This time it’s the turn of UKIP to be put under the spotlight with the launch of their manifesto.
It’s been said by many people over the last year that UKIP are one trick pony and have no policies. It’s fashionable to kick the man when you can’t kick the ball and the other parties have proven this with their continuous attacks on UKIP whilst refusing to debate the issues.
So are they a one trick pony? Well, they don’t seem to be from looking at their manifesto. whether you agree with what’s in there is, of course, up to you.
The main thrust of their approach seems to be two fold – firstly that every one of their policies has been independently costed, and secondly that the major source of funding for it all is dependent on leaving the EU and generating £120 billion a year.
That’s an awful lot of money that can be spent elsewhere, so let’s look at what they propose to do with it :
- Maintain business links to Europe through Swiss-style free-trade agreements – they’re not anti Europe just anti EU and want to trade with everyone including the EU which seems reasonable to me
- Raise tax-free threshold on income to £11,500, followed by a flat rate of 31% to replace current income tax and employees’ National Insurance (NI) – well, if you want to simplify the tax system then rolling NI into income tax seems a reasonable approach but it ain’t going to happen in five minutes!
- Abolish inheritance tax at “earliest opportunity” – I’ve always wondered why you should pay tax when you die on income you’ve already paid tax on all your life.
- Award only temporary work visas, using points-based system – works in other countries
- Double number of prison places and end early release, ensure life sentences are served totally in prison and set up “boot camps” for young offenders – capital investment required and recruitment of extra officers could come from ex-soldiers under their plans
- Abolish Crown Prosecution Service and put police in charge of taking offenders to court – I thin a lot of police would support that?
- Allow universities to choose on academic merit alone – that’s how it should be, not target driven
- Replace student loans and tuition fees with grants – turning back the clock
- NHS to remain free at point of delivery. No cuts in frontline services but waste and bureaucracy reduced, with matron in charge of hospital wards and nurses trained on-the-job, rather than at universities – Agree with most of that although Uni training does include and awful lot of hospital placements already.
- Revamp NHS management structure – well overdue
- Restore free eye tests and dental check-ups – good idea when you have the money
- Roll current state pension, Pensions Credit and Winter Fuel Allowance into a flat-rate, non-contributory Citizen’s Pension worth at least £130 a week for all people aged 65 and over – not convinced about the non-contributory bit. There’s already a minimum state pension anyway
- Freeze public sector pensions, bringing them “back into line with typical private sector pension provision” – removes the unfair advantage of being a civil servant
- Benefits are only available to UK citizens or those who have lived here for at least 5 years – I think a lot of people would go along with that?
- Retain national assemblies but replace representatives with Westminster MPs from those areas – There a lot of meat to go with that but it basically means national votes on national issues combined with UK votes on UK issues from the same people. Not convinced that it’s practical given the time demands it would place on MPs
- Introduce “Alternative Vote Plus”, with 450 MPs elected after earning at least 50% of constituency preferences, with 200 MPs elected by PR system – some sort of PR is a good idea in my view but I’m not convinced that this is it
- Repeal Climate Change Act and allow wind farms to be constructed only off-shore, abolishing EU carbon cap schemes, emissions trading, landfill taxes and renewable subsidies – get rid of an awful lot of bullshit!
- Incentivise use of 800,000 empty homes – a better idea than building thousand of new ones or 10 new Lib Dem cities!!
- Increase nuclear power to up to 50% of energy needs. Support efficient UK coal extraction for use in cleaner coal power stations – clean energy has to be a good thing and we certainly can’t go green following the Green Party ideas!
There’s a lot of other stuff in there as well and if I’m honest I can’t see a lot to disagree with on immigration, EU, NHS and policing and although I’m more in agreement with the principles than the mechanics.
They are able to offer a hell of a lot more than the other parties simply because they have more money to spend. Overall it does make me wonder why we give all that money to Europe and what we get in return when you see in black and white what else we could do with it.
Basically I guess it all comes down to whether you think the EU is good for us or bad…