When answers are in short supply, sometimes the best we can do is try to ask the right questions. Some of those dive into legal and constitutional arcana, as experts try to work out how Boris Johnson can climb out of the hole he has spent this last week digging ever deeper for himself. Now that the opposition parties have refused to accede to his cunning plan for an October election, and will next week see passed into law their demand that he seek an extension of Britain’s EU membership, he’s left with a series of unpalatable alternatives – from breaking the law to resignation to tabling a motion of no confidence in himself.
Still, even if it’s later rather than sooner, polling day is coming. So here goes with the three questions that will decide the next election and, with it, the fate of Brexit.
First, when? Given the procedural chicanery and willingness to trash established convention we’ve witnessed these last few days, nothing is certain, despite today’s move to block a poll before 1 November. What’s at stake here is the context in which the election will take place. Johnson’s preference has always been to face the voters before the exit deadline, lest he be cast as having failed in his “do or die” mission to leave by 31 October. This is the prize the opposition has agreed to deny him, forcing him, they hope, to confront the electorate in November as a failure, guilty of either treachery or incompetence. Their hope is that Johnson’s inability to take Britain out of the EU will pump new air into the Brexit party balloon, thereby splitting the leave vote that Johnson had bet everything on uniting around himself.
Source: The three questions that will decide the next general election | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian
A simple breakdown of the five main political parties’ main manifesto pledges for social care and social work
Source: Election 2017: What would the main parties do for social work?
Britain’s two main political parties are not giving the public the full picture about how much taxes will need to rise in order to support public services after next month’s election, a leading think tank said on Friday.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives were likely to need to raise taxes to balance the budget and maintain the quality of public services, while the opposition Labour Party’s plans to raise corporate taxes would hurt the wider public, the non-partisan Institute for Fiscal Studies said.
“Neither is being really honest with the public,” IFS director Paul Johnson said.
May has seen the Conservatives’ lead in opinion polls narrow since she unveiled her party’s policy pledges last week.
In a sign the election could be more closely contested than has previously been thought, YouGov said on Thursday that support for May’s party stood at 43 percent, down 1 percentage from a week ago, while Labour was up 3 points on 38 percent.
May had to backtrack on Monday on plans to make older Britons pay a greater share of their care costs, and has left the door open to raise income tax and payroll taxes.
“It is likely that the Conservatives would either have to resort to tax or borrowing increases to bail out public services under increasing pressure, or would risk presiding over a decline in the quality of some of those services,” Johnson said.
Source: UK parties not giving full picture on likely tax rises – IFS | Reuters
Labour’s election manifesto offers confused plans for the NHS, while the Conservatives have admitted there are serious problems with existing legislation.
The Tory manifesto says that if the “current legislative landscape” – dominated by the government’s own health reforms – is hampering the Five Year Forward Viewor undermining local or national accountability they will fix it, as well as do what they can in the meantime to remove barriers to care integration.
It identifies the internal market as the key problem, because it is too expensive to run and can fail to work in patients’ interests.
This is a significant move. It had been assumed that Theresa May would avoid reopening the issue of NHS reform at the same time as navigating Brexit. But she has clearly been persuaded that the benefits of cutting running costs and making it easier to join up services outweigh the risks.
One of the weaknesses in Labour’s proposals is muddled thinking about the organisational building blocks of the health service. It promises to repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which imposed Andrew Lansley’s dysfunctional NHS reforms, and to “halt and review” sustainability and transformation plans(STPs).
So instead of trying to fix problems introduced by the reforms,
Source: What do the party manifestos mean for the NHS? | Richard Vize | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian
Inside the world’s most ruthless – and successful – political party
Source: Why the Tories keep winning
Jo was my boss, and her work was guided by the belief that love will always overcome hate. To heed her legacy we must keep our politics free of malice
Source: Jo Cox’s tragic death must put an end to the hateful abuse of our MPs | Ruth Price | Opinion | The Guardian