With the election just two weeks away, I thought it would be a good idea to examine the manifestos of the main London parties running in Wessex, to see how they compare to our policies. We do not endorse any specific party, but recommend voting tactically for the candidate best placed to defeat the Tory in your constituency. Having said that, let’s look at the manifestoes in turn:
The Tories’ signature policy is “get Brexit done”. Buoyed no doubt by a huge infusion of cash from Russian donors, their main priority is assisting Vladimir Putin in his aim of breaking up the western alliances, such as the EU and NATO, that serve as a check on Russian power. Crashing out without a deal would also aid them in their long-cherished aim of selling off the NHS and creating a US-style for-profit healthcare system.
See Conservative Party.
Labour have set an aggressive housebuilding target of 100,000 council homes and 50,000 housing association homes a year for the next 5 years. This would inevitably result in huge swathes of Wessex countryside being destroyed. They have also promised to revive the late, unlamented Government Offices for the South East and South West, rebuilding the Wessex Iron Curtain that has slowly been eroded since the 1990s. As we have always said, the only region for Wessex is Wessex.
On a more positive note, one of their key policies is the creation of a National Care Service, which the Wessex Regionalists have advocated for some years.
Update: Since this post was written, Labour has announced nine new regonal manifestos for England. We will comment further once we have had a chance to examine the manifestos for the South East and South West government zones.
The Lib Dems go even further than Labour, in wanting to build 300,000 new homes a year. On the plus side, they have promised to revoke Article 50 if elected; and to legalise cannabis, which is consistent with our desire to decriminalise victimless crimes.
Update 2: As pointed out in the comments, the Lib Dem manifesto contains provisions for local authorities to band together to form regional governments. This is potentially a very encouraging development that could pave the way towards a Wessex Parliament – if we can persuade the relevant local authorities to look beyond the Westminster-imposed regional framework.
As one might expect, the Greens’ top priority is fighting the climate emergency, with a raft of ambitious methods aimed at cutting Britain’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2030. Encouragingly, they talk of “creating” rather than “building” 100,000 new homes a year, with an emphasis on bringing empty homes back into use.
Their manifesto has a section on empowering local government, but predictably, has nothing to say about regional government. It’s David Cameron’s “new localism” all over again. And whilst they have promised a second referendum on Brexit, their overall vision of Europe is highly centralised, far removed from the Europe of a Hundred Flags that we seek.
None of the London-based parties’ manifestoes are perfect from a Wessex Regionalist point of view. As long as Wessex affairs are controlled from Westminster, there will always be a need for our party. But given that we are not standing for election this time round, we hope that the above guide will give you some pointers in deciding how to cast your vote.