Election 2017 Manifestos: Greens, UKIP & Others

My final look at the 2017 party manifestos turns attentions to those parties that are unlikely to win seats but are still exercising their democratic rights. I’m only include parties/groups/individuals standing in Welsh constituencies.

 

Greens (pdf)

Standing in: 10 Welsh constituencies.

 

      • Pilot a universal basic income.
      • Introduce a wealth tax on the top 1% of earners and a “Robin Hood tax” on financial transactions.
      • Phase out fossil fuel and nuclear energy, replacing them with renewables.
      • Supports holding a referendum on the final Brexit terms, with an option of remaining in the EU.
      • Scrap age-related minimum wage bands and reintroduce housing benefit for under-21s.
      • Lower the voting age to 16.
      • Cancel the Trident nuclear missile programme.
      • Increase the foreign aid budget from 0.7% of GDP to 1%.
      • Introduce proportional representation to all elections.
      • Retain the Human Rights Act and remain a party to the European Convention on Human Rights.


A lot of the Green policies overlap with those of Labour and the Liberal Democrats; for example, their tax and spend proposals largely line up with Labour, their position on Brexit is near enough identical to the Lib Dems.

The standout policy is support for a universal basic income, firstly as a pilot then as a gradual UK-wide roll out. It’s difficult to say how much their policies would cost because – like seemingly every party – they haven’t provided an estimate of their policy costs, except the £110billion expected to be saved by scrapping Trident.

At a Welsh level, the Greens have learnt their lesson from the previous two elections (at significant expense with loads of lost deposits) and have carefully selected where to stand. I don’t know if that’s deliberate or simply a result of the snap nature of the election.

UKIP (pdf)

Standing in: 32 Welsh constituencies.

 

      • Leave the EU immediately – without using the relevant legal channels – by repealing the European Communities Act 1972.
      • Reduce net-immigration to zero by 2022 and introduce a new international visa system; will grant law-abiding EU citizens who were living in the UK prior to Article 50 being triggered indefinite leave to remain (as long as the same is applied to UK citizens in the EU).
      • Ban the wearing of the niqab or burqa in public.
      • Raise the income tax personal allowance to £13,500; cut VAT and scrap green levies.
      • Maintain pensioner benefits like winter fuel allowance and the “triple lock” on state pensions.
      • Hire an extra 20,000 police officers, 7,000 prison officers and 4,000 border guards.
      • Abolish the TV licence and replace the majority of BBC funding with a subscription model.
      • Commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence.
      • Close the Department for International Development and cut foreign aid spending to 0.2% of GDP.
      • Introduce a proportional voting system, abolish the House of Lords (replaced with a 375-member English Parliament), halve the size of the House of Commons and ban postal voting by choice (as opposed to need).


Until the events earlier this week, UKIP looked like getting squeezed out and probably finishing with strings of lost deposits, but an inevitable capitalisation on any anger amongst the population will probably put them back over the 5% line in many seats – but I don’t think anyone’s expecting them to win anything and by all indications they’re going to see a big drop in the vote compared to 2015.

In terms of their policies, it’s mostly a carbon copy of their 2015 manifesto, but placed in a post-Brexit context.

In fairness, UKIP provide an outline of costings (which only Labour can say they’ve done to date). Maybe in many respects they’re being optimistic about the amount of money “saved” by leaving the EU and the possible impact of Brexit on trade and tax revenues, proposing to walk away with no deal and no negotiations.

Some of their more interesting policies relate to constitutional reform and are, in some respects, more radical than any of the other parties – like their proposal for national referendums every 2 years of the most popular topics, which could (I’m being cheeky here) presumably include rejoining the EU? Or, more sinisterly, reintroducing the death penalty.

Pirate Party (pdf)

Standing in: Cardiff South & Penarth; Gower; Vale of Glamorgan

 

      • Reform copyright laws, including cutting copyright duration to 10 years.
      • End mass surveillance and put in stronger protections covering government and commercially-collected data; strengthen the right to free speech.
      • No more bank bailouts.
      • Supports the introduction of a Land Value Tax.
      • Re-nationalise Royal Mail and the railways.
      • End public subsidies for fossil fuels.
      • All judicial processes should be fair, open and accountable; no more secret courts and reverse cuts to legal aid.
      • Retain the Human Rights Act and remain a party to the European Convention of Human Rights.
      • Remove the benefit cap and end age discrimination in the benefits system.
      • Supports the introduction of a universal basic income.

Leader of the Pirate Party, David Elson – who’s standing in the Vale of Glamorgan – said:

For me the most important of our three core policies is the right to free speech. Many other policies parties don’t even include ‘free speech’ in their manifesto, which is very telling.

 

Copyright reform sounds a niche policy to find at the front of a manifesto, but think about just how much of our education, science, health care – many things in our day to day lives – are behind a copyright wall. Copyright has been weaponised and is strangling creativity and innovation. We want a copyright system that opens access the best medicines, enables academics to access the most recent research, and ensures creators to get their dues – not a big publishing label.

 

With the disastrous passing of the ‘Snoopers Charter’, now more than ever do we need a strong Pirate voice to protect our privacy. Back-doors into encryption put us at risk, don’t make us safer and no one in Westminster understands how to handle modern technology and to ensure it’s used for good.”

Independents

Standing in: Bridgend; Gower; Newport East

Independents usually stand on their own policies, so there’s no single manifesto and you’ll have to look them up yourselves. I’ll be giving a more detailed outline of the proposals from Bridgend’s independent candidate (Cllr. Isabel Robson) in the next week or two.

Socialist Party of Great Britain (link)

Standing in: Swansea West

 

      • Public ownership of the means of production and living.
      • Society is divided by a class struggle between haves and have nots and can only be abolished through emancipation of the working class.
      • “Wage war” against any (i.e all) political parties that support capitalism.


Not to be confused with the (Arthur Scargill) Socialist Party, or the Socialist Workers Party –“Splitters!”

Monster Raving Loony Party (link)

Standing in: Ceredigion

 

    • Free woollen hats for all (so they can pull the wool over people’s eyes).
    • Puddles deeper than 3 inches will be marked with a yellow plastic duck.
    • Innocent prisoners will be released to reduce overcrowding.
    • Opposes capital punishment as it’s unfair to Londoners.
    • Wind farms will be created nationwide, where breaking wind will be encouraged.