So a hung parliament then is it? Whilst I have been somewhat vocal in my support for the Conservative Party in the run up to this election I have had some concerns with the way they run things domestically and the direction in which they are heading.
In many ways Theresa May has run a good campaign (before you shout that “down” hear me out). On the whole it has been balanced, carefully guarded and pragmatic. Some of the manifesto, is “unpleasant” to some, such as means tested care home charges against a pensioner’s property after death etc. But realistically to object to means testing for this, school meals and even pensioner’s winter fuel allowance is petty and bitter minded, means testing is far better than “sod off we’re taking it away, end of story” and why indeed should baby boomer pensioners on generous final salary pensions get winter fuel allowance? My wife is 70 years old, ergo she is retired, on a basic state pension and we get partial winter fuel allowance (because I am younger and not retired), we’re not “well off” by any stretch of imagination (indeed we are the so called “JAMs“, the “just about managings“) and yet do we really need the winter fuel allowance? Do we heck.
As for free school meals, I don’t know the exact “threshold” at which means testing would be implemented but hasn’t it nearly always been so that some children get school meals and others don’t, e.g. it’s means tested, albeit via “those on benefits and those not” and so on?
As for the selling pensioner’s homes to go towards care home costs (again means tested) sorry but generally speaking I agree. I know there’s a lot of people out there working very hard and not reaping the benefits of the baby boomer generation but time was we used to support our elderly relatives ourselves, as we did when my mother in law was dying of lung cancer, it wasn’t easy but we brought her to our home, took care of her and made her end as pleasant and painless as possible for her. To expect your elderly relatives to be supported in care homes (which have to be paid for SOMEHOW) by someone else whilst you reap the benefits of their vastly over inflated (as in house prices are way too high) property when they die is extremely selfish in my opinion. Sure you should get “your wedge”, so to speak, but to expect to “get it all” when you basically left the state to pick up the bill for the care home is selfish in the extreme. Care workers have to get paid as well you know?
Don’t get me wrong the Conservatives aren’t great, but the proposals put forward were financially viable (unlike the ridiculous “land value tax” which let’s face it nobody would be prepared to pay) but, let’s be frank, BORING. Yes, that’s the right word, BORING. And why? Because we’re an increasingly shallow society, expecting instant gratification and rewards, we’re all turning into “I must have it NOW” people, expecting it all. You only have to look at Facebook to see that for example.
So where specifically did the Conservatives go wrong? Lack of action, not major action, but little steps, little “nods” to the people, less talk more action. Theresa May suggested banning unpaid internships, a vote winner for sure I would have thought, but did she do it? No, she didn’t. All she had to do in the last 11 months since the Brexit vote was remind us all that it isn’t just about Brexit, she has “got our backs” and some quick and easy concessions to win popularity. But instead she seems to have been side-tracked by the EU issue. I accept Brexit is important (heck I want us out of the EU more than many of us do) but time should have been made to improve people’s lives in the meantime, time should have been made to ease the pressure on the JAMs.
I still believe the Conservatives are the only way to go forward (the lesser evil and so on), I remember all the disasters of the 1970s and the Blair years (for which we are still suffering and I put the blame for most of our country’s “ailments” as a nation squarely at Blair’s feet), if only because of the pragmatic manifesto, which doesn’t promise “everything’s free” as does the Labour Party manifesto (it ain’t free, we’d all be taxed to death, see land value tax for example).
If Theresa May wants to lead us forward she needs to get some basic domestic issues dealt with, she needs to put more money in the pockets of the JAMs, even if it’s only a little, anything that shows we’re going in the right direction or people are going to fall for the “it’s all free” manifesto again and again and in that path we’re all doomed.