How the hell did we get here? Barely a year after Brexit, we’ve been inflicted with this weirdly disturbing daily barrage of bullshit political rhetoric and party propaganda – again!
With news about #FakeNews, constant leaks and dark money meddling – I can’t figure out if I’m living in some kind of loony dimension where actual investigative journalism uncovering #fakenews is literally accused of being THE fake news. So what is going on with the news? It seems mainstream political journalists on tv and radio have given up asking legitimate questions, opting instead to shout aggressive accusations in interviews. The BBC’s supposed impartiality has been replaced by propaganda mouthpieces regurgitating Tory party lines while blurring the line between fact and fiction. Most British newspapers are now run by media barons or former chancellors like the Tory MP who now serves as the editor of London newspaper Evening Standard.
The British media have violated their responsibility to the British public and are rubbing our faces in the dirt – daily. If we’ve reached peak frustration with the media – who then is the media?
I am the media. We are the media
— Jme (@JmeBBK) August 27, 2012
The recent attack on JME by the fanatical right-wing racist rag Daily Mail has once again highlighted the kind of nasty tactics unleashed anytime young people attempt to participate and engage in political discussion. They don’t want you to be curious, they definitely don’t want you to ask questions – and before you can hold them to account, they’ll be coming after you! So why should you vote?
There’s so much at stake right now. We can’t afford to say we don’t know the facts. This time we can’t allow the fog of misinformation to cloud our judgement. For many first time voters in the UK, this general election represents a major turning point in relation to our collective futures. Not only have we reached a crossroads as a country but we’re faced with a future unknown. No one, absolutely no one can really tell us what will actually happen after Brexit.
We live in the 4th richest country in the world in terms of private wealth and yet we’ve also been living through the harshest 7 years of austerity in any developed country. In a damning report, the United Nation’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights confirmed that the UK government’s austerity measures and social security reform are in breach of their obligations to human rights.
So ultimately we are left with one choice. In this general election we will decide which party we want to take us forward to an unknown future. That one choice in reality will be made by each of us privately and it’s our personal decision. With journalists no longer hiding their personal party affiliations and the media enforcing their unfettered power to sway elections, it goes to each of us to act as our own media.
Each party is publishing their manifesto and you can individually compare and contrast each manifesto yourself. What is a manifesto you may ask? It is a public document that declares the policy and aims of a political party before an election.
How do you read a manifesto? Well, you just read it. These documents are publicly available and you can read them online. The Labour manifesto was published yesterday, the Lib Dem’s was published today, the Conservative’s will be published
tomorrow now *updated and the Green Party manifesto publication date is yet to be announced.
Although the Labour manifesto was leaked last week, the official manifesto was launched yesterday and if you haven’t yet had a chance to sift through the 124 pages – below is a snapshot of the key policies featured in document;
I’ll be honest, I’ve never felt compelled to read a party manifesto before, but I’ve also never felt my vote really counted. But this time I recognise that it won’t count if we don’t make it count. More young people are engaged in political debates since Brexit, Trump and the electoral shockwaves across Europe. Voter registrations are increasing ahead of the British election and there is no question that young people can have an impact on the outcome. Nothing is a certain – till the last vote is counted.
I’ve registered to vote and I plan to read each manifesto, I’ve started with the Labour manifesto and below are some key excerpts;
Labour understands that the creation of wealth is a collective endeavour between workers, entrepreneurs, investors and government. Each contributes and each must share fairly in the rewards.
A Labour government will guarantee no rises in income tax for those earning below £80,000 a year, and no increases in personal National Insurance Contributions or the rate of VAT. Under Labour’s plans, 95 per cent of taxpayers will be guaranteed no increase in their income tax contributions, and everyone will be protected from any increase in personal National Insurance contributions and VAT.
Only the top 5 per cent of earners will be asked to contribute more in tax to help fund our public services. We renew our pledge not to extend VAT to food, children’s clothes, books and newspapers, and public transport fares.
Corporation tax in the UK is the lowest of any major developed economy. Our new settlement with business will ask large corporations to pay a little more while still keeping corporation ta among the lowest of the major developed economies.
We will deliver universal superfast broadband availability by 2022. Labour will improve mobile internet coverage and expand provision of free public wi-fi in city centres and on public transport.
We will appoint a Digital Ambassador to liaise with technology companies to promote Britain as an attractive place for investment and provide support for start-ups to scale up to become world-class digital businesses. Our Digital Ambassador will help to ensure businesses are ready to grow and prosper in the digital age.
Labour will create a unified National Education Service (NES) for England to move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use. The NES will be built on the principle that ‘Every Child – and Adult – Matters’ and will incorporate all forms of education, from early years through to adult education. When the 1945 Labour government established the NHS, it created one of the central institutions of fairness of the 20th century. The NES will do the same for the 21st, giving people con dence and hope by making education a right, not a privilege, and building bridges where the Conservatives build barriers.
To aid attainment, we will introduce free school meals for all primary school children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees.
We will put £150 million back into supporting our children in schools by scrapping the Conservatives’ nonsensical plans for schools to pay the apprenticeship levy.
And we will deliver a strategy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) based on inclusivity, and embed SEND more substantially into training for teachers and non-teaching staff , so that staff, children and their parents are properly supported.
Despite claiming to be committed to delivering high-quality training, the Conservatives have ruthlessly cut funding for FE colleges – our main provider of adult and vocational education – and reduced entitlements for adult learners. This has led to diminishing numbers of courses and students, and plunged the sector into crisis.
Bring funding for 16 to 18-year-olds in line with Key Stage 4 baselines, while ensuring that the budget is distributed fairly between colleges and school sixth forms.
Restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18-year-olds from lower and middle income backgrounds.
Last year saw the steepest fall in university applications for 30 years.
The average student now graduates from university, and starts their working life, with debts of £44,000. Labour will reintroduce maintenance grants for university students, and we will abolish university tuition fees.
University tuition is free in many northern European countries, and under a Labour government it will be free here too.
Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent – so that working conditions are not driven down.
Ban zero hours contracts – so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week.
Raise the Minimum Wage to the level of the Living Wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – for all workers aged 18 or over, so that work pays.
Labour will work to reverse the damage done to mental health services under this Tory government, which is particularly hitting services for LGBT and BAME communities.
We will extend schools-based counselling to all schools to improve children’s mental health, at a cost of £90 million per year.
Police & Crime
The level of violence against women and girls is not acceptable. Labour will emphasise the safety of women and girls by appointing a commissioner to set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual violence. We will establish a National Refuge Fund and ensure stability for rape crisis centres.
We will also work to eliminate institutional biases against BAME communities, that mean you are still far more likely to be stopped and searched as a black or Asian man.
Under the Conservatives, nearly £400 million has been cut from youth services and over 600 youth centres have closed. Labour will end the cuts to youth services.
We will ensure libraries are preserved for future generations and updated with wi-fi and computers to meet modern needs. We will reintroduce library standards so that government can assess and guide councils in delivering the best possible service.
We will introduce a £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund to upgrade our existing cultural and creative infrastructure to be ready for the digital age and invest in creative clusters across the country, based on a similar model to enterprise zones. Administered by the Arts Council, the fund will be available over a five-year period. It will be among the biggest arts infrastructure funds ever, transforming the country’s cultural landscape.
We will improve diversity on and off screen, working with the film industry and public service and commercial broadcasters to find rapid solutions to improve diversity.
We recognise the serious concern about the ‘value gap’ between producers of creative content and the digital services that profit from its use, and we will work with all sides to review the way that innovators and artists are rewarded for their work in the digital age.
Music venues play a vital role in supporting the music industry’s infrastructure and ensuring a healthy music industry continues in Britain. Labour will review extending the £1,000 pub relief business rates scheme to small music venues.
The broken ticketing market in the UK means tickets sell out instantly and are put up at vastly inflated prices on ticket-tout websites. Labour will enforce anti-bot legislation and implement the recommendations of the Waterson Review to ensure fair opportunities for fans to buy tickets.
We will reduce the voting age to 16. At 16, you are eligible to pay tax, get married or even join the army. You deserve a vote.
A Labour government will reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010 to ensure they protect Trans people by changing the protected characteristic of ‘gender assignment’ to ‘gender identity’ and remove other outdated language such as ‘transsexual’.
Labour will bring the law on LGBT hate crimes into line with hate crimes based on race and faith, by making them aggravated offences.
To tackle bullying of LGBT young people, Labour will ensure that all teachers receive initial and ongoing training on the issues students face and how to address them. And we will ensure that the new guidance for relationships and sex education is LGBT inclusive.
Black and Asian workers still suffer a massive pay gap. By introducing equal pay audit requirements on large employers, Labour will close this pay gap. By making the Minimum Wage a real Living Wage, we will benefit ethnic minority workers who are more likely to be on low pay.
We will implement the Parker Review recommendations to increase ethnic diversity on the boards of Britain’s largest companies.