are five policy areas covered in the manifestos of the two main parties and why they’re bad news.


The well-documented Rwanda Plan from the Tories is performative cruelty, with the aim of attracting the racist vote. They pledge to send regular flights containing asylum seekers to the African country and potentially ignore international law if they are told not to.

While Labour is critical of the Conservative plan to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda, it is not against the principle of handling claims in a third country. Furthermore, it plans to create a new Border Command organisation. Sounds macho. Sounds tough. It probably would be. For all the talk of going after “criminal gangs”, this is also about dealing with asylum claims quickly—which normally means refusing people entry. Be in no doubt this new organisation would carry on treating people terribly.

Police numbers

Labour and the Tories are in a battle to increase police numbers. The Tories intend to increase community policing by 8,000 officers, without trying to make any changes to the culture of these contemptible organisations. Labour does have a small section in the manifesto titled “Better Policing” but it is vague and includes only some bland aims. Without bolder action, new recruits will be entering an already toxic police force. It requires dismantling rather than swelling.

Trans rights

The Tory manifesto includes a number of utterly wretched implications on this issue, with which they have become obsessed in the hope it will drive a wedge between them and Labour. Prior to the election being called, they announced they were interested in dictating to teachers what can or cannot be discussed in schools: a modern day Section 28. Another major plank in the manifesto is to alter (or “clarify”) the Equalities Act 2010 so as to remove gender reassignment as a protected characteristic. The effect of this would be to make it lawful for companies, service providers or anyone else to discriminate against trans people without the victim having any recourse to legal action. They are literally proposing to expand discrimination. It’s just spitefulness in the hope of keeping a few votes.

On a positive note, Labour are planning to ban “conversion therapy”, inclusive of trans conversion practices. They also want to make changes to equality legislation including laws on gender recognition, but right now it isn’t entirely clear what they will do, or how.

New prisons

Whereas Labour has some basic ideas to cut prison numbers by working on reducing reoffending rates, the Tories are committed to locking more and more people up. They pledge to build four new prisons to complete their ambition to have an extra 20,000 people in jail by 2030. Tories always find money for this sort of thing. Labour is pledging to tackle “anti-social behaviour”, in a Blair-like attempt to look strong on law and order. Again, this is vague and unclear. It could go in so many negative directions, without considering why communities have problems in the first place.

Military matters

Do you get the feeling we’re being prepared for something utterly cataclysmic? Labour will hold a Strategic Defence Review if they get in, and want to spend 2.5% of GDP on the military once they feel the economy can handle it. The Tories have made the same spending commitment ,and plan to do so incrementally from the moment they get into power, if they win. They also have a plan for a form of conscription, with the re-introduction of National Service. Their totally unworkable original idea included 18 year olds taking up full military positions for a whole year. A day after their manifesto launch, it was watered down to 25 days of service in a year.

This is not an exhaustive list of terrible things in the two main parties’ manifestos. There will be others. But assuming Labour wins on 4 July, we will soon enough come face to face with their actions in power.

Last week, Freedom held a panel to discuss the election campaign so far. That can be viewed on our YouTube page and via this link.

~ Jon Bigger

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