Manifesto week

By the end of this week it will be manifest how poor is the grasp of environmental issues by our leading political parties.  I am not expecting that any of them will reach the standards of the Green Party’s environmental manifesto.

The Liberal Democrats: usually have some good things on the environment in their manifesto but are not going to have any hand in government this time around so it really doesn’t matter (here is the 2015 manifesto).

The SNP: what is the point of the SNP in Westminster? They do not engage with any English issues and therefore are no use at all in standing up to the Tories. Despite this, Nicola Sturgeon still says that the SNP is the ‘only real opposition to the Conservatives at Westminster’. If you send an SNP MP to Westminster you are making it all the more difficult to hold the Tories to account, or occasionally to vote them down on environmental matters affecting England.  I’m not against the SNP in Scotland (indeed, if I lived there I can imagine voting for them in Holyrood elections) but sending SNP MPs down here is not going to help my local environment so I’d rather you Scots sent Labour, LibDem or Greens to Westminster please.  The SNP manifesto will not say much about environmental issues except, possibly, something about fisheries and something about energy production (here is the 2015 manifesto).

Labour: despite the fact that the Labour manifesto has been leaked in advance, I haven’t heard of anything interesting about the environment in it.  Maybe there isn’t anything about the environment in it at all.  We are told that the Labour manifesto takes the party back to the 1970s and would take the country back there too – well, more farmland birds, Abba winning Eurovision, Brian Clough on TV and a referendum where we voted to stay in the EEC would all be things I’d like to see again! The Labour manifesto is usually very unconvincing about nature conservation (here is the 2015 version) as Labour tends to see the environment as being climate change and animals as synonymous with welfare issues. However, in 13 years when last in power, Labour delivered the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, the Climate Change Act and the Marine and Coastal Access Act – a record that is way beyond the achievements of the current Conservative administration.  The Labour Party seems clueless, and often is clueless, about rural issues including farming, forestry, and nature conservation, but at least Labour ministers tend to know that and consult widely before acting. Readers of this blog voted Hilary Benn the best Defra Secretary of State out of Beckett, Miliband, Benn, Spelman, Paterson and Truss and I’d be rather surprised if the inclusion of Leadsom would alter the winner in that race.

Conservative:  TM the PM said we wouldn’t be having a general election and now we are, so it is difficult to feel that the Conservative manifesto will be full of firm commitments that are honestly made. We know that a free vote of fox-hunting might be in there though. Defra has been a pathetic department for the past seven years and there can be no hope that things will be better post-election.  Might Defra even get the chop? Here is the 2015 Conservative election manifesto that forgot that the countryside existed except as a place overrun with badgers that had to be killed.


I’ll hope to be pointing out some good and bad things from the main party manifestos – which won’t include UKIP this time around unless it is full of amusing gaffs – soon after they are published.


Here is what I wrote about the Party manifestos in the 2015 general election: Conservative, Labour, UKIP, Green, Liberal Democrat, SNP, Plaid Cymru.


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4 Replies to “Manifesto week”

  1. I liked the way you used the mainstream media meme that the Labour manifesto takes the party back to the 70s to mention some of the more positive things from that time. The thing is though, that the "back to the 70s" strapline is pure right wing propganda( I hate the left, right labels but what else to use) supposed to blacken Labour with the more negative aspects of that time and make them seem old fashioned. Where as it would seem that the Tories want to take us back to the 1770s with us all doffing our caps to the laird and company CEOs.
    I usually vote Green by the way but as I live in a constituency where they would vote for a brick if it were painted blue I tend to sit on the sidelines in general elections.
    I would still recommend checking out the Medialens site for media bias both in general and during the election in particular

  2. "Whats the point of SNP in Westminster", kinda missing the point here, I don't want to see any SNP MPs in Westminster either I don't want anything to do with a backward, bankrupt Westminster. I want to see Labour MPs in an independent Holyrood but this is never going to happen given your inexplicable obsession down there with the nasty party, which is then of course forced on us. The only option we have is to vote for a party (all be it a populist mob who try to placate everyone and ends up pleasing no one) who will hopefully take us out of this ridiculously unfair,corrupt union.

  3. Hi Mark

    On the BBC website the other day there was a fully copy of the leaked Labour Party manifesto. It definitely had a section on the environment, albeit it further into it. It was general, but quite strongly worded.

  4. The SNP get returned to Westminster because, while they take a neutral stance on English issues, they do stand up for ones effecting Scotland and put Scottish interests first. Scottish Labour might have stood up on English issues, but they always did everything based on the national party's interest. That is to say, based on the English part of Labour's interests. Scottish Labour's MPs always saw themselves as just there to make up the numbers. You can understand why that got old after a while. Don't worry though, the SNP will almost certainly not get such a clean sweep this time. Scottish politics is always fractious and many disagree, it is a feature of our society to make sure nobody gets too complacent at the helm.

    This is why we need further devolution, and devolution not just of but within England too, to create a proper devolved system based on the Belgian model. So that nobody feels that their MPs are just making up the numbers to serve someone else's interests. This would also make it easier for people's in the North of England and other flood prone areas to enact land reform to shutter their own grouse moors (to keep this vaguely on topic).


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