General Election 2017: A manifesto guide

From ‘dementia tax’ to the legalisation of weed – here’s what you need to know.

Tom McArthur
May 21, 2017 · 5 min read
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Know who stands for what before you vote in June. (image: PA)

The ‘Big Three’ have launched their manifestos for the General Election this week.

To help our readers digest these weighty tomes, we’ve taken a look at the key pledges made by the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats – and the Green Party as a little bonus.

So; How will each party seek to win over voters between now and 8 June?

The Conservative Party

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Too much vinegar, Prime Minister? (image: PA)

By virtue of Theresa May’s gang currently being in power, let’s start with the Conservative Party.

Unveiling her party’s manifesto in Halifax, West Yorkshire, Theresa May said it tackles the “five giant challenges” facing Britain. The policies are being seen as a power grab for the centre ground and a direct play for ‘old school’ Labour votes.

  • Changes to dementia care, with protections for those with assets under £100,000
  • Meet 2015 commitment of a million homes by the end of 2020, with 500,000 more by 2025
  • Ending of free school meals for all
  • Reduction of migration to the “tens of thousands”
  • Ending of the pensions “triple lock”

Unlike Labour’s manifesto, there are no costings in the Tory one; how will they pay for it? Cutting immigration down to “tens of thousands” is nigh-on impossible. Why are the Tories “taxing” dementia?

The HuffPost has called May’s manifesto “good solid Conservatism”; Politico say it’s a “Red Tory” plan for Great Britain; and the Guardian think the PM “risks the wrath of older voters” with her plans.

The Labour party spent a not-insignificant amount of money to ensure their own “analysis” of the Tory manifesto was the top search entry on Google during the launch.

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Doubles all round in the Labour press office! 🍸

The Labour Party

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Jeremy and Theresa are polls apart… (image: PA)

Next up; Her Majesty’s Opposition. At Bradford University, Jeremy Corbyn said Labour’s manifesto is “for the many, not the few”.

The Labour leader says in the foreword: “Let’s build a fairer Britain where no one is held back. A country where everybody is able to get on in life, to have security at work and at home, to be decently paid for the work they do, and to live their lives with the dignity they deserve.”

  • Those on more than £80,000 a year will pay more tax
  • Hire 10,000 new police officers, 3,000 new firefighters
  • Major nationalisation programme, including railways, energy and water
  • Boost the NHS’s annual funding by over £6 billion and ring-fence mental health budgets
  • Abolish university tuition fees

Labour released costings for their manifesto, but the figures match exactly — a little too convenient perhaps? Would nationalisation actually solve the problems of the UK’s ageing rail network?

The Guardian say Labour’s programme may not persuade floating voters, but it could fire up already loyal supporters; The Financial Times goes as far to call it a “radical alternative”; but The Economist claims it “raises the bar for [election] suicide notes”.

The ‘mainstream media’, arguably, is giving Jeremy Corbyn a hard time, but he is fairing well with underground Grime artists and their fans.

The Liberal Democrats

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Will freeing the weed get Farron to №10? (image: PA)

Next up is Tim Farron and his merry band of eight fellow MPs, who are hoping to rebuild after the devastation of 2015’s election.

Targeting young people and Remainers, the Lib Dems urged voters to “imagine a brighter future”, without the “extreme version of Brexit that will wreck the future for you, your family, your schools and hospitals”.

  • A second referendum on EU membership
  • Legalisation of cannabis, which would raise £1bn a year
  • Extra £6 billion funding for the NHS
  • Reinstate housing benefit for 18–21 year olds
  • Scrap the so-called “Snoopers’ Charter”

The ‘48%’ — those who voted to Remain– aren’t a united body, and are unlikely to vote Lib Dem en masse. The party still has a damaged reputation from the Coalition years — but their strategy of building a base of young ‘woke’ voters might serve them well for 2022.

The Independent says the party has put “too many eggs in one basket”; The Telegraph calls the manifesto “a flop”; and Quentin Letts in The Daily Mail argues that Tim Farron “has sold his soul”.

Much has been made in recent weeks of Tim Farron’s personal views on gay sex and abortion, but his voting record on such matters is actually rather good.

When criticising plans to legalise cannabis, Theresa May recycled the tired and inaccurate “weed is a gateway drug” trope.

The Green Party

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The Green’s look set for a better vote share than Ukip (image: PA)

Check out their ‘Green Guarantee’ — ten pledges that their’s MPs must adhere to.

You can find Plaid Cymru’s manifesto here, and one for the Scottish National Party here.

Editor’s note: Ukip’s popularity has taken a dramatic nosedive post-Brexit vote, so we’ve decided not to fully cover their manifesto. You can find a link to their website here.

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