Every week until the general election, Shauna Dubler will be posting simple and easy to follow updates on the General Election Campaign for Bath Time Online – providing a clear and unbiased outline of current policy debates and party news.
Well Boris, that wasn’t very Christmassy.
Following three failed attempts to force an early election, Boris Johnson finally saw victory, when Parliament voted to support a general election on the 12th of December. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all the politics, here is your weekly breakdown:
The parties have started unveiling their plans and promises, with leaders already travelling the country to officially launch their campaigns. While not all manifestos have been published yet, parties have started to clarify their policy positions.
The Conservatives launched their ‘get Brexit done’ campaign, promising to implement an Australian style point system following the UK’s departure from the EU. Johnson has also indicated he would ensure a fast-track system and cheaper visas for doctors and nurses hoping to emigrate to the UK. The Conservatives have also pledged to invest in education.
Labour, on the other hand, are focusing on transforming the world of work for women, implementing new policies targeting structural barriers women face in the workplace. These policies include closing the gender pay gap, increased maternity leave, flexible working hours and free childcare. Labour will seek to negotiate a close future relationship with the EU, promising to put that deal to the public in another referendumin which the electorate would also have the option to remain. Labour also vow to cut energy bills and reduce carbon emissions if they come to power.
The Liberal Democrats have honed in on Brexit, pledging to revoke Article 50 straight off the bat if elected. They have also called for tax reform, promising to invest heavily in research and innovation. The Greens are calling for a #ClimateElection, placing climate change at the centre of their campaign. They have promised to implement a Green New Deal, redistribute wealth through neutral taxation and hold a second referendum on Brexit.
In other news, more lies continue to flood the electoral campaigns. Johnson was accused of misleading the public over Brexit following remarks made in Northern Ireland with regards to the customs union. Jo Swinson is in hot water again after misusing newspaper quotes and charts in misleading campaign leaflets. Both the Tory and Labour parties have been warned by the Institute of Fiscal Studies about their ambitious spending promises having called to question how such an immediate increase in investment spending could be achieved.
The Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru made headlines this week by announcing their ‘Unite to Remain Alliance’ in which they have promised not to stand against one another in 60 seats across England and Wales in order to avoid splitting the remain vote. You can read more about this in our article ‘Unite to Remain – Ingenious or Undemocratic’. On the Leave side of the debate, Boris Johnson ruled out a pact with Farage’s Brexit party.
We see history repeat itself as televised election debates are announced. Smaller parties are once again snubbed as only Johnson and Corbyn are invited to all TV debates. The SNP and Lib Dems threaten legal action while the Greens launched an online campaign with the hashtag #InviteTheGreens. According to a poll conducted by YouGov, Brits consider TV debates will be the most important factor in creating a difference during the election campaign. Another poll revealed that a majority of UK citizens believe all the party leaders should be involved, including the SNP, Plaid and Greens, however no further invitations have currently been made.
Finally, here is your reminder that you have until the 26th of November to register to vote; in this election every vote really does counts. Visit Bath Time Online again next week to read the latest on what’s been happening in the run up to the General Election.