I thought I would have a look at the pledges I have seen from the parties so far in this election and from what I can see it is mostly a Christmas wish list of stuff but it has been interesting in some ways as you will see, or certainly I find it interesting, maybe I am a saddo with no life lol. Anyway (this might a bit of a longer read sorry) –
The SNP have went all Scottish Labour on us so far. As you can see from the official tweets the SNP are offering a lot of measures that are aimed at purely the poor and working class.
A lot of the measures are about alleviating poverty and providing services that will to a degree try to level the playing field for those less well off, especially children and young people, while tackling the on-going health inequality in Scotland which we know is some of the worst in Europe and the industrialised world. Now while on the face of it these aspirations are to be welcomed they are a plaster over the long term issues of meaningful employment and education. We don’t create enough jobs in Scotland and education is still patchy all over. Mental health support is poor in Scotland but is linked to other issues we face and while I accept there is no magic wand to the issues we face I would like to see more on how the Government will grow the economy while also eventually getting around to the issue of local / tax reform etc.
Conclusion: The SNP are really in danger here of falling into the old Scottish Labour trap of promising the world and not really being in a position to deliver so much without making huge cuts to other things as there is only so much money. We know the SNP are also promising another referendum, that is not going to happen, but while I don’t disagree with the aim of levelling up communities I just think it reads like they are throwing everything at this and promising far too much. Will win, it really is just about how big.
Scottish Labour are a bit all over the place to be honest in my opinion but again there are things to like and others I am not so sure about. I don’t get the loans things for fuel poverty unless it is to insolate private homes but even then it makes little sense to me so need more detail on what this actually is. The tv licence thing is about the elderly vote and again there just should not be a requirement to have a tv license full stop and I would have preferred to have seen some discussion of the role of a state broadcaster even though it is a reserved matter.
The £75 to spend in the high street is a nonsense and who ever thought that one needs to be spoken to. I appreciate the USA have done this as a short term boost to the economy but surely having a better uplift to Universal Credit and that be permanent would be a better boost medium term to the economy, as would a decent increase in the minimum wage. I appreciate another reserved matter.
A job guarantee is no bad thing but what is at the end of it is more the issue for me, if there is no full time permanent role at the end of these schemes they are again just a plaster over a bigger issue and short term thinking. I think a high tax system for business would be better where that tax reduces every time a company open a new shop, or creates so many jobs, encouraging companies to invest in communities to reduce their tax base over time. The pledges from Scottish Labour don’t really do it for me, some good ideas but not thought through to the end properly.
Conclusion: I don’t see what Scottish Labour are trying to achieve here at all, they are just as confused as they have been the last 10 years and there is no let up, they can’t seem to make up their mind if they are a left of centre party or a right of centre party with the middle just being the mess they seem to think they occupy. I cannot see them making in roads at all.
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. Another series of pretty much aspirational pledges that are a bit all over the place. Tory pledges tend to be about supporting the private sector, promising service men and women things that they have no intention of ever delivering and tinkering with social security. The top up to Universal Credit should be a matter of course as the benefit system in the UK is a joke and is designed to punish people for being poor but I don’t see how they make it work in only Scotland.
The pledges are mostly crap if you ask me and no different than they always put out there. The never ending roll out of broadband, more teachers and nurses to basically replace the ones that leave or retire. Being against another independence referendum is just power for the course and the £500 towards training is a waste of time and again more about providing public money to the private sector, namely their pals. They are also offering unlimited apprenticeship places but again no detail on what is at the end of this by the way of an actual job.
Conclusion: The Tories have nothing to offer because they are so trapped in Westminster rule that anything they offer will always be just tinkering around the edges for them and just won’t appeal to many in Scotland at all. They would be better going all UK and saying no to independence and no to Holyrood, that would appeal to some.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have went all environmental and mental health by the looks so far with a few other things thrown in. I don’t know a lot about the hydrogen heating issue at all but this is coming more as a possible replacement to fossil fuels. Reforming business rates is a bit of weird one as the USA etc are in discussion about reforming business rates world wide so nothing much will happen in this area at all anytime soon but not against it if is about creating jobs.
I am for investment in mental health services in Scotland, it is a no brainer and is long over due but it has to be well funded and long term if we are to really tackle the ongoing problems that we continue to face. I am all for looking at children starting school later, most of Europe already does this and from what I have read it seems to have a positive impact on learning and lowering the education gap. While not a lot has come from the Liberals I do find myself liking their aspirations but they need to flesh the ideas out a bit more.
Conclusion: The Lib Dems have surprised me a little as they are keeping to a few themes and so far are not offering the world on a plate. Mental health is a policy they have been sticking to for years. The business rates thing could be interesting but possibly nothing will come of it and I like the idea of children starting school later. Won’t do anything at all in the election and may lose seats to Alba on the list but are a party if they had more talent could do better.
The Alba Party are only two weeks old so was not expecting much to be honest by way of pledges other than independence. So far Alba are looking to try to get free sport access to all young people which is a decent pledge I suppose, sport is popular but can be very expensive. The party have also began work on various policy areas such as equalities and freedom of speech.
Conclusion: Independence is the big one obviously and it is too early to really judge Alba yet on pledges, more information will come out once the party release a manifesto but possibly it could be fair to ask why some of this was not done prior to launch.
The Scottish Green Party are similar to the SNP in some ways. The offer of a guaranteed residential for young people feels a little like tokenism but could go down well. The party want to move away from exams in school to continued assessment which while it sounds great I am not so sure how you make it work without a major redo of education. The environmental message is there as you would expect with a few policies in this area.
We also see another pledge for more teachers and some policies around land reform and affordable public transport both of which are to be welcomed if they could actually be pulled off in the parliament and they will be hoping that they hold the balance of power to get some of their policies through.
Conclusion: The Greens will be hoping to ride the SNP ticket on the list to increase their number of seats and might well do that but cost the SNP seats as they are sitting in 12 constituencies so it could be a good election if Alba don’t pick up more traction on the list.
Overall if the message gets out Alba could do better and pick up more votes especially if the wider public start to understand that the SNP, Labour, the Greens and the Liberals support Gender Reform and the limits to free speech. Basically all bar the SNP are playing catch up and so far no one really impresses but I will exclude Alba for now.