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back to article Tories put ID cards, Contactpoint on manifesto hit list

The Conservative Party Manifesto, published today, is a slap in the face for all those who have been claiming that there is very little difference between the two major parties when it comes to policy. There are clearly major differences in what a Conservative government would do: for instance, they would scrap ID cards, the …

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O... K...

Much of that seems to be very reasonable. So what's the catch?

Oh yeah. Huge cuts in public spending followed by nation-wide strikes and rioting. Yay.

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And...

...don't forget the bill of rights will include the right for anyone holding any old mad superstitious belief to discriminate willy-nilly.

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/anger+at+top+tory+gay+bampb+comments/3601557

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Who is this?

I got as far as the second paragraph before figuring the rest is likely to be equally pro-tory, but skipping to the end I still don't see any disclosure of what the author's interests are.

Who is it, and why is the reg suddenly so non-cynical about something?

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Who am I?

Honestly, BigRed: the clue to my identity lies in the last name. I have been writing for el Reg for some while now as John Ozimek but, as some readers may already have twigged, i started the process of gender re-assignment late last year and am well on my way. el Reg was one of the last places where i still happened to be using my old name.

(If you want the day to day intimate details...there is a blog out there)

As to bias in this piece...I hope not. My job for this and yesterday's Labour manifesto (and tomorrow's Lib Dem one) was to boil down pages and pages of self-serving political verbosity into about 800 words, thereby allowing you, the reader, to get some idea of what each party claims they intend to do.

The Tories are decentralist (not a plus if you are a centraliser yourself): want to cancel Heathrow's third runway; and intend to scrap a load of databases. Since Labour would say the exact opposite, reporting those facts is hardly skewing the debate. However, my sense is that when it comes to overall position and tone, the current Tory manifesto is closer to the heart of many readers than the Labour one.

Doesn't mean you should vote for them: doesn't mean you should believe them. But just because you find the Tories claims vaguely likeable doesn't make a piece biased.

Interestingly, some of the policies espoused by UKIP and the BNP might turn out to be fairly close to the heart of some readers - but i doubt that that alone would make them vote for them.

J

P.S Tomorrow tis the Lib Dem manifesto...and after that, who knows...

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Thanks

Thanks for responding and explaining your standpoint.

Still reads like a puff piece though, unfortunately.

Yesterday's opener

"The most remarkable thing about the Labour Party manifesto ... is how unconcerned it appears to be with civil liberties"

- something the Labour party would not want people to be talking about - is considerably more negative than today's

"The Conservative Party Manifesto, published today, is a slap in the face for all those who have been claiming that there is very little difference between the two major parties when it comes to policy."

- something the Conservative is very keen indeed to stress.

Not that I believe the Reg has any obligation to be unbiased.

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and more thanks ..

the Reg's position, in so far as it has one, seems to be advocating civil liberties and offering informed debate against the jingoism and false premises behind our relentless legislation.

It really does beggar belief that the party "of the people" has introduced so much new law, overturning literally centuries of hard-won concessions. It's not difficult to understand some degree of anti-Labour bias - try combining ill-informed with contemptuous, corrupt and incompetent - not to mention the squandering of 1.2 Trillion - enough to build a motorway to the moon and back, twice.

In this, i cannot escape the conclusion that the banking collapse was a combination of pretty gross incompetence - with a frankly deplorable measure of "old school kilt" amongst the corridors of power - a self-governing monoculture is a very dangerous thing..

Whichever party puts forward the idea of a bill of rights gets my vote (even though i suspect none would really deliver on it) - we are bound by a subtractive law system at present. I'll take anything that puts some individual freedoms out of reach.

The Portuguese have a law prohibiting mass surveillance of the people by the state, sounds like a good starting point... though i would go further and insist that consenting adults in private can do whatever they like - "the state stops at the bedroom door" approach - though clearly there are limits - evil conspiracy being a tricky one - but lets have the debate why not?

I suspect the Reg will always be "against" the government in power - its a free press thing, fixation, whatever. I'd like to see a government come up with a really good decision and... Okay, I'll stop there.

Was going to continue.. -and see what the Reg had to say.

Reg, what would you say if new government actually scrapped Trident2, or ID cards, or surveillance databases ?

I guess you'd say "we liked but didn't believe their manifesto, and we'll get back to you with the full details.."

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That's OK

Jolyon,

Point taken. And as you say, el Reg is under no obligation to be unbiased.

To be honest though, if there is bias, it set in a long time ago. Take the promise to scrap various databases: Labour think contactpoint, the id cards, etc. are a good thing. The Tories don't. Now...look back at the collected scribblings of el Reg writers over the past few years: do you see ANY great tendency towards siding with Labour on those issues?

Then too, there is the attitude towards small businesses and ir35, which is likely to put a lot of el Reg readers on the side of the Tories. The commitment to overhaul the libel law. And so on.

Personally, I think there is something rather more subtle going on here. As I read through the Tory manifesto this morning (and there was a lot of it!) I found a lot that could as easily have been presented by ourselves over the last couple of years. One might as well suggest that the Tories have come round to El Reg's way of thinking!

I've not been especially selective in my write-up - beyond picking on topics likely to be of interest to a mainly IT audience. So maybe the real prob is that so many people just don't believe they could possibly agree with the Tories, that finding themselves now on side with them is causing a certain amount of cognitive dissonance.

As i wrote before, i will be very interested to see what the Lib Dems have to say tomorrow. And there's a lot more to the Tory manifesto than databases and decentralisation. If anyone is really worried, they should read it for themself and decide.

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Manifestos - who knows

You could try publishing the SNP and Plaid Cymru manifestos, both reasonably important parties in Scotland and Wales.

As much of the stuff, Health, Law and Order etc is devolved then what the manifestos say on such topics is irrelevant in Scotland and Wales.

And you could give the NI Parties some kind of view point, as none of the other parties stand there

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Getting Rid of Human Rights may be impossible

The problem is that whilst the European Court of Human Rights is a separate entity from the European Union, any legislation which is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights will also fall into conflict with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, so if people are not satisfied by UK courts and legislation, they will still ask European courts to issue judgement against the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

there's precident..

The tories are fond of promising stuff which they're legally forbidden to do, as it's just a manifesto, and no politician seriously expects to fulfil any promises made in one. The difference is that the Tories come right out and promise the expressly prohibited- which is impressive hubris, if nowt else.

Buggrit, only parties to vote against, not for, right now.

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Expensive liberty

From what I recall at the time (dimly 13 years ago) the reason for incorporating the UNCO human rights was to save the government and citizens from the expense (and in the specific case of the government, the embarrassment) and trouble of going to the European court. Unlike many policies the incorporation worked on all fronts as evidenced by the lack of Euro court action during the past 10 years of gross civil liberty violations.

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Not entirely . . .

. . . what Labour did was put the Strabourg Court a higher legal entity than UK courts, something no other European country has done and something that is making judges twist themselves silly to try and incorporate any new legislation.

Further, the Human Rights Act is a UK piece of legislation that incorporates the EHRA, there is nothing that says we cant repeal our current act and replace it with something that works better for the country.

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But Strasbourg ...

... is one of the few barriers still slowing down the slide towards a civil-liberties-free police state.

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Implementation of ECHR could be better

The UK's implementation of human rights seems to be a bit daft when compared with other EU states.

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Repealing would require an explicit act though

As the title says. The courts have recognised a category of 'constitutional' law, the difference being that you can repeal it only explicitly. So while a normal act may be implicitly repealed in part or in whole later on when another act says something contradictory, the HRA overrides subsequent legislation unless the subsequent legislation explicitly overrides the HRA (or is itself also constitutional).

Key difference is that if they even if they have crazy backbenchers running around wanting to ban gay people from B&Bs (yes, yes, a gross exaggeration of the facts, bear with me), and they manage to slip a few provisions to that effect into the parliamentary roll, it doesn't mean anything unless they go the whole hog and spend a great deal of political capital on doing it properly. Though in practice, with the way the tabloids are, they could pass the exact text of the HRA and get applauded on the content, just provided they didn't admit anybody else had written it first.

Not sure I'm with you on the Strasbourg point, could you explain exactly what you mean? Obviously Strasbourg isn't the highest authority for e.g. criminal law, but I'm not sure exactly what area you're applying your argument to.

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WTF?

Mr Leopard?

Are those spots new, or are they detachable?

We shall see.

What is the yield strength of Eternal Hope anyway?

Why am I channelling aManfromMars?

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I

actually rather like the overall flavour of this. But what you'll actually get is: Meet the new boss - same as the old boss.

Largely irrelevant to me anyways I guess as I live in Scotland. The merest hint of a Tory in power, and watch the good ship Caledonia break orbit for the choppy seas of independence. Nice knowing you, English people.

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oh....

fine, I, (along with most other english) couldn't give a fig about an independant scotland, much like most of your fellow countrymen judging by the runaway success of the SNP. However, if you do split you can also wave goodbye to the obscene amounts of money scotland receives from english taxpayers. we'll soon see how well the good ship Caledonian sails then......choppy waters ahead I predict.

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Joke

Is that...

...a threat or a promise?

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oil and gas

Suddenly Scotland has more to offer England than poster originally thought

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Scots wha hae

Upsides:

1. Immediate saving of roughly £5 billion per annum to the English exchequer.

2. Repatriation for the one-eyed wonder and all his Scottish cronies.

3. No more job creation deals for defunct Scottish industry under the guise of defence contracts.

4. Ability to move to change to a timezone more appropriate for a 21st century country without having to worry about the children of crofters going to school in the dark.

Downsides:

1. 50% pay cut for all the SNP timeservers that are members of both parliaments.

2. Less work for Catalan-speaking web developers translating the proceedings of the Scottish Parliament.

Now if we can just persuade your Welsh and Northern Irish colleagues to follow your lead ...

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And the debt

Don't forget the debt. Scotland can keep the shares in the Royal Wank of Shit and Halifax, but you can also have all of the debt we made bailing them out. That would make England's finances look a lot better.

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Just be sure to take Brown and Blair with you when you leave

M'kay?

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Careful as you go

Make sure you do the sums first.

The Scottish NHS on it's own costs ~£2k/year per citizen to run (£9.8billion, 5 million people) and if you drop that to those of working age then you're up to almost £3k/year, assuming you get to 100% employment.

I don't get it, Germany unified in 1870, but you don't find bits of that trying to split off again. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, there are people who want places like Cornwell and Northumberland to declare independence.

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Grenade

hmmm Northern Ireland

That could be a can of worms there. I'd just leave that one alone.

I mentioned the war once but i think I got away with it.

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WTF?

Oil and gas?

You honestly think if Scotland gets independence that England will let it keep the rights to the oil and gas fields? I suppose you think Scotland will get to keep the nuclear subs as well?

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Oil and Gas

It's worth pointing out that somewhere in the region of 1/4 of the oil and gas fields are south of the boarder and are therefore English, it just makes more sense to land it all at the same place.

My opinion is however that we are better off united, both Scotland and England have benefit from the Union and will both loose out if it is split. We just need to sort out tricky bits like equality of health care, the east (or is it west, I can't remember) Lothian problem and MPs for Scotland voting on England only issues in Westminster, then job's a good one. Well, once they get rid of Salmond...

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Not only that but...

Under international law they would be split equaly, per capita, not given to Scotland. Also, I suspect (after living there for 10 years) that Shetland may well not want to split from England if it came to it. They don't realy like the scots, see themselfs more as Norse and see the scots as stealing there gas and oil.

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?

So your telling me to vote Tory? :/

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I have difficulties with this

On the one hand, all that I have read here about the Tories' policies makes them seem balanced and fair. there would seem to be some real imporvements with such things as a withdrawal of the government from several aspects of our private lives.

However, these are policies put forward by politicians, and as such I don't trust them without extreme caution. I can't shake the feeling that there's something here I'm just not seeing...

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Sounded good right up until...

"They intend to replace the Human Rights Act with a UK Bill of Rights"

Doh.

The HRA has been the only thing reigning in march of the labour party surveillance regime in the last few years, so yer trading the farm for a handful of anti-surveillance trinkets.

Meh.

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Not quite...

Whatever the proposed UK Bill of Rights contains will have to meet the same European human rights levels that the HRA is supposed to, but, in the case of DNA retention, apparently didn't. I don't know if there are areas where the HRA gives us more rights than required by European law, but, given that neither Labour nor Tory governments have been particularly libertarian in my experience, I doubt there are many. if you know of any examples I would love to hear them.

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Busines taking responsibility.

I think the Japanese tried that. It didn't work out to well for them in the long run, I believe.

We need more details ... unfortunately that is not what we're getting from the Conservatives at this stage.

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Let me get this right.

1) High-tech focus, pushing Science, Tech., Eng. and Math - one assumes including IT.

2) Cut most large gov. IT projects - one assumes leading to major redundancies amongst IT staff at Accenture, IMB, etc.

Not saying I disagree with either aim but hard to swallow both in one manifesto.

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Not really a paradox

The big companies like Accenture and IBM do very little to push IT, they have mainly become very good at milking free money out of government for little in return. A high tech focus can, as the Tories suggest, concentrate on small business.

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Paradoxical Paradox

Do you *really* think that a Tory government is going to drop Accenture, IBM (and Cap Gemini et al) and their contracts?

I can just see the Tory central office deciding to go down to Watford high street and find a small IT shop for their services.

PMSL

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Forget left-right

There's very little to distinguish Labour from Tories on the old, dead left-right apolitical axis.

What we might see here, is the opening up of some very clear differences between the two on the ever more important Libertarian - Authoritarian axis. Labour want everything regulated and controlled by the dead hand of government. Perhaps the Tories really don't.

I'm not cynical enough to dismiss these ideas out od hand as just more politicians promises. Even if they let us down on some specifics, they'll have my qualified support just as long as they really do act to get government off our backs.

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More bureaucracy...

The cost of managing procurement for all state spending over £10,000 will negate any benefits from competative tendering - the amount of supervision, legal oversight and contractural bureaucracy required will cripple local authorities. On many existing larger schemes the state employs someone to do the work, then someone else to check that they do it properly. I know this, I work in consultancy. What's wrong with the council employing people directly to clean the streets, cut the grass and so on? How does introducing extra layers between the taxpayer and the person doing the job generate efficiency? It doesn't.

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"I work in consultancy"

I agree with some of your sentiment - government departments should do more things in-house rather than employing expensive consultants.

Sorry if it leads to you being unemployed but it's for the good of the nation.

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In-house development?

Somehow I think a government IT project written in Microsoft Access wouldn't scale very well.

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Joke

Thank you ...

... Register Editors for yet another entirely unbiased view of party machinations in this electioneering phase.

The Tory party would obviously do a fantastic job of ruling the country and I will be voting for them with pride in due course.

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Give them a chance....

To those who say the parties are the same, I say read the manifestos again. There is clear light between them now. I applaud what the Conservatives are trying to do. At least they realise small business is the key to this unlike the current incompetent buffoons who just want to cripple SME's in this country and snoop on what every citizen is doing.

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Getting old?

Some of what the Conservative party puts out now seems to make sense, at least on the first reading. I can't remember who said it, but as I get older there's a part of me that's more inclined to vote Tory - a part of me I really don't like. Might have to hold my nose and vote Labour to keep them out.

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Good plan

You cut off your nose to spite your face, at least that way you won't have to hold it when you throw your vote away.....

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Public Sector Cuts

Richard 81 made the comment regarding Public Sector Job cuts... the main thing to remember about the public sector that it rarely (read never) creates wealth in the economy, under NuLabore public sector jobs/spending has gone up and up - but to little or no difference to the services they provide - just more quangos telling people how to live their lives.

I'm no fan of any of the main stream parties; Labour for the DEB and a host of other intrusive laws (they have put more law onto the statute books since coming into power than all the laws that were previously on them, and making no difference to the state of the country) Conservatives - well I grew up in the 80's and remember the shambles they left the country in then. As for the Lib Dems, I've always thought they have some good ideas about governance (and the economy) but unfortunately they have just as many poor ideas.

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Public sector doesn't create wealth

No, but those police, firemen, doctors, teachers and soldiers wouldn't be created by the market. (The fire service *was* created by the market originally, but it didn't really work very well. See America re. doctors and the market. Oh, and universities, where the average tuition per year is more than the total cost for our entire degree.) They don't create wealth directly, but they're pretty useful. Try running a country without them.

By all means cut the public sector: the only trouble with cutting the public sector is that if the private sector doesn't take up the slack then you get a massive deflationary and depressive spiral, where you end up further in a problem. See Ireland, where after a massive cost-cutting exercise they STILL lost exactly the same amount as a % of GDP this year as last, because their economy shrank by 20%. So now they have the same budget defecit, a larger debt mountain as a percentage because their economy shrank, and worse services. Yep, it's a great idea.

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Grenade

End the public sector

Lets slash and burn the public sector. Any part of it which doesnt generate an income into the nation should go.

Bye bye Armed Forces.

Next on the list is the police, we can use PFI to get rid of them, bloody parasites costing more than they bring in through fines.

We can transfer the fire service to insurance companies (oh doesnt that sound familiar) and everyone can spend a fortune on health care insurance or risk the plague.

I just love how so many IT people want to turn the clock back to the 17th century for the "good of the nation."

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Anonymous Coward

Easy to cut down on goverment waste

Just reduce the bureaucracy. Just one example:

Why do you need a letter from the NHS informing you that you will be getting an appointment and that a letter will be sent to you with the appointment date? If I have seen the doctor and he has told me that I need an appointment at a clinic or hospital then I already know and just need the appointment letter. NHS postal costs halved in one easy move.

There are plenty more ways, I'm sure everyone reading this can think of some.

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Re: Easy to cut down on goverment waste

The amount they spend on appointment reminders is probably saved several times over by getting just one or two percent of people to turn up at the right time to see their doctor rather than have the doctor waiting around for them. Cutting "waste" can lead to higher costs if you don't think it through. Case in point - reducing the number of tax inspectors. Lower wage bill, but as each tax inspector was bringing in much more tax than their salary, overall effect is negative.

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