Politics – the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power. That’s the official definition anyway.
When I meet somebody new I always inevitably turn the conversation towards politics. Not in a debating kind of way but in the general question ‘do you vote?’ Sadly the majority of the time the answer is no and when it is yes it tends to be ‘I vote BNP or UKIP because I want the foreigners out’.
People it seems just do not have an interest in politics or see it as a way to express their racism. They look at one policy rather than the bigger picture or they don’t vote because they don’t think that voting affects them. Take my boyfriend for example, he said to me that he doesn’t vote because he’s a student so who runs the government doesn’t affect him. I soon of course put him straight with a basic lesson in politics followed by registering him to vote. due to these misplaced presumptions and with David Cameron officially handing in his notice to the Queen this week, I decided to create this post with a basic run down of the main parties policies in a none biased manner in order to give people a better idea of choice and to show how it affects EVERYBODY not just the working adult person.
The main parties and their policies are as follows:
In the blue corner; David Cameron and the Conservative party.
- Cutting income tax. They intend to increase the amount you can earn before you pay tax from £10,600 to £12,500 and for those who earn more the high tax allowance has been increased to £50,000
- Freezing fuel. Keeping fuel frozen at the price it is now so it can’t go up. However this also means it can’t come down.
- Creating more jobs. They profess to be creating 2 million new apprenticeships and abolishing tax paid by employers for under 21s to get more young people into work.
- Investing £18 million in new schools
- Creating a citizenship test for immigrants and making it harder to get houses and benefits for immigrants.
- Capping benefits from £26,000 to £23,000
- Increasing the state pension by £800, making sure pensions rise every year to match the national wage and cutting tax on pensions.
- Building new houses and offering them at low rent for young people
- Reducing administration within the NHS in order to fund more doctors and nurses
- Getting the GP service to 7 days a week by 2020
- Making young people work to earn benefits
- Cutting the EU budget
Summary – so who do the conservative’s policies affect? Well they’re agreeing to help young students with free schooling, pensioners being able to earn more and cutting tax. They’re all certainly good points but how about the rest? Freezing fuel as mentioned means the price of fuel cannot come down so if it does where is the extra money you’re paying for your fuel go? Capping benefits may be seem a good idea but it doesn’t specify which benefits… what about people with long term illness or disability who cannot work? Or people who have lost their jobs and are struggling to find another? Reducing admin in the NHS is not necessarily going to make things better, the NHS relies largely on administrative support and also it will mean putting yet more people out of work.
In the red corner; Ed Miliband and the Labour Party –
- Cutting expensive utility bills such as gas and electricity by freezing them
- A ban on rip of letting fees and the building of new homes at affordable rents
- Supporting working parents by helping with the cost of childcare including free childcare for parents working more than 25 hours a week with a child aged 3 or 4
- End zero hour contracts
- Increase the national minimum wage to £8
- Guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours
- Make mental health services a priority
- Bring back the 10p tax rate
- Lend money and support to new, small businesses and entrepreneurs
- Provide a paid starter job for young people unemployed for over a year
- Abolish bedroom tax
- Making sure all teachers are qualified
- New technical degrees and ensuring everyone who doesn’t go to university is offered a different opportunity for skills and employment
- Restore confidence in the judicial system
So to summarise. Labour are going to reduce outgoings such as rent and energy bills and decrease the amount we pay in tax to 10p. They will help young people into employment with paid jobs, improve education and the judicial system and the NHS without people losing jobs. The only bad points I can pull from this is the restriction on childcare to only be for 3 and 4 year olds and not below this age.
In the yellow corner; Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats –
- An £800 tax cut
- Creating 1 million new jobs
- £2.5 billion for new schools
- Improving the cost of living
- Delivering equal marriage
- Improving the environment with greener jobs
- Providing fairer opportunities with welfare and benefits
- Increasing pensions
- Better health care for all
- A firm but fair immigration system
- Reduced crime levels
- Helping the world’s poor
Oh… except wait…. Those are the Lib Dem’s policies they’re actually what the Lib Dem’s are professing they have done since joining the coalition government. It appears that they actually don’t have anything to say except this is what we’ve done and will continue doing. They don’t actually as the other two parties do, explain how they’re going to make all these improvements.
But we’re not done yet, for the first time in years people are voting outside the box. Labour and the conservatives have always led the government one voted out and one voted in, the Lib Dems have held up as the third possible party but there are now other parties stepping in making it 5 candidates and also a 6th and 7th if we include the Scottish National Party and the Plaid Cymru in Wales. I won’t go into as much detail as with the larger parties but here is a quick summary of the little competitors.
UKIP and Nigel Farage – they would like to come out of the European trade markets. Increase taxable earnings to £13,500 but not until the next election in 5 years’ time. Abolish inheritance tax, decrease the high tax rate, cut the foreign budgets and aid, leave the European Union, scrap the new high speed rail network to connect people between big cities therefore preventing faster commutes for jobs, abolish the department of culture media and sport which invest in businesses and look after our heritage sites bringing tourism into the country, giving the government more power to tax, getting children to do an apprenticeship instead of GCSEs, scrap the idea of 50% of students having the chance to attend university, scrapping tuition fees for students studying science, medicine, technology and maths on the condition they work full time and live in the UK for the next 5 years effectively trapping them. Existing schools have the option to become grammar schools and only accept students according to their ability and aptitude making it harder for less able students, more benefits, guaranteed jobs and social housing for ex-service men and women, stopping private companies from helping to finance the NHS, opening a GP surgery for one evening a week if there is demand for it, end hospital car parking charges and make immigrants have private health care insurance before they can enter the UK. Making foreign health professionals take an English test, immigrants will only be eligible for benefits after working and paying tax for 5 years, redevelopment of power stations which is bad for the environment, no more wind farms or solar energy, ban export of animals and make all food packaging be labelled with the method of slaughter, child benefit for the first two children only and getting rid of the bedroom tax, withdraw from the court of human rights, no parole for prisoners, reverse the smoking ban, allowing businesses to discriminate to only employ British people.
Natalie Bennett and the Green Party – they would like to stop the privatisation of the NHS and make mental health a higher priority, restore the public sector to create more jobs on a living wage, increase the minimum wage to £10 per hour by 2020 and increase the tax paid by higher rate payers and banks. Abolish bedroom tax, build new homes and restore empty homes, cap rent and increase tenancy duration. Phase out fossil fuels and nuclear power making the environment greener, scrap tuition fees for all students, bring academies and free schools back into the system, mixed ability teaching by qualified staff, returning rail travel to the public sector to reduce travel costs, cutting fares by 10%.
It is of course without a doubt personal choice on who you decide to vote for on the 7th May. I just hope that this post may have inspired people who didn’t plan to vote or were making the wrong choices based on what their family and friends recommended, to actually make a choice for themselves and go place their votes and decide their future in May.