Daily View: Manifesto launches
Commentators prepare themselves for a week of manifestos (starting off with Labour's).
Julian Glover says in the Guardian that he is hoping the manifestos this week will promise less, to stop a "legislative sausage factory":
"Politicians and journalists have become unhealthily accustomed to
executive hyperactivity, mistaking a strategic grasp of the future for
a carrier bag crammed with dotty plans. We want novelty, but ignore
the consequences of imposing it on the public sector, business and
individual citizens. Tories like to blame Labour (and especially Tony
Blair) for the culture of the quick fix and crackdown, but governments
have been at it for years. Plans are announced, laws are passed and
few people ever go back to ask what they achieved. Large parts of many
bills are never actually implemented by the department that created
them (the home office is a particular offender in this). Yet
politicians keep promising more."
William Rees-Mogg in the Times says that he has sat in the House of Lords for the last 20 years and seen a lot of change. While all three main parties promise more reform, he says they don't go far enough:
"It will, however, require greater changes in the constitution of the United Kingdom than the parties have yet recognised, changes in the relationship between the two Houses of Parliament, between Westminster and the devolved parliaments and between England and the smaller nations of the UK. Yet I believe that a democratic reform of the House of Lords is no longer postponable, though the next prime minister will have other urgent matters on his agenda...The elected House of Lords might desire to avoid duplicating all the other UK systems of election. The reform of the House of Lords - which I support - is one of those issues in which, unless one can solve everything, one may not be able to solve anything. There is much work to be done."
The Daily Mail editorial asks for immigration to be on the main parties' agendas:
"But isn't it also a deeply worrying sign of voters' despair over finding a voice in the political mainstream for their legitimate concerns over mass, unrestricted immigration? Indeed, by seeking to close down debate on this highly sensitive issue, hasn't the political establishment played into the BNP's hands?"
Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer warns voters that manifesto promises won't necessarily be followed through:
"The manifestos will offer us little guidance about how their authors would behave in power when it comes to the really big issues. None of them will be honest about exactly where they are going to cut public spending. All will persist with the ridiculous fiction that the deficit can be entirely dealt with by "efficiency savings" which will miraculously not impact on a single frontline service."
Political thriller writer and Former Tory advisor Michael Dobbs has written a few manifestos himself and told the Today programme that he thinks manifestos are not significant in election campaigns:
"There will be very little that we will not be aware of.... You end up with fairly obscure debates about the meaning of words rather than getting a clear idea of what a party stands for."
Links in full
Martin Kettle | Guardian | Election 2010: Gordon Brown hunkers down
Julian Glover | Guardian | It's manifesto week, but stick us no more bills, please
William Rees-Mogg | Times | It's not just the Lords that needs reforming
BBC | Today Programme | Will you read a manifesto?
Daily Mail | Playing into the hands of the BNP
Iain Dale | Iain Dale's Diary | Labour's 27 Broken Manifesto Promises
Andrew Rawnsley | Observer | It's not the answers that will win, it's the questions