As mentioned in our previous post, Labour announced yesterday that it would be launching manifestos for each of the nine English government zones. We have now read the manifestos for the South East and South West zones. and the results are…exactly what you’d expect from a party with Labour’s deep-seated centralising instincts.
Comparison of the two documents using an online plagiarism checker reveals that 87% of the text is identical, with another 3% consisting of only minor changes (mostly plugging in numbers). The manifestos also use identical images and layouts. Presumably the same is true of the other seven zones.
The 10% of the documents that are individually tailored to each zone are equally symptomatic of a top-down approach to regionalism. They focus on megaprojects bestowed upon us provincials by Wastemonster. Among the highlights for Wessex are a gigafactory producing electric vehicle batteries in Swindon, creating 5000 jobs, and a major expansion of Southampton Docks. The latter is something that the Wessex Regionalists have opposed for years, and it is hard to see how it squares with Labour’s lofty rhetoric on the environment, unless they think they can get Greta Thunberg to sail in on her yacht and divert attention away from the polluting cruise liners that the expansion will inevitably attract.
The sections on transport are, naturally, focused on improving rail routes to That London. The manifestos do, however, promise that “We will create 10 new National Parks in areas such as Wessex and Coastal Dorset”. Funny, I thought that Coastal Dorset was a part of Wessex.
None of this is bad enough to stop us recommending that you vote for Labour if they are the party most likely to defeat the Tories in your constituency. But they do underline our point that a regional manifesto for Wessex, the whole of Wessex, and nothing but Wessex needs to be produced by Wessaxons.