Referendum; a vote on a single political decision which has been put to the public.
Example; Scotland had a referendum in 2014 to decide if they wanted to stay in the United Kingdom. (They did. Just.)
Right now; it’s about whether the UK wants to leave the European Union.
The EU is a political and economic partnership of 28 European countries.
It is run by the European Parliament. Members of European Parliament (MEPs) are voted in every five years by the public. MEPs set laws which cover transport and business rules in Europe among many other things.
The European Commission proposes laws to the Parliament and enforces EU law. It upholds treaties and looks out for the interests of the European Union – not individual countries.
The EU operates a Common Market.
Sometimes called a single market this means goods, services, money and currency; but most importantly people can move freely between EU states. The idea is free movement of goods and services, which means good news for business and everyone profits. No, it doesn’t mean you get stuff for free.
In 1973 the UK signed up to the common market (called the European Economic Community or EEC) to trade with other countries and develop international relationships. Jump to 1993; the EEC became the European Union and the European Parliament arrived. Some say 75% of UK laws are influenced by the EU parliament; others say as little as 7%.
That’s the million dollar question. We’ll be wrapping up the main arguments for and against the EU in a way even an 11-year-old can get their head around. Stay tuned for the full video coming soon.
The EU referendum will take place on Thursday 23rd June 2016.
Cameron has negotiated a set of changes to the UK’s EU membership. He wants to:
– Protect the single market for non-Euro countries like Britain
The UK is one of nine EU countries which doesn’t use the Euro as it’s currency. Cameron wants to ensure that the Euro-using countries can’t gang up and force through measures on non-Euro countries. He also wants to ensure there is no discrimination or no disadvantage for non-Euro countries.
– Change immigration rules
Current EU immigration rules mean that people from EU countries can travel to Britain to work without needing a visa or a work permit.
This also means that they can claim state benefits. Cameron wants to reduce the number of economic migrants coming into Britain. To do this he plans to restrict migrants from claiming benefits until they’ve worked in the UK for four years. Everyone seems to think this is unlikely to happen.
– Get Britain out of the “ever closer union”
One of the founding EU principles which the UK signed up to was the ever closer union. This means European citizens driving to integrate more closely.
EU skeptics dislike this idea as it erodes our national identity and could lead to an EU superstate. Cameron wants a legally binding “get out of jail free” card for Britain. He also wants national parliaments to have more power to block resolutions from the EU parliament.
– Make Europe business friendly
The EU parliament sets certain regulations for businesses in Europe. E.g. the standards new products have to meet when tested. Cameron wants to cut the “red tape” which he believes is holding businesses back.
Not everyone is satisfied with these demands. One Tory MP asked “is that it? Is that the sum total of the government’s position in the renegotiation?”
Another asked “how is he going to be able to sell this pig in a poke?” This is a reference to the allegations that David Cameron did something very naughty with a pig’s head whilst at university.
The latest reports suggest that the prime minister wants to push on with the EU referendum sooner rather than later, perhaps even before the end of 2016. We’ll be updating when we know more.
The question which will be put to the UK is ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’ The choice of answers will be ‘Remain a member of the European Union’ or ‘Leave the European Union’.
You’ll have to be 18+ to vote in the EU referendum – this is different to the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, where 16 and 17 year olds got to vote.
Britain Stronger in Europe (BSIE) is a major campaign to stay in the EU. Headed up by former Marks and Spencer boss Lord Rose the campaign has the backing of former Labour Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair as well as Caroline Lucas from the Green Party and Conservative Damian Green.
In Campaign Decoded: The campaign video concentrates on the business argument for staying “in”. The EU is our main trading partner – if we leave the free market we start paying import and export taxes which would hurt business. Without the EU the UK risks being isolated in the international community.
Though there are other pro-EU campaigns, it’s likely BSIE will be chosen as the official “in” campaign by the Electoral Commission.
The Vote Leave group is the official “out” campaign. The two main faces of Vote Leave are soon to be ex Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Conservative MP Michael Gove. .
Out Campaign Decoded: The campaign video focuses on the cost of EU membership. As the UK is one of the richest EU countries it (along with Germany and France) pays more for our membership. Some estimates put the total cost as high as £118 billion a year. Ouch.
Both Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave are cross-party campaigns – made up of MPs from various political parties.
Are you “in” or “out”? Let us know in the comments below.
The UK government promised to lower immigration levels to the tens of thousands. They are nowhere near meeting this target; do they really want immigration to drop?
By Bobbie Mills
Immigration is up there with the NHS and the economy as the issue which most worries Britain’s electorate. When politicians start on their immigration spiel, what we hear are numbers, numbers, numbers.
One number in particular keeps coming up: Net migration figures. This is the total number of people coming in to the country minus the total number of people going out.
If 100 people come in and 99 go out, net migration is 1.
If 1 person comes in and 0 go out, net migration is 1.
This figure includes people coming or going for more than a year for reasons of: work, study, joining family and seeking asylum. This means we are counting a very mixed bag of people –including students, children who arrive as dependents, senior managers transferring to their company’s London branch, and asylum seekers who cannot work while they await a decision on their refugee status.
The most recent statistics show net migration in the UK to be at 330,000.
This figure is enormously greater than Cameron’s pledged reduction of net migration to the tens of thousands. The Conservative government have since renewed their commitment to reducing net migration to these levels, but literally no one believes this is possible. Fail!
Why is the government failing so monumentally at meeting this target? Why do we want so badly to reduce immigration in the first place? Is it really such a good idea?
There is one simple answer to these questions: Not everyone wants to reduce immigration – INCLUDING THE GOVERNMENT.
Yes. We’ll say it again – the UK Conservative government, and pretty much any rich democratic state, does NOT want to reduce immigration by anywhere near the amount it says it does.
Cameron’s government could not be clearer in what it says about immigration: the current rate is too much and must be reduced. We know, however, that there is often a difference between what politicians say and what they mean.
Behind the scenes, the government is being pulled in two different directions on the subject of immigration.
This is because there is a great demand for immigration (both high-skilled and low-skilled) from the business sector. Rich economies like the UK rely on immigration to function properly. This not only goes for the National Health Service but also for processing plants, hotel cleaning, public transport and food processing, the list goes on.
The government has great interest both in keeping the economy moving and keeping the business sector happy. Therefore, it has great interest in allowing immigration at a reasonable level.
Why does the business sector favour higher levels of immigration? Business leaders tend to favour the free movement of highly-skilled workers because this allows them to take their pick from a wider pool of talented people. No surprises there.
Business leaders also tend to favour the freer movement of low-skilled workers because these people are more likely to take the jobs that British nationals simply do not want to do.
There are certain jobs that most Brits will not do because the education and aspirations that come with living in a rich economy mean they tend to want well-paid and fulfilling jobs which are seen as better than manual jobs. Even if we don’t want jobs from the top of the pile, we still have an idea of acceptable working hours, acceptable pay, and an idea of our rights.
Migrants, like everyone else, also have education and aspirations for decent jobs and a decent life – and this is why they decide to leave their country where they see few opportunities to come to work in a rich economy. Those who come to Britain, rather than another country, do so because they speak English (which all politicians agree they should do) or because they already have friends or family living there.
Not only are migrants more likely to take jobs that Brits do not want; migrants are also much more easily exploited than British nationals. This is because their visas are conditional on them remaining with a particular employer. If they quit their job because, say, their wages are being withheld, they automatically become illegal immigrants. Therefore, even if there were plenty of British nationals who wanted to do the hard and poorly-paid work typically done by migrants – like picking vegetables and cleaning toilets – employers would still prefer to employ migrants because they are cannot quit. They are a captive and exploited workforce, unlikely to complain.
This is the harsh reality of why the business sector prefers higher levels of immigration. Because the government needs to keep the economy growing and to keep business happy, it has great interest in allowing immigration at a reasonable level. This is why the government does not want to reduce immigration as much as it says it does, and why in many ways it does not want to meet its net migration target.
On top of this, there are reasons why the UK government cannot meet its target. All liberal democratic governments (who are committed to freedom, equality and human rights) are under a number of obligations under international law to guarantee human rights.
The UK is bound by the UN Convention on Refugees which requires it to provide shelter to people fleeing war and persecution.
The UK has passed the Human Rights Act, which brings its law into line with the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 8 of which guarantees the right to a family life.
This means that the government cannot really control the number of people who settle in Britain as refugees or through family reunification. Neither can it control the number of people arriving, settling or leaving from within the European Union, owing to the terms of its membership of the EU.
Let’s combine the business stuff with the human rights stuff. There are big reasons why the government cannot meet its target on reducing net migration – because this would be going against a whole bunch of human rights conventions. Then there are equally important reasons why the government does not want to meet its target. Not only would this displease powerful business leaders, it would also be a very bad move for the British economy, which relies on migrants workers both highly- and low- skilled.
Again, there is a simple answer to this: the government wants your vote, and it thinks that what you want are fewer immigrants in the country. So long as the government believes that the electorate is opposed to immigration, it will do all it can to at least appear to be reducing immigration by any means possible, regardless of how many it actually wants to let in.
This is where the targets come in – nothing sends a strong message of a government’s intentions like a solid target for reducing immigration.
Everything this article has explained so far is what fancy-pants people call the ‘liberal constraint theory’. Governments tend to have good reason to want to keep immigration at a good level, but because public opinion tends to be anti-immigration, they have to keep up a tough-on-immigration rhetoric to win votes. Any government who wants to win votes, keep the business sector happy, and uphold international obligations finds itself in this tricky situation. So that goes for basically any liberal democratic government ever, it’s not just a UK thing, it’s not even a left- or right-wing thing.
There’s a loose end to this theory. Does public opinion always tend to be anti-immigration?
It’s not even that clear what the British public actually think about immigration – and we seem to be obsessed with talking about it!
The British Social Attitudes Survey found in 2011 that 77% of the public wish to see immigration reduced, whilst research from think tank British Future found in 2014 that the majority of the public have much more pragmatic and nuanced views, and do not necessarily wish to see it reduced. Is our government pandering to an anti-immigrant public opinion that doesn’t exist?
To be fair – the arguments surrounding the immigration debate are pretty hard to stay on top of. Every argument has a counter-argument, and it’s hard to get our thoughts straight.
Scenes of Reason have put together a graphic that shows why the immigration debate cannot be won.
Politicians know that immigration is ultimately what our economy needs to keep ticking over.
Conversely, every politician feels the need to take seriously people’s legitimate worries about how their towns are changing and how their local services are faring. That makes a lot of sense: people do have genuine worries and problems. Whether these problems are genuinely caused by immigration is an important and complex part of the debate.
What should politicians make of the fact that a lot of people see immigration as a problem not so much for their local area but for Britain as a whole? This trend was found by an Ipsos Mori study:
What should we make of the fact that a lot of the anti-immigration feeling in Britain comes from places which have next to no immigrants living in them? This is the case in Clacton-on-Sea where UKIP member Douglas Carswell won his seat. According to the last census, less than 1 in 20 residents of Clacton were born abroad.
What makes people anti-immigrant?
Local level tactics. It has been proposed that rather than shouting at the government for or against the crisis, members of the public need to contact their local MP and work up rather than down. How immigration affects your town should be more of a concern than how immigration affects the entire of the UK. Whatever you think about these issues, you can contact your MP using the WriteToThem service. Now you’re decoded, there might not be an excuse.
Immigration in the UK explained: The UK government does not want to reduce immigration as much as it says it does because it knows how important immigration is for the UK economy. However, all political parties maintain tough rhetoric on reducing immigration because this is what they believe the UK electorate want to hear. Is this what you want to hear?
How do we form our views on migration? Do we care how immigration impacts the economy? Is it more about how it affects our local area? How can we know what kind of impact immigration is really having? If we have no direct experience with UK immigration, where do our views come from? Are these fears about immigration coming from the press?
Bobbie has just finished an MSc in Migration Studies at the University of Oxford. She writes on politics, the media and migration and lives in North London @MsBobbieMills
When did the European migration crisis turn into a refugee crisis? What’s the difference, and what does it have to do with immigration?
By Bobbie Mills
Whatever you think about migration, chances are you will agree that what has been happening across Europe over the past few months is a shocking mess. Over 2,500 are estimated to have died in the Mediterranean Sea since the start of 2015. Sadly, this is nothing new. The conflict in Syria mean that thousands more have judged it time to leave, adding to the 11 million already displaced in and around Syria and adding to the thousands making the journey to Europe. It would be fair to say that the situation has stepped up a bit.
If this has been going on for a while, why are we taking notice now?
In late July, a lorry strike brought Britain’s attention to a “swarm” of so-called “marauding migrants” attempting to cross through the Channel Tunnel from Calais to England.
It could be argued that calls to send in the army were a little hysterical considering that the number of migrants trying enter Britain are a fraction of those in Europe. News also came of thousands of people in Hungary demanding to get on trains to Germany. Images of bodies washed up on beaches in Turkey, especially one of a toddler, caused moral outrage and European leaders came under pressure to take in refugees.
David Cameron announced on Monday that Britain will take 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next 5 years.
Not compared with Germany. The German Vice Chancellor has said it can handle up to 500,000 asylum seekers every year for the next few years!
The cheeky twist to Britain’s response is that the people it will host will be transferred directly from the refugee camps established in Syria and the surrounding area.
What about all those migrants already in Europe? The upshot is Britain won’t be taking them.
The British government reckons that taking in people already in Europe will encourage yet more to pay smugglers and to make the dangerous journey. How will residents of Kent and Calais feel about this? The situation isn’t going away on its own.
Another reason given for not taking in people who are already in Europe is, basically, that not all of them deserve Britain’s help.
Responding to claims that Britain is a “fucking disgrace” for not taking its share of Europe’s asylum seekers, Boris Johnson makes one point plain and simple: not all of these people are genuine refugees – many are “migrants”.
Hold up. What’s the difference between a “refugee” and a “migrant”?
Whether someone is considered a migrant or a refugee has massive and immediate impact on their life, and also on the countries and towns we live in.
A refugee is a specific legal category, defined by the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention as someone who:
“owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
A person is a refugee if they have been awarded refugee status by a state, or registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Refugees are legally entitled to a set of protections and cannot be sent back to the country they have sought refuge from. Whilst awaiting a decision on their asylum application, asylum seekers are not permitted to work in the UK and may be detained to make sure they don’t disappear. Charming.
‘Migrant’ is a much more wishy-washy word with no universally accepted meaning. If we go with the United Nations definition like we did for our refugee definition, their recommendations on migration statistics define an international migrant as “any person who changes his or her country of usual residence.” Simples.
Yet this is not what most people think of when they hear the word “migrants”. We tend to picture a specific type of migrant – an economic migrant. Economic migrants change their country of residence for economic reasons like work and better wages.
Britain, like most rich countries, has a never-ending debate about whether this kind of immigration is good for the country.
Some reckon that letting people come is an important part of Britain. After all migrants do jobs that most UK nationals just won’t do, like fruit and flower picking bent double for long hours. They bring skills that Britain is short of, like nursing and construction. There are also people who really value diversity. These people may also reckon that the world would be better if we were able to share its resources more evenly.
Opposing these views are people who feel that, given high levels of youth employment, if the UK is lacking skills then Brits should be being trained rather than foreigners being hired in. As well as worries about migrants taking British jobs, people also fret about non-Brits living off unemployment and housing benefit. You can’t have it both ways.
Also, some people feel that the rate of UK immigration is ‘too much, too fast’ as they feel neighbourhoods have changed rapidly.
A sideline to this debate is fears over “illegal immigrants”. These are considered to be economic migrants who have entered the country without a proper visa. People who do not have permission to reside in the UK can be detained and deported.
A debate on the language we use to talk about people who move from country to country has blown up out of the current migrant crisis… I mean refugee crisis… or do I mean migrant and refugee crisis?
Let’s go back to the start. All the jibber-jabber began when Al Jazeera announced it would no longer use the term ‘migrants’ to describe what was going on in the Mediterranean. ‘Migrant’ – it argued – had become a dehumanising, inaccurate term, undermining the value of the lives lost at sea:
“It is not hundreds of people who drown when a boat goes down in the Mediterranean, nor even hundreds of refugees. It is hundreds of migrants. It is not a person – like you, filled with thoughts and history and hopes – who is on the tracks delaying a train. It is a migrant. A nuisance.”
‘Refugee’ became the choice replacement – because the majority of the people at the borders are escaping war and persecution.
This was received really, really well. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) circulated the graphic pictured above and a change.org petition requesting the BBC to use the “correct” term for the refugee crisis gained nearly 75,000 signatures.
Here is how these groups are distinguishing migrants from refugees:
“All the prominent English language dictionaries define a migrant as someone who moves from one country to another in search of work and better living standards. A refugee, on the other hand, is defined as someone who is forced to leave their country in order to escape war and persecution.”
The difference rides on people choosing to move, and people being forced to move.
The problem: the difference between the two is not as straightforward as all these articles suggest. It’s the total opposite of straightforward. We had better do some explaining;
The million dollar question: who can really tell the difference between force and choice?
Research tells us there is little difference between the people who apply for asylum and those who do not. When someone leaves their home, is it because of corruption and violence or because they’ve been unable to find work? Aren’t the two connected? If it were you would you feel you had any choice in the matter?
No one wants to undermine the troubles of people leaving Syria; some would argue we shouldn’t undermine the problems of other migrants, either.
The petitions have got one thing right, the word ‘migrant’ certainly is dehumanising. However, insisting on calling them ‘refugees’ instead does not solve the problem. This is because it accepts the worthlessness attached to the lives of ‘migrants’, arguing that ‘refugees’ are a fundamentally different kind of people who are more worthy of help and compassion.
As Professor Jørgen Carling argues:
“When people drown at sea or suffocate in lorries, our first question should not be ‘so, which kind were they, refugees or migrants?’”
At Scenes of Reason, we reckon there is one thing missing from this debate: how do these people who are moving actually want to be seen? Who do they think they are, and who do they want to be?
Our media has given us the idea that everyone arriving in Europe would like to qualify as a refugee. But there are accounts (read page 66) of the shame that some people feel on becoming refugees. This is understandable – no one likes to be a burden on anyone else. Rather than the protection afforded by refugee status, some people would prefer a work permit and the opportunity to make their own way. What do you think? Beggars can’t be choosers?
Neither ‘migrant’ or ‘refugee’ are perfect as labels. The resounding message from people interviewed in camps is that they are people too. So, why not just call them people?
Explore: Why are these refugees all hench lads with iPads? What should a refugee look like?
This is a bit like the question ‘Nicolas Cage, good or bad?’ No one knows the answer because there isn’t one!!!
The debate on immigration has been going on pretty much the same way since forever. Have a read of Enoch Powell’s famous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech – delivered to a Conservative Association meeting in 1968 – to get an idea of just how much the debate in Britain has changed since then (hint: it hasn’t changed much).
It can always be argued that migration is good in some ways, bad in others. It may seem like a cop-out not to be getting down and dirty with the evidence for and against. Yet there is so much contradictory evidence out there that we begin to wonder: are we asking the wrong question?
Migration is neither fundamentally good nor fundamentally bad. It is normal and is not going to go away. The question that needs asking is how it is managed. This involves a lot of difficulties, like concerns about integration.
However, the bottom line is: the current ‘keep-them-out’ tactic is causing deaths.
Issuing key guidelines for dealing with what is happening in Europe right now, UNHCR chief António Guterres encouraged a common strategy but ultimately warned that “none of these efforts will be effective without opening up more opportunities for people to come legally to Europe”.
This involves expanding visa programmes, scholarships and all other ways to migrate legally outside of the refugee system. This, he says, will “reduce the number of those who are forced to risk their lives at sea for lack of alternative options.”
Who is right?
Boris Johnson, who says that “the first step to finding a constructive way forward” is “recognising that not all migrants are refugees”, or UNHCR chief Guterres, who reckons that solving the current crisis cannot be done without opening up borders to more legal migrants?
We’re now analysing the language we use to describe people who move from country to country. Should we have started doing that a long time ago? Should we think of the current refugee crisis as part of a much bigger, longer conversation on migration?
Bobbie has just finished an MSc in Migration Studies at the University of Oxford. She writes on politics, the media and migration and lives in North London @MsBobbieMills
Become independent, control our borders and believe in Britain – it’s the UK Independence Party’s 2015 Manifesto
It’s in the name really: United Kingdom INDEPENDENCE Party.
As UKIP outline in their 2015 manifesto they want out of the EU. Why? They say we’ve lost the rights to make our own laws and the EU has far too much control over our laws, foreign affairs, tax and trade agreements. As more countries join the EU our share of the vote goes down – so even when the UK votes against stuff we often still end up with it as UK law.
Add in the surge in popularity for the idea of an EU army and police force – able to act in Britain of course, and UKIP think it’s time to go.
UKIP want an EU REFERENDUM as soon as possible – if the public vote to go then we can either leave immediately, or activate the Lisbon Treaty, giving us two years to go (this is the option UKIP prefers)
Objectives for a British Exit (BREXIT): sort a good trade deal with the EU and make sure we stay good mates: sharing intelligence, powers of extradition in case our criminals try to escape there, disaster relief and so on. So you give us that, and we’ll go off and do the rest ourselves. OK? Not asking for much, is it?!
UKIP will raise the amount before you pay tax to £13,000
The amount before you pay 40% will rise to £55,000 and a new 30% rate will be added for incomes between £43,500 and £55,000 – to help middle earners.
Inheritance Tax will be abolished altogether as UKIP believes assets bought with money you were taxed on should not be taxed again when you die.
NO MORE TAX DODGING FOR BIG BUSINESSES – bring back a law which stops companies choosing which EU country they pay tax in. That’ll learn you.
Take back control of the borders! No more immigration for migrants in unskilled jobs for a five year period and reduce high skilled jobs visas to 50,000 a year. This should ease the pressure on public services which UKIP say are struggling to cope because of immigrants coming in and using them without paying taxes.
Get lots more border staff and bring in an Australian Style Points System which looks at the skills you have to ensure you can benefit the country before you’re given a visa. The UK currently does a points system ONLY if you’re from outside the EU.
No benefits for migrants including free NHS treatment until they have paid tax and national insurance for five years. This also applies to social housing. All visitors and immigrants must have their own health insurance.
Foreign criminals will not be allowed to enter and migrants who commit crimes resulting in jail time will be deported.
Keep the NHS free and spend £12 billion more to ensure it stays that way and is able to function properly.
No more privatisation either. And that cheeky EU/USA secret trade deal that might mean we have to put bits of the NHS up for sale to US companies? You can do one as well.
Let’s have 8000 more GPs and waive tuition fees for medical students who work in Britain for 5 years after qualifying. And 20,000 more nurses, 3000 extra midwives.
£1.5 billion will go into mental health and dementia services. And there will be NO hospital parking charges.
Social care for the elderly will go into the control of the NHS for a simpler system. Social care funding will also rise by £1.2 billion. Home care visits will be longer than the current 15 minute times allotted.
No more lowering of benefits if you have an empty spare room – that’s just wrong. What’s also wrong is pretending you’re ill: If you’ve been sick and your doctor thinks you’re well again they will LEGALLY have to grass you in to the government. No-where to hide, scroungers.
However more people will be trained up to help in 800 food banks across the country.
You’ll only get child benefits for two children. BUT you’ll still get 15 hours free childcare AND all primary schools will have to offer childcare from 8AM to 6PM – so you can get back to work and pay for them!
Fathers for Justice rejoice – UKIP will work for 50/50 shared parenting in child residency to become the norm.
We need more doctors, engineers and nurses so cut Uni tuition fees for science, technology, maths and medicine. From primary school kids will be encouraged by a “science leader” to take an interest in the subject.
Reduce class sizes and teacher paperwork so that quality of teaching is better. And let people go straight onto A levels from 16, rather than having the stress of AS level exams.
First aid training will become part of the curriculum.
Create more affordable homes and make sure local people get first access. People with local connections to the area will get priority for council housing and only British Nationals will be helped by Right to Buy schemes.
Get people to rent out their empty homes by upping council tax if it’s left empty for more than two years. And give local people more control over where houses are allowed to be built.
Build 1 million houses on Brownfield sites (land previously used for industrial or commercial space) by 2025 and local people will have more say in where they are built. No tax on selling these if the property’s worth is below £250,000.
Rich home owners breathe a sigh of relief: No mansion tax at all.
The Manifesto for UKIP says linking London to the North of England via the proposed super-fast High Speed 2 network is silly–Instead spend the money on protecting the legacy of the car industry by taking away road tax for cars over 25 years old.
Who wants to pay to drive? No more toll roads and oppose the EU’s plan to price up European roads.
Also we need more airports around the South East. Take Manston Airport. We could re-open that as it’s “ideally placed to take low cost airlines” and is “close to the railway network”. Nothing to do with it being in Nigel Farage’s constituency….
Instead of a really expensive Climate Change Act let’s get Fracking for Shale Gas! And only invest in renewable energy where they can deliver CHEAPLY. And we must save the coal industry because in the past it gave us loads of jobs…
British workers need to come first: stop the EU encouraging companies to look abroad first and allow them to pick Brits over foreigners.
Enforce the minimum wage and keep zero hour contracts because some people do find them useful. But make them fairer ensuring people can look for other work and get a good notice period for when they’ll be needed.
Make things better for small businesses by encouraging people to town centres with free parking and cutting business property tax for companies in properties worth under £50,000
And allow young people to start apprenticeships in the place of four non-core GCSE subjects
Farmers are great and we need them to give us good British food – so let’s give them a farm payment of £80 per acre and get food labelled so we know which country it’s come from.
Also put cameras in abattoirs to make sure there’s been no maltreatment of animals (if there is the punishment will be tripled) and vote on genetically modified foods.
Not just farmers – get rid of EU rules that screw over British fishermen and make sure that only Brits can fish for 12 miles offshore.
Save Britain’s heritage by creating a minister to look after old, listed buildings and boost tourism.
Re-instate the good old British boozer as a staple of British society – cigarette packets will be branded again and smoking rooms will be back (though properly ventilated this time).
UKIP promise 3,500 more staff for police and prisons. There will be no privatisation of the police force at all. And no European Union police force on our streets please.
British Law will be the highest power once we’ve removed ourselves from the European Court of Human Rights. Foreign prisoners will be deported immediately – BYE. This will mean lots more places to lock up British baddies.
Qualified prisoners will teach other wrong ‘uns reading and writing – and we’ll pay them! But any money will go towards compensation for whoever they’ve wronged.
Criminals don’t get the vote. Obviously.
Only MPs for English constituencies get a say on English matters. Every two years there will be a public vote on the most popular petition that gets over 2 million signatures.
And if 20% of you don’t like your MP you can trigger a by-election and try to get them voted out!
Also let’s bring in Proportional Representation (PR). It’s much fairer than the current system as the % of votes won by your party = % of seats your party gets in parliament. And it probably means UKIP will get more MPs…
UKIP will promote British culture – and reject multiculturalism. Other cultures and religions welcome so long as you accept British culture as top dog. Any ideas should be open to discussion – so let’s have none of this “offense culture” where people are scared to say what they think.
So: No more multi-language formats on official documents. You get English and you’ll enjoy it… OK, fine you can have some Welsh and Gaelic.
There will be 100% zero tolerance on Female Genital Mutilation and in schools and public services there will be a legal requirement to report suspected cases.
St. George’s Day becomes a Bank Holiday. Wales also gets one on St. David’s Day. More holidays = Love UKIP
At least 2% of all the moneys will go to defence – as recommended by NATO. At least £4 billion more will be spent on defence by 2020.
More needs to be done for our brave British soldiers – so they won’t pay any tax, will get their own hospital and loans to start up their own businesses. And there will NEVER be an EU army on our watch.
When pension age does rise to 69 you’ll be able to retire at 65 but you’ll receive a little less pension money. Your call.
Pension Advice services will get their budgets doubled so you know what you’re going for and it’ll be illegal for anyone to cold call you about pensions.
First of all save £9 billion a year by leaving the European Union. Then reduce money going to overseas aid to 0.2% total income. Seems to work for America.
Scrap High Speed 2 and save £4 billion to be used more wisely. Reduce spending by £5.5billion by making public spending more equal across the UK – rather than some of the country getting more than others. Scotland we’re looking at you.
Make Westminster cheaper: Reduce the number of MPs and make sure constituencies are the same size and axe a number of government departments (Sayonara to Energy and Climate Change, International Development, and Culture Media and Sport), and a big clamp down on MPs expenses.
Go Fracking! Establish a sovereign wealth fund from the tax profits of Fracking – all funds go towards social care of older people.
At the back: Handy charts and figures from an independent consultant showing how much their policies will save and where spending will go. Oooooh, fancy.
Leader Nigel Farage claims this is the only manifesto to be properly costed.
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Key Message: Let us finish the job…
PAT ON THE BACK: WE’VE DONE A GOOD JOB
We have created 1,000 jobs for each day in Parliament since 2010
We have halved the deficit as a share of our economy
AND THERE’S MORE TO COME…
HAVE A LONG TERM ECONOMIC PLAN AND STICK TO IT
Get the debt down! Reduce government spending by 1% each year for two years. Put simply: Save £1 a year in every £100 that government spends. If I had £1 for every time I spend £100 I’d have saved £1.50…
Get rid of the Budget Deficit by 2017/18. Deficit = gap between what the government spends and what it receives in taxes
Not only that: the Conservatives want to run a Budget Surplus by 2018/19. Surplus = bring in more money in taxes than it spends and have some left over…
WORK, TAX AND PLAY
Give more money to hardworking people: The amount you earn before you pay any tax is going up to £12,500. On a bigger salary? The amount you earn before you pay higher 40% rates of tax will also go up to £50,000 from £31, 786.
The Minimum Wage will continue to go up to £8 by 2020 and after the first budget of the new government anyone working 30 hours on the Minimum Wage won’t pay ANY tax at all.
Business will be encouraged to pay the Living Wage and the amount you’re allowed to earn before you pay tax will automatically go up as the Minimum Wage rises.
Homes worth up to £1 million will be exempt from inheritance tax under new laws.
The Conservatives are big on apprenticeships: they want to create 3 million AND if you’re an apprentice under 25 you won’t have to pay national insurance meaning more money for you.
Big Changes to state benefits as they are combined into one Universal Credit system which will continue to be rolled out. The whole idea: Work pays and if you can work, you should. The amount of benefits one household can receive will go down to £23,000 and working age benefits will not go up for two years – with exemptions for disability and pensioner benefits.
Young people pay attention: instead of job seekers allowance for 18-21s, there will now be “youth allowance” where after 6 months you will have to be in an apprenticeship or do community work to receive benefits.
Go Equality… for companies with more than 250 employees. You guys are the chosen ones and will have to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees. Here’s hoping there is a reason why it isn’t for all companies.
IT’S JUST BUSINESS
Don’t trust banks? They will be supervised more strictly by the Bank of England. More safeguards will be put in place so your money will be more protected should the economy go wobbly again. Let’s hope we can trust the B of E then hey?!
Conservative Plan: Tax the banks on their debts to stop them borrowing silly amounts and DON’T allow them to pay less tax by knocking down their profits with their losses from previous years.
Help small businesses to grow with loans from the “Help to Grow” scheme, and give them “the most competitive taxes of any major economy”. Young Entrepreneurs will get the chance to start-up their own businesses when the “Start Up Loans” Programme is expanded. YAY FOR SCENES OF REASON!!!
Sell more British products = stronger British economy. The Conservatives have a target of £1 trillion in British exports and will work on a 25 year plan to sell more British food. Nom nom.
GETTING OUT AND ABOUT
Keep it cheap: rail fares will NOT go up. Train companies will not be allowed to raise ticket prices above inflation levels (inflation: where value of money goes down, but how much stuff costs goes up)
Invest the North! £13 billion will go on transport in the north of England AND £38 billion for the UK’s railway network in the next five years. This includes work on High Speed 2 (ultra-fast train line between London and the North) and development of High Speed 3 (proposed line going further north) connecting up the country.
Not impressed? Well, let’s throw in £15 billion to improve roads around the UK. Austerity, wha?
SCHOOLS, EDUCATION AND CULTURE
Time to get tough: We need to improve at stuff like maths, science and grammar as we’re currently dropping down the league tables. 17,500 extra maths and physics teachers will be brought in. Kids will have to sit exams at the end of Primary School and retake when they start Secondary School if they fail. Where’s my calculator?
More free schools for those who want them. Free Schools can be set up by parents, charities, universities, trusts and can choose their own curriculum of what to teach as long as it’s “broad and balanced”. Sound good? Not everyone agrees with dismantling the education system…
Increase the number of women in charge of national sports departments to inspire women in sport AND support school sports funding with £150 million a year. That will probably go on lost tennis balls..
Protect the children! Bring in age verification for access to all websites containing pornographic material and age-rating for all music videos. We suggest they also do tutorials on how to delete your browser history. Just sayin’.
For the academics: there will be loans for post-grads and PhD students, entry to major museums and galleries will be kept free and you’ll have no rise in the BBC licence fee.
HOW THE COUNTRY IS RUN
The number of MPs will be reduced from 650 to cut the cost of politics and make votes of more equal value. Constituency boundaries will be reviewed and altered to make sure that everyone is represented equally around the country. And let’s see more jobs in the public sector going to women and more female MPs please.
More control will be given to Scotland (as promised after the referendum) and Wales will also get more powers to govern themselves. Large cities (e.g. Manchester) which choose to have elected mayors will also get more choice of where their budget is spent.
English MPs will have more say over matters only affecting England, including on Income Tax. And the whole situation of which MPs can vote for what will be sorted out properly. Umm, haven’t we heard that before?
STRENGTHENING THE COUNTRY
Get 95% of the UK covered for superfast broadband by 2017. Netflix binge, anyone? Oh, and don’t worry if you have to get back to work. The Tories are upping the amount of free childcare for working parents of 3-4 year olds to 30 hours.
Time to get tough on those who break the rules though: random drugs tests, mobile phone blocking tech and measures introduced to tackle corruption in prisons, plus banning orders for extremist organisations.
Also say goodbye Human Rights Act (e.g. right to live, right to not be tortured) which originated in Europe and say hello to the British Bill of Rights: breaking a link with Europe and tellin’ em the Brits make the rules round here.
Also new rules for Migrants from the European Union: no council houses until you’ve lived here for four years. No job seekers benefits either and if you haven’t found a job in 6 months, you’ll have to go…
Everyone who works for public services will need to speak English.
It’s not all doom and gloom: Conservatives want to invest at least £7.5 million a year in relationship support.
But if you’re a fox, get worried: Tories want to give Parliament the opportunity to get rid of the Hunting Act…
UK ON THE WORLD STAGE
Time to decide: straight “in-out” referendum on our membership of the European Union by the end of 2017.
Before that though the Tories will reclaim power from the EU, so the UK government makes the majority of our decisions.
And we’ll be keeping the pound as well. None of that Euro nonsense here please.
0.7% UK income will go on helping those in need in other countries. Aren’t we nice?
The UK will also continue to work to get rid of Islamic State and stabilise the situation between Israel/Palestine. Oh, and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And stay pals with the USA. And sort out Russia.
Worried we’re getting too involved and we need to look after ourselves first? Army reserves will be expanded to 35,000. So you can sleep easy.
NHS spending will increase by at least an additional £8 billion by 2020. The Conservative want 7-day a week access to your GPs, no more wasted paper when you’ll be given access to your own electronic medical records and continued investment into research for cures for Cancer and Dementia. The Better Care Fund will integrate health and social care = a streamlined health service where less money is wasted. Well, that’s the idea anyway…
Let’s all save the planet. Tories will work towards targets set in the UK Climate Change Act, even though some say they’re falling short of the target…
Invest £500 million to make all cars zero emission vehicles. No more exhaust clogging up the planet. Why is this important? CLIMATE CHANGE OF COURSE
Local people will have more control over planning and can protect Greenbelt land (areas of open land where no building is permitted) and new “blue belt” areas will protect marine habitats. Spend £3 billion to clean up rivers, lakes and enhance England’s countryside over the next five years. And plant another 11 million trees.
Just in case you were worried about all the new transport plans mentioned earlier: £300 million will ensure less light pollution from new roads and any plant or animal life disrupted in the construction of High Speed 2 will be replaced. Phew.
Animal lovers rejoice: an international ban on trade in ivory and polar bear skin and ‘endangered species’ status for polar bears is also part of the plan.
The UK will push for a strong global deal to limit carbon emissions at the Paris Climate Summit in December. C’est très bon.
GETTING ON THE PROPERTY LADDER AND GROWING OLD COMFORTABLY
Getting more people into homes: 200,000 starter homes created and sold at 20% below the market price for first time buyers who are under 40. The Right to Buy Scheme where you can purchase your council property will be extended to those in housing associations.
Continue to increase state pension in the “triple lock system”: pensions rise each year either by 2.5% or in line with inflations and earnings – whichever is highest. Other pensioner benefits such as free bus passes, TV licences and the Winter Fuel Payment will be protected.
SO HOW ARE THEY GOING TO PAY FOR IT?
Watch out, Tax Avoiders – they’re coming for you.
Increase the annual tax for non-doms (And what the hell is a non-dom?!)
Find £30 billion: £13bn from making the government more efficient and making departmental savings, £12bn from welfare savings (benefits), £5bn created from clamping down on those pesky tax evaders…
Earn more than £150,000? Conservatives will restrict tax relief on pensions for the top earners. So you can pay less in without being taxed = more money for the government.
Manifesto Decoded: SO. MANY. GIVEAWAYS.
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