Express & Star comment: Manifestos offer clearer choice for voters
This may be an election few people wanted, but there is one real positive as we prepare to head to the polls next month.
With the manifestos now out, it is clear the public is faced with a genuine choice, something voters have not always been afforded in the past.
Naturally, some policies do overlap, but there is no danger of anyone complaining about our political parties all being the same at this election.
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The Conservative manifesto, released in the West Midlands this past weekend, probably represents the “strong and stable” party Theresa May wanted to project in her disastrous bid to increase her majority in 2017.
This time around there were no surprises and no ill-advised attempts to change the world. Boris Johnson’s pledge to get Brexit done, while at the same time laying the foundations for his vision of ‘one nation’ Conservatism, was exactly what his party was calling for.
Contrast that with Labour’s manifesto, which is radical in every sense of word. Some of the measures – a rise in the minimum wage, more cash for the NHS, free bus travel for under 25s and tens of thousands of new council homes – will have been welcomed in many quarters.
The plan to fund this has raised eyebrows among critics, with Labour planning to raise more than £80 billion through ramping up taxes on the wealthy and big business.
Then there’s the plan to nationalise key industries at a cost of around £200bn, and this week’s revelation Labour wants to compensate women hit by rises in the state pension age – at a cost of £58bn.
Cynics have suggested Mr Corbyn is simply trying to please as many people as possible, although his efforts to do the same thing with his Brexit stance seem to have missed their target.
It remains to be seen whether any of this resonates with voters, or whether many people will be drawn to the contrasting visions offered by smaller parties such as the Lib Dems and the Brexit Party.
It all means despite the public largely being fed up of politics, – and politicians in general – at least we have a clear choice next month.