back to article Tories put ID cards, Contactpoint on manifesto hit list

The Conservative Party Manifesto, published today, is a slap in the face for all those who have been claiming that there is very little difference between the two major parties when it comes to policy. There are clearly major differences in what a Conservative government would do: for instance, they would scrap ID cards, the …

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  1. Richard 81

    O... K...

    Much of that seems to be very reasonable. So what's the catch?

    Oh yeah. Huge cuts in public spending followed by nation-wide strikes and rioting. Yay.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      And...

      ...don't forget the bill of rights will include the right for anyone holding any old mad superstitious belief to discriminate willy-nilly.

      http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/anger+at+top+tory+gay+bampb+comments/3601557

  2. BigRedS
    Thumb Down

    Who is this?

    I got as far as the second paragraph before figuring the rest is likely to be equally pro-tory, but skipping to the end I still don't see any disclosure of what the author's interests are.

    Who is it, and why is the reg suddenly so non-cynical about something?

    1. Jane Fae

      Who am I?

      Honestly, BigRed: the clue to my identity lies in the last name. I have been writing for el Reg for some while now as John Ozimek but, as some readers may already have twigged, i started the process of gender re-assignment late last year and am well on my way. el Reg was one of the last places where i still happened to be using my old name.

      (If you want the day to day intimate details...there is a blog out there)

      As to bias in this piece...I hope not. My job for this and yesterday's Labour manifesto (and tomorrow's Lib Dem one) was to boil down pages and pages of self-serving political verbosity into about 800 words, thereby allowing you, the reader, to get some idea of what each party claims they intend to do.

      The Tories are decentralist (not a plus if you are a centraliser yourself): want to cancel Heathrow's third runway; and intend to scrap a load of databases. Since Labour would say the exact opposite, reporting those facts is hardly skewing the debate. However, my sense is that when it comes to overall position and tone, the current Tory manifesto is closer to the heart of many readers than the Labour one.

      Doesn't mean you should vote for them: doesn't mean you should believe them. But just because you find the Tories claims vaguely likeable doesn't make a piece biased.

      Interestingly, some of the policies espoused by UKIP and the BNP might turn out to be fairly close to the heart of some readers - but i doubt that that alone would make them vote for them.

      J

      P.S Tomorrow tis the Lib Dem manifesto...and after that, who knows...

      1. Jolyon

        Thanks

        Thanks for responding and explaining your standpoint.

        Still reads like a puff piece though, unfortunately.

        Yesterday's opener

        "The most remarkable thing about the Labour Party manifesto ... is how unconcerned it appears to be with civil liberties"

        - something the Labour party would not want people to be talking about - is considerably more negative than today's

        "The Conservative Party Manifesto, published today, is a slap in the face for all those who have been claiming that there is very little difference between the two major parties when it comes to policy."

        - something the Conservative is very keen indeed to stress.

        Not that I believe the Reg has any obligation to be unbiased.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          and more thanks ..

          the Reg's position, in so far as it has one, seems to be advocating civil liberties and offering informed debate against the jingoism and false premises behind our relentless legislation.

          It really does beggar belief that the party "of the people" has introduced so much new law, overturning literally centuries of hard-won concessions. It's not difficult to understand some degree of anti-Labour bias - try combining ill-informed with contemptuous, corrupt and incompetent - not to mention the squandering of 1.2 Trillion - enough to build a motorway to the moon and back, twice.

          In this, i cannot escape the conclusion that the banking collapse was a combination of pretty gross incompetence - with a frankly deplorable measure of "old school kilt" amongst the corridors of power - a self-governing monoculture is a very dangerous thing..

          Whichever party puts forward the idea of a bill of rights gets my vote (even though i suspect none would really deliver on it) - we are bound by a subtractive law system at present. I'll take anything that puts some individual freedoms out of reach.

          The Portuguese have a law prohibiting mass surveillance of the people by the state, sounds like a good starting point... though i would go further and insist that consenting adults in private can do whatever they like - "the state stops at the bedroom door" approach - though clearly there are limits - evil conspiracy being a tricky one - but lets have the debate why not?

          I suspect the Reg will always be "against" the government in power - its a free press thing, fixation, whatever. I'd like to see a government come up with a really good decision and... Okay, I'll stop there.

          Was going to continue.. -and see what the Reg had to say.

          Reg, what would you say if new government actually scrapped Trident2, or ID cards, or surveillance databases ?

          I guess you'd say "we liked but didn't believe their manifesto, and we'll get back to you with the full details.."

        2. Jane Fae

          That's OK

          Jolyon,

          Point taken. And as you say, el Reg is under no obligation to be unbiased.

          To be honest though, if there is bias, it set in a long time ago. Take the promise to scrap various databases: Labour think contactpoint, the id cards, etc. are a good thing. The Tories don't. Now...look back at the collected scribblings of el Reg writers over the past few years: do you see ANY great tendency towards siding with Labour on those issues?

          Then too, there is the attitude towards small businesses and ir35, which is likely to put a lot of el Reg readers on the side of the Tories. The commitment to overhaul the libel law. And so on.

          Personally, I think there is something rather more subtle going on here. As I read through the Tory manifesto this morning (and there was a lot of it!) I found a lot that could as easily have been presented by ourselves over the last couple of years. One might as well suggest that the Tories have come round to El Reg's way of thinking!

          I've not been especially selective in my write-up - beyond picking on topics likely to be of interest to a mainly IT audience. So maybe the real prob is that so many people just don't believe they could possibly agree with the Tories, that finding themselves now on side with them is causing a certain amount of cognitive dissonance.

          As i wrote before, i will be very interested to see what the Lib Dems have to say tomorrow. And there's a lot more to the Tory manifesto than databases and decentralisation. If anyone is really worried, they should read it for themself and decide.

      2. Saucerhead Tharpe
        Thumb Down

        Manifestos - who knows

        You could try publishing the SNP and Plaid Cymru manifestos, both reasonably important parties in Scotland and Wales.

        As much of the stuff, Health, Law and Order etc is devolved then what the manifestos say on such topics is irrelevant in Scotland and Wales.

        And you could give the NI Parties some kind of view point, as none of the other parties stand there

  3. Marcus Aurelius
    FAIL

    Getting Rid of Human Rights may be impossible

    The problem is that whilst the European Court of Human Rights is a separate entity from the European Union, any legislation which is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights will also fall into conflict with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, so if people are not satisfied by UK courts and legislation, they will still ask European courts to issue judgement against the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      there's precident..

      The tories are fond of promising stuff which they're legally forbidden to do, as it's just a manifesto, and no politician seriously expects to fulfil any promises made in one. The difference is that the Tories come right out and promise the expressly prohibited- which is impressive hubris, if nowt else.

      Buggrit, only parties to vote against, not for, right now.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Expensive liberty

      From what I recall at the time (dimly 13 years ago) the reason for incorporating the UNCO human rights was to save the government and citizens from the expense (and in the specific case of the government, the embarrassment) and trouble of going to the European court. Unlike many policies the incorporation worked on all fronts as evidenced by the lack of Euro court action during the past 10 years of gross civil liberty violations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Go

        But Strasbourg ...

        ... is one of the few barriers still slowing down the slide towards a civil-liberties-free police state.

    3. EvilGav 1

      Not entirely . . .

      . . . what Labour did was put the Strabourg Court a higher legal entity than UK courts, something no other European country has done and something that is making judges twist themselves silly to try and incorporate any new legislation.

      Further, the Human Rights Act is a UK piece of legislation that incorporates the EHRA, there is nothing that says we cant repeal our current act and replace it with something that works better for the country.

      1. ThomH

        Repealing would require an explicit act though

        As the title says. The courts have recognised a category of 'constitutional' law, the difference being that you can repeal it only explicitly. So while a normal act may be implicitly repealed in part or in whole later on when another act says something contradictory, the HRA overrides subsequent legislation unless the subsequent legislation explicitly overrides the HRA (or is itself also constitutional).

        Key difference is that if they even if they have crazy backbenchers running around wanting to ban gay people from B&Bs (yes, yes, a gross exaggeration of the facts, bear with me), and they manage to slip a few provisions to that effect into the parliamentary roll, it doesn't mean anything unless they go the whole hog and spend a great deal of political capital on doing it properly. Though in practice, with the way the tabloids are, they could pass the exact text of the HRA and get applauded on the content, just provided they didn't admit anybody else had written it first.

        Not sure I'm with you on the Strasbourg point, could you explain exactly what you mean? Obviously Strasbourg isn't the highest authority for e.g. criminal law, but I'm not sure exactly what area you're applying your argument to.

    4. JohnG

      Implementation of ECHR could be better

      The UK's implementation of human rights seems to be a bit daft when compared with other EU states.

  4. hplasm
    WTF?

    Mr Leopard?

    Are those spots new, or are they detachable?

    We shall see.

    What is the yield strength of Eternal Hope anyway?

    Why am I channelling aManfromMars?

  5. Seanmon
    Go

    I

    actually rather like the overall flavour of this. But what you'll actually get is: Meet the new boss - same as the old boss.

    Largely irrelevant to me anyways I guess as I live in Scotland. The merest hint of a Tory in power, and watch the good ship Caledonia break orbit for the choppy seas of independence. Nice knowing you, English people.

    1. tobyr
      Grenade

      oh....

      fine, I, (along with most other english) couldn't give a fig about an independant scotland, much like most of your fellow countrymen judging by the runaway success of the SNP. However, if you do split you can also wave goodbye to the obscene amounts of money scotland receives from english taxpayers. we'll soon see how well the good ship Caledonian sails then......choppy waters ahead I predict.

      1. Chewy

        oil and gas

        Suddenly Scotland has more to offer England than poster originally thought

        1. Anonymous Coward
          WTF?

          Oil and gas?

          You honestly think if Scotland gets independence that England will let it keep the rights to the oil and gas fields? I suppose you think Scotland will get to keep the nuclear subs as well?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Oil and Gas

            It's worth pointing out that somewhere in the region of 1/4 of the oil and gas fields are south of the boarder and are therefore English, it just makes more sense to land it all at the same place.

            My opinion is however that we are better off united, both Scotland and England have benefit from the Union and will both loose out if it is split. We just need to sort out tricky bits like equality of health care, the east (or is it west, I can't remember) Lothian problem and MPs for Scotland voting on England only issues in Westminster, then job's a good one. Well, once they get rid of Salmond...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Not only that but...

              Under international law they would be split equaly, per capita, not given to Scotland. Also, I suspect (after living there for 10 years) that Shetland may well not want to split from England if it came to it. They don't realy like the scots, see themselfs more as Norse and see the scots as stealing there gas and oil.

      2. DavCrav

        And the debt

        Don't forget the debt. Scotland can keep the shares in the Royal Wank of Shit and Halifax, but you can also have all of the debt we made bailing them out. That would make England's finances look a lot better.

    2. Jimmy Floyd
      Joke

      Is that...

      ...a threat or a promise?

    3. Chris Miller
      Thumb Up

      Scots wha hae

      Upsides:

      1. Immediate saving of roughly £5 billion per annum to the English exchequer.

      2. Repatriation for the one-eyed wonder and all his Scottish cronies.

      3. No more job creation deals for defunct Scottish industry under the guise of defence contracts.

      4. Ability to move to change to a timezone more appropriate for a 21st century country without having to worry about the children of crofters going to school in the dark.

      Downsides:

      1. 50% pay cut for all the SNP timeservers that are members of both parliaments.

      2. Less work for Catalan-speaking web developers translating the proceedings of the Scottish Parliament.

      Now if we can just persuade your Welsh and Northern Irish colleagues to follow your lead ...

      1. irish donkey
        Grenade

        hmmm Northern Ireland

        That could be a can of worms there. I'd just leave that one alone.

        I mentioned the war once but i think I got away with it.

    4. Ed Blackshaw

      Just be sure to take Brown and Blair with you when you leave

      M'kay?

    5. chr0m4t1c

      Careful as you go

      Make sure you do the sums first.

      The Scottish NHS on it's own costs ~£2k/year per citizen to run (£9.8billion, 5 million people) and if you drop that to those of working age then you're up to almost £3k/year, assuming you get to 100% employment.

      I don't get it, Germany unified in 1870, but you don't find bits of that trying to split off again. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, there are people who want places like Cornwell and Northumberland to declare independence.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eh?

    So your telling me to vote Tory? :/

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have difficulties with this

    On the one hand, all that I have read here about the Tories' policies makes them seem balanced and fair. there would seem to be some real imporvements with such things as a withdrawal of the government from several aspects of our private lives.

    However, these are policies put forward by politicians, and as such I don't trust them without extreme caution. I can't shake the feeling that there's something here I'm just not seeing...

  8. frank 3
    Thumb Down

    Sounded good right up until...

    "They intend to replace the Human Rights Act with a UK Bill of Rights"

    Doh.

    The HRA has been the only thing reigning in march of the labour party surveillance regime in the last few years, so yer trading the farm for a handful of anti-surveillance trinkets.

    Meh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not quite...

      Whatever the proposed UK Bill of Rights contains will have to meet the same European human rights levels that the HRA is supposed to, but, in the case of DNA retention, apparently didn't. I don't know if there are areas where the HRA gives us more rights than required by European law, but, given that neither Labour nor Tory governments have been particularly libertarian in my experience, I doubt there are many. if you know of any examples I would love to hear them.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Busines taking responsibility.

    I think the Japanese tried that. It didn't work out to well for them in the long run, I believe.

    We need more details ... unfortunately that is not what we're getting from the Conservatives at this stage.

  10. /\/\j17

    1+1=3

    Let me get this right.

    1) High-tech focus, pushing Science, Tech., Eng. and Math - one assumes including IT.

    2) Cut most large gov. IT projects - one assumes leading to major redundancies amongst IT staff at Accenture, IMB, etc.

    Not saying I disagree with either aim but hard to swallow both in one manifesto.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Not really a paradox

      The big companies like Accenture and IBM do very little to push IT, they have mainly become very good at milking free money out of government for little in return. A high tech focus can, as the Tories suggest, concentrate on small business.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pirate

        Paradoxical Paradox

        Do you *really* think that a Tory government is going to drop Accenture, IBM (and Cap Gemini et al) and their contracts?

        I can just see the Tory central office deciding to go down to Watford high street and find a small IT shop for their services.

        PMSL

  11. Nigel 11
    Thumb Up

    Forget left-right

    There's very little to distinguish Labour from Tories on the old, dead left-right apolitical axis.

    What we might see here, is the opening up of some very clear differences between the two on the ever more important Libertarian - Authoritarian axis. Labour want everything regulated and controlled by the dead hand of government. Perhaps the Tories really don't.

    I'm not cynical enough to dismiss these ideas out od hand as just more politicians promises. Even if they let us down on some specifics, they'll have my qualified support just as long as they really do act to get government off our backs.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    More bureaucracy...

    The cost of managing procurement for all state spending over £10,000 will negate any benefits from competative tendering - the amount of supervision, legal oversight and contractural bureaucracy required will cripple local authorities. On many existing larger schemes the state employs someone to do the work, then someone else to check that they do it properly. I know this, I work in consultancy. What's wrong with the council employing people directly to clean the streets, cut the grass and so on? How does introducing extra layers between the taxpayer and the person doing the job generate efficiency? It doesn't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I work in consultancy"

      I agree with some of your sentiment - government departments should do more things in-house rather than employing expensive consultants.

      Sorry if it leads to you being unemployed but it's for the good of the nation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In-house development?

        Somehow I think a government IT project written in Microsoft Access wouldn't scale very well.

  13. HollyX
    Joke

    Thank you ...

    ... Register Editors for yet another entirely unbiased view of party machinations in this electioneering phase.

    The Tory party would obviously do a fantastic job of ruling the country and I will be voting for them with pride in due course.

  14. Dave Clarke 5

    Give them a chance....

    To those who say the parties are the same, I say read the manifestos again. There is clear light between them now. I applaud what the Conservatives are trying to do. At least they realise small business is the key to this unlike the current incompetent buffoons who just want to cripple SME's in this country and snoop on what every citizen is doing.

  15. scottboy

    Getting old?

    Some of what the Conservative party puts out now seems to make sense, at least on the first reading. I can't remember who said it, but as I get older there's a part of me that's more inclined to vote Tory - a part of me I really don't like. Might have to hold my nose and vote Labour to keep them out.

    1. Adam Salisbury
      FAIL

      Good plan

      You cut off your nose to spite your face, at least that way you won't have to hold it when you throw your vote away.....

  16. M68H

    Public Sector Cuts

    Richard 81 made the comment regarding Public Sector Job cuts... the main thing to remember about the public sector that it rarely (read never) creates wealth in the economy, under NuLabore public sector jobs/spending has gone up and up - but to little or no difference to the services they provide - just more quangos telling people how to live their lives.

    I'm no fan of any of the main stream parties; Labour for the DEB and a host of other intrusive laws (they have put more law onto the statute books since coming into power than all the laws that were previously on them, and making no difference to the state of the country) Conservatives - well I grew up in the 80's and remember the shambles they left the country in then. As for the Lib Dems, I've always thought they have some good ideas about governance (and the economy) but unfortunately they have just as many poor ideas.

    1. DavCrav

      Public sector doesn't create wealth

      No, but those police, firemen, doctors, teachers and soldiers wouldn't be created by the market. (The fire service *was* created by the market originally, but it didn't really work very well. See America re. doctors and the market. Oh, and universities, where the average tuition per year is more than the total cost for our entire degree.) They don't create wealth directly, but they're pretty useful. Try running a country without them.

      By all means cut the public sector: the only trouble with cutting the public sector is that if the private sector doesn't take up the slack then you get a massive deflationary and depressive spiral, where you end up further in a problem. See Ireland, where after a massive cost-cutting exercise they STILL lost exactly the same amount as a % of GDP this year as last, because their economy shrank by 20%. So now they have the same budget defecit, a larger debt mountain as a percentage because their economy shrank, and worse services. Yep, it's a great idea.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Grenade

        End the public sector

        Lets slash and burn the public sector. Any part of it which doesnt generate an income into the nation should go.

        Bye bye Armed Forces.

        Next on the list is the police, we can use PFI to get rid of them, bloody parasites costing more than they bring in through fines.

        We can transfer the fire service to insurance companies (oh doesnt that sound familiar) and everyone can spend a fortune on health care insurance or risk the plague.

        I just love how so many IT people want to turn the clock back to the 17th century for the "good of the nation."

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy to cut down on goverment waste

    Just reduce the bureaucracy. Just one example:

    Why do you need a letter from the NHS informing you that you will be getting an appointment and that a letter will be sent to you with the appointment date? If I have seen the doctor and he has told me that I need an appointment at a clinic or hospital then I already know and just need the appointment letter. NHS postal costs halved in one easy move.

    There are plenty more ways, I'm sure everyone reading this can think of some.

    1. scottboy
      FAIL

      Re: Easy to cut down on goverment waste

      The amount they spend on appointment reminders is probably saved several times over by getting just one or two percent of people to turn up at the right time to see their doctor rather than have the doctor waiting around for them. Cutting "waste" can lead to higher costs if you don't think it through. Case in point - reducing the number of tax inspectors. Lower wage bill, but as each tax inspector was bringing in much more tax than their salary, overall effect is negative.

      1. rastansaga
        FAIL

        Re: Re: Easy to cut down on goverment waste

        It's not correct that removing tax inspectors that bring in more than their wages is always a negative effect. If you use that as the sole basis for employment - and take it to its extreme - then you would end up with a huge number of inspectors, each bringing in precisely what it cost to employ themselves.

        A point is reached where employing new inspectors decreases the amount raised by existing inspectors - because there are simply not enough violations for them to 'catch'. They become a case in point example of a 'non-job' - even though at first glance it looks as if they are making a positive contribution.

        This is even more relevent when laws, systems and procedures are subsequenly revised to make avoidance more difficult in the first place - this should follow hand in hand with a reduction in the number of inspectors. But this never happens in the public sector - it just grows without limit.

    2. Ed Blackshaw
      Boffin

      NHS reminder letters

      These are sent for the very good reason that a large number of people never turn up to hospital appointments. This costs the NHS vast sums of money in lost time, where clinical staff are sat around waiting for patients who never arrive. As a result, it is common practice for NHS trusts to send reminder letters for appointments, often with a paragraph explaining that if the appointment is no longer needed, the patient should let them know. The cost of one or two stamps is far outweighed by the wasted cost of employing two or three highly trained staff for half an hour or more.

      1. Steve X

        Missed appointments

        So. Next time that person wants an appointment you tell them they missed the last one, so they can show up at 8am on the day and be prepared to wait until a slot is free. If it's important they will, if not then no loss.

      2. Andus McCoatover

        Oh, riiight...

        So, one letter - they won't attend. TWO letters makes sure they attend???

        (Myst-all-Chucking-Frighty, that tap on the desk hurt my head bigtime)

        Er, the previous poster was questioning why it's necessary to have a letter to tell you there's another letter coming........Sheesh

        In my health centre/dentist (Finland), where I got a root canal treatment - 5 visits - I got charged €30.

        Private dentist - would've been €500. Point is, if I miss two appointments, the health centre won't treat me anymore - I MUST go private, or suffer in agony. If I'm unemployed, the latter, natch.

        Good incentive to keep appointments (I didn't get letters, just a phone call - come to reception and sign as proof that you've received your appointment card)

        Easy, really...

  19. Risky
    Thumb Up

    Spending

    I suspect a lot of the billions spent on Accenture and the like generates nothing but Powerpoint and Gantt charts. I'd imagine these plans are bad news for IT managers rather than developers.

  20. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    ID Card database is already paid for

    Cut it if you like, but he companies who won the contracts saw the writing on the wall a long time ago and were frantically adding penalty get-out clauses as long as two years ago.

    So while it's a good thing civil liberties wise, it's not going to save much (on-going costs only).

    1. Mark 65

      Easier than you think

      It would be far easier than you think to avoid these penalties. The pork-barreling consultancy has the option of...

      1. Taking their penalty clause and being effectively removed from any future tendering (without this being explicitly stated)

      2. Forgetting it as it was all shit in the first place and waiting for the next gravy train to reach the station - it's known as a loss-leader.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Nice idea...

        ...but OJEU rules mean this is not possible.

        Commercial organisations pay a lot more for top end Lawyers than the civil service. Government will lose - as they do in most cases. Look at all the Crapita disasters with them coming out on top - and winning new business !

  21. Number6

    Full marks so far

    They've come up with a decent-sounding manifesto. If they get elected, it will be interesting to see how much of it they've managed to implement in a competent and successful manner at the end of five years.

  22. Craig (well, I was until The Reg changed it to Craig 16)

    I assume..

    ... that you'll be allowing Labour and Lib Dem PR people to publish their own one-eyed slants on their manifestos.

    Alternatively, why not replace them all with one simple article that says: "we're screwed whoever wins".

  23. Chris_B

    Manifesto's

    Wouldn't it be good if the law was changed to make any promises made in a manifesto legally binding within a certain timeframe. Might make them a bit more wooly and light though.

    1. Tequila Joe

      Brown smeared politics?

      Yep, because that should get rid of obviously manipulative lies, such as NuLiebore's manifesto pledge for a referendum on the EU Constitution. NuLiebore's thinking seems to have been - 'Make a promise we're not going to keep, because if we don't make the promise we'll probably lose the election'.

      Brown was legally challenged on this, and his defence was that "manifesto pledges are not subject to legitimate expectation".

      As one blogger pointed out:

      "you know something's gone wrong with politics when... (1) you tell a court "I'm a liar and my promises cannot be relied on", and (2) that's your defence..."

      http://mreugenides.blogspot.com/2008/02/brown-defence.html

  24. Maty

    Clarification needed

    'They will change the guidance to give people on the DNA database who have been wrongly accused of a minor crime an automatic right to have their DNA withdrawn.'

    And if you are wrongly accused of a major crime? Does the automatic right to have your DNA withdrawn already exist, or do you stay on the record?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re Getting old? #

    Sorry but holding your nose and voting labour just isnt a good idea.

    Firstly, so its clear I've no agenda, I grew up in Liverpool and only left in 1986. I saw what it went through and I know the Tories were in power. BUT only a yoghurt could argue that the the tories left the UK in a worse position than they inheritied. yes, I know about the ERM, I also know that in 1997 I had the beginings of a good consultancy business and 8 years private pension building up. Under browns clunking fist I saw the market dry up, massive legislation that made it massively preferable to be a PAYE cubical plant than be a consulatnt and saw my pension hammered to a dgree that it still wont have recovered by the end of the next parliament.

    Add to that huge intrusion into my life, the fact I wouldnt trust a policeman unless he was behind 19 feet of plexiglass and being scared witless of looking into the requirements to renew my passport incase I have to undergo biometric disintegration (thats a joke by the way) add total unequivicable economic meltdown, a housing market that expects the ecomic equivalent of both kidneys and at least one limb and labour cannot, ever, be trusted.

    Are the tories still nasty, I dont think so but they at least deserve one term to show us some ability and put humility and perspective back into labour, They'll either deliver or they wont but continually maxing out the uk credit card with the inevitable wiltshire sized bill dropping onto the mat at the start of the next parliamentary term for labour is not the answer!

  26. Plymouthian
    WTF?

    well.. thanks for the party political broadcast I guess?

    But the Tories already had a chance to prove themselves by doing and not saying, and that was in the digital economy bill. They blew it, so I have no reason to believe that suddenly sunlight is going to shine out their backsides. Needless to say that labour dropped a tactical nuke on any chance of getting my vote with their DE bill farce and the libdems didn't do themselves any favours either.

    As someone already said, only parties to vote against so far. Guess it's time to do the London mayor thing and choose the comedy option...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re well.. thanks for the party political broadcast I guess? #

    For a start I'm utterly appauled at the DEB for its inception as the love-child of Mandlespanner and geffens holiday romance, its railroading through the houses and the travesty that was its passing via the wash up process at the hands of the few MPs that could be bothered turning up (even if they dont know bittorrent from a drill bit)

    That being said I wrote to my MP, twice. he voted against it, he's a tory.

    He's also not claimed 1p over the odds in the expenses fiasco.

    The problems here where (A) most of the MPs had no idea WHAT they where talking about, (B) they had no time to debate it or find out what they where talking about (C) mandlespanner

    having spoken to my MP (again) I belive one of the first things the tories have lined up is a review on this damn bill.

    For my money I'd like to see a tory majority BUT not a huge one enough that loony legislation couldnt get through if the house stood against it but enough to allow big brother to have his knees cut out from under him!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re I assume.. #

    At least we're seeing some sky opening up between the parties.

    One unpleasant factor we all need to accept though is that, under the existing system, you either

    (A) vote tory

    or

    (B) get labour

    No ifs, no buts. you can abstain, vote ukip, vote green, vote for the BOFH if you like, hell smear yourself in custard and say you're a fishfinger if you like but you can either vote in the tories or return labour.

    That done you can start pushing for electoral reform but if Brown gets returned he wont change anything unless he thinks it will benefit him or he has no choice but to buddy up to the lib dems.

    choose...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      ,title

      Well, it depends on the constituency. I my case voting Lib-Dem might just mean one less Labour MP, which is good enough: a Conservative majority but not a big one. We have had too many big majorities these past years. Landslides mean unsuitable candidates for no-hope seats end up in parliament.

      Of course voting Lib may give them mad ideas about *power* so I vote otherwise in the local election just to steady their giddy little heads.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Ass U Me

      Actually, its equally likely a case of Vote Labour or Get Tory.

      Or do you think that if no one votes it defaults to the current government?

    3. Captain Mainwaring
      Unhappy

      Sad, but very true

      Very well put AC.

      It's a sad reflection on the two-party horse race we call a general election where a significant portion of voters end up being disenfranchised by the inevitable Labour/Conservative outcome. I do not envy either of them this time round however; whichever party wins the next election is sure to find itself very unpopular after they start swinging the axe on public expenditure.

    4. ThomH

      Labour have a 4,787 majority here

      In 2005 they received 45% of the vote, with the Liberal Democrats in second place with 26%. Our MP is a former cabinet minister (and was in 2001 and 2005). I suspect that whoever I vote for, my ward is getting Labour.

      1. Paul 4

        RE:ThomH

        Still, the more people vote for the party they want the more weight there is behind some proper electorial reform.

  29. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Yes Minister has it

    Thank you for the commercial, Minister, can we start the programme now?

  30. Luke McCarthy

    Is that a "cast-iron guarantee?"

    Or will it rust away with all the other promises?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Think Tory manifesto is last minute dash

    I dont trust the Tory manifesto simply because so much of it sprung out of nowhere.

    Tories have been hammering Labour but its been backfiring on them. The way the Tories can magic up these incredible savings in "effeciency". But never really making it clear how the books will actually balance. They been thinking up of everything that someone wants to hear and there is so little credibility.

    I dont like the current government but lets look at a few facts, yes facts:

    - The NHS waiting times have substencially been reduced. The service by all accounts are improved. Yes, still room for improvements , always will be but its better.

    - UK economic recovery is ahead of our peers. Yes, we did have a meltdown, but so did everyone else.

    - Literacy / Math has improved. It doesnt matter if you consider the fact that GCSE have been dumbed down - our children are better educated then they ever been before.

    Goto the BBC website and check Ofsted , the Kings report and whoever published the stuff on our economy.

    Labour has made a positive difference. Yeah there is a lot of spin and we all hate Mr Brown.

    I dont trust someone that will tell me that I'm going to get everything i want without any rational to how they going to do it. Thats what the Tories are doing.

    The labour manifesto is boring but its believable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      strange criteria

      You don't trust the Tory maifesto because it's sprung out of now where?

      What strange criteria on which to judge a manifesto.

      Are you suggesting that the manifesto is less likely to be implemented because you haven't seen elements of it before it's official release?

      I should imagine they've been working on it for months but have kept it secret. Of course they would keep it secret until the last moment, wouldn't you? The last thing you want is the opposition nicking your ideas.

      Most manifesto's aren't worth the paper they're written on. We know from bitter experience that Labour manifesto of 1997 was completely torn up and they've done precisely the opposite of what they promised.

      So tell me, which would you trust more? A new manifesto from the Tories, or the manifesto from the Labour party which a) we know from previous experience they've implemented the opposite, b) lacks detail and is a load of vague statements.

      You choose...but I know which I'd choose.

    2. Mark 65

      Is that so

      Let's just have a look at the bill for all of this shall we? We are now living way beyond our means, the books don't balance and cuts need to be made.

      The NHS cost increased massively with very little commensurate increase in productivity - essentially the wage bill just increased. Performance targets are now met because people sit in ambulances outside hospitals until they're ready to be processed and the clock starts ticking.

      If you think our children are better educated than ever before you are simply a fool. You even state that testing levels have been lowered then say it doesn't matter - tell that to an employer.

      The UK recovery is ahead of our peers eh? You mean after a much bigger decline? It damn well should be. It would be even further ahead if we saved in the good times to invest in the bad.

      What Labour have effectively shown is that it's possible to through vast sums of money at problems, get very little change other than cost inflation (wages etc) and then not be able to pay for it. We then have to cut costs to balance the books so back to square one. Except nurses, teachers etc are now better paid but may or may not still have a job. Brilliant.

      The reason the Conservatives cannot state how the books will balance is because Labour do not let anyone but themselves see them - no due diligence in effect. At least the Tories want to make spending levels and costs known to the wider audience and those that pick up the tab - us!

      1. PrivateCitizen
        Thumb Down

        Recovery and the NHS

        "The NHS cost increased massively with very little commensurate increase in productivity - essentially the wage bill just increased. Performance targets are now met because people sit in ambulances outside hospitals until they're ready to be processed and the clock starts ticking."

        Well every one has scare stories. My experience of the NHS through various family accidents, illnesses and the like has been one that has shown a continual and considerable improvement over the years - from early 1990s when it seemed like you were an inconvienience and might as well just die, to now where you are seen fast and efficiently.

        YMMV.

        Targets are caused by what *we* the taxpaying public demand. If we stopped trying to use the NHS as a political handgrenade they wouldnt have to set bizarre targets. If there werent bizarre targets managers could get on and manage properly. Is this the governments fault or ours?

        "If you think our children are better educated than ever before you are simply a fool. "

        If you think they are worse educated then ever before you are simply a fool. The argument cuts both ways. Why should an employer care if a school leaver got an A in GCSE PE or a C? The labour market is an odd thing and its strange that employers would rather have a non-English speaker than a native while saying the education system is letting them down because school leavers arent very well educated.

        The reality is that most adults would struggle to pass a GCSE now because it covers topics that arent particularly relevant ( check out a maths or English paper to double check this ) but the same applies to the O/A levels of 20 years ago (and 40, and so on).

        Some employers who whine about poor standards of education do this because they have slashed their own training and apprenticeship budgets. Why should the state pick up their slack? Do you really think that 16 and 18 year olds are less equipped to live in the world than they used to be? Anyone who really thinks that has probably forgotten how little they used to know.

        "The UK recovery is ahead of our peers eh? You mean after a much bigger decline? It damn well should be."

        That makes no sense unless you think there is some inherent, fundamental elastic safety net. If you fall faster why should you recover better? And we say our childrens education sucks.

        "It would be even further ahead if we saved in the good times to invest in the bad."

        Maybe but prove it. Prove that it wouldnt have gone worse faster or gone worse longer. What examples can we point to that show this is valid?

        1. Mark 65

          Really?

          <quote>

          If you think they are worse educated then ever before you are simply a fool. The argument cuts both ways. Why should an employer care if a school leaver got an A in GCSE PE or a C? The labour market is an odd thing and its strange that employers would rather have a non-English speaker than a native while saying the education system is letting them down because school leavers arent very well educated.

          </quote>

          What a pointless statement. We're talking about employers that need educated staff. You know, the ones that want to know grades in Maths, English and Science? All GCSEs are definitely not equal and employers know this. Employers care about grade inflation. It's regularly reported every year when the grades are revealed. Have you not noticed that employers nowadays seem to want higher and higher results effectively to counteract this lowering of standards?

          You've proved my point in the second part. Other than the obvious cost of employment, employers would rather have a non-english speaker (an Indian maybe) because they don't all flounce around studying business studies with macrame and instead stick to Maths and the Sciences. The Indians, for example, have excelled at pushing their children towards engineering type subjects and slants because they know there's the demand in the West.

          <quote>

          "The UK recovery is ahead of our peers eh? You mean after a much bigger decline? It damn well should be."

          That makes no sense unless you think there is some inherent, fundamental elastic safety net. If you fall faster why should you recover better?

          </quote>

          Err, exactly. Consult your economics - the bit to do with mean reversion in the absence of a structural change. Big declines are typically followed by faster recoveries as those that caused the decline (banks etc) return to profitability. The US has had such a shift. Equity markets have also had such a shift - 50% downwards followed by rapid upturn. The UK economy is doing much the same and it should come as no surprise. Currency is a bit screwed though which is probably another assistant we have over the EU 1 size fits all regime.

          <quote>

          "It would be even further ahead if we saved in the good times to invest in the bad."

          Maybe but prove it. Prove that it wouldnt have gone worse faster or gone worse longer. What examples can we point to that show this is valid?

          </quote>

          You don't believe that saving money in the boom years to finance the bust years is sensible? Want proof? Look at Australia. They ran themselves into a budgetary surplus in the boom years and squirreled the money away which has helped them finance their support measures and infrastructure projects to aid recovery in the downturn. You know they never had even 1 quarter of negative growth in this downturn and unemployment hardly rose relative to other developed nations? It's because they threw money at the economy to prevent it and kept people employed. Money, in the main, that they had saved and thus didn't need to run up masses of debt. Maybe Brown could have done something similar had he not spent the life savings whilst proclaiming the end of boom and bust.

    3. JWS
      Thumb Down

      Joke?

      I do hope your comments are a joke? The fact you refer to eduction and literacy clearly shows you haven't got children, or have very low standards - backed up by many a report showing how illiterate and enumerate kids are these days. Also, using the BBC as a "trusted", non-biased news source doesn't help matters.

      Regarding your second last paragraph, if I recall LABOUR have promised the Earth many a time and just borrowed us into oblivion, which they will keep doing until every country shuts the door and then we are really screwed! But hey, go ahead, vote LABOUR, I'll be emigrating double quick if they do win so I can watch the fireworks and the subsequent sinking of HMS UK from afar.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The problem with Labour

        Is half of what they are saying they have said befor, which begs the question WTF did you not do it in the last 15 years.

        Personaly I don't trust any of them to implement 100% of what they said, and am just taking it as a genral view of where they want to go, which is good because they all have things that make me think "Oh my good no... That is the dumbest idea I have ever heard".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Grenade

        Joke?

        [Different AC but broadly agree]

        I have four children in state schools and their standard of education is excellent. Yes, they dont learn the same things I did, but then I didnt learn the same things my parents did at school. Education changes as life changes, we now have 9 and 10 year olds who can write scripts and understand more about computers than most 30 yr olds did 15 years ago.

        Do you object to the fact that children today cant conjugate Latin verbs and arent able to quote Cicero in debates? If not, fuck off and get with the times.

        Every political party promises the Earth and lies through its teeth. Thats a given.

        The comical thing about the TORY party is that they have plucked this manifesto out of the bag at the last minute - even die hard supporters would have struggled to anticipate their promises. They, just like the Labour party, no longer have a political position - they simply do what ever gets them the least hassle in the tabloids and what ever best helps their rich mates who really run the country.

        If we had a Tory Government for the last 10 years, we would be in an almost identical postition to the one we are in now (except with more private health care). We'd still be at war, we'd still be broke and the police would still be out of control. Bankers would still be risking our money and keeping any rewards for it.

        "But hey, go ahead, vote LABOUR, I'll be emigrating double quick if they do win"

        Well, I was going to vote Lib Dem but now I will vote Labour. If twats like you are going to run out of the country because a public vote goes against their own perverted wishes, good riddance. Be fun to find out where you want to set up your new life though. Make sure you hand over your passport on the way out, I'd hate to think you ever came back.

        Will there be any significant difference between either major party if they win? No. They dont run the country - the banks and media tycoons do.

    4. PDC

      @Think Tory manifesto is last minute dash

      "Literacy / Math has improved. It doesnt matter if you consider the fact that GCSE have been dumbed down - our children are better educated then they ever been before."

      Really?

      I'm the Officer Commanding of an Air Cadet Sqn, and over the years the cadets that pass through are getting dumber and dumber.

      Where are these educated, practical children, capable of communicating in more than just grunts?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    RE:

    If you believe that the Tories will implement any of this when they get into power you are insane. Why would a Government knowingly reduce their own power... They wouldn't. Personally I think we need a blood and guts revolution against the "political class" and an actual change in the mechanics of our Democratic system.

    1. Richard Taylor 2
      Go

      Reducing Government Power

      Well one of the thingsthat the Labour party did do was introduce the freedom of information act which has significantly reduce government (executive) power. I believe that having done so they spent the last few years damning their own stupidity but... It does happen.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Party Political Broadcast by the Twat Party

    As others have said there is no requirement for El Reg to adopt a neutral stance, but it would be decent behaviour to at least be overt about your position before gushing over the latest lies from Con HQ.

    Mixing weasel words into the report does no one any favours either, however its common practice for the politicians so why not eh?

    "However, the big principles that shine through suggest that the Tories are not afraid to follow the example of the Canadian government some 15 years back: to cut government spending drastically, return power and responsibility to businesses – and to grow our way out of recession through the power of entrepreneurial success."

    Oh right, wonderful model to base it on.

    We know from past experience that giving control to businesses works really way. Their "entrepreneurial spirit" is normally taking risks at other peoples expenses, so its good to see that will continue unabated.

    Dont be fooled into to thinking CamCon will support small business any more than nuLab did. Both parties will cosy up to where the real money is (lets look at who DavCam has as his close buddies) and any benefit to SME will be purely incidental.

    Neither major party will allow the interests of SME to override the interests of the "too big to fail" enterprises, so the idea that "returning power" to business means anything (at least anything good for the people) is a farce. But at least you spun their manifesto to make it look good.

    "A Conservative government would create a powerful new right to government data, enabling the public to request – and receive – government datasets in an open and standardised format."

    WTF? Seriously, they are going to do this while cutting back the people who will have to process the inevitable requests. Its almost like the FOIA doesnt exist and they are going to invent it.

    "On individual rights, the Conservative proposals may cause purists to shudder, given that they intend to replace the Human Rights Act with a UK Bill of Rights. On the other hand, proposals likely to find favour are a cutting back of intrusive powers of entry into homes, reduced surveillance powers, Privacy Impact Assessments for any proposal that involves data collection or sharing and full Parliamentary scrutiny of any new powers of data-sharing."

    Shudder indeed and I wasnt, until just now, a purist.

    I am sure the Tough on Crime Con party will be happy to reign in the activities of the police and security services. Yeah, its an obvious conclusion to draw from their stance over the past say, 100 years.

    "They will strengthen the powers of the Information Commissioner to penalise any public body found guilty of mismanaging data."

    This is even better. Its a money train if every I saw one.

    Government agency, fines other Government agency for mishandling data. Its the bloody public money and all its doing is filtering out bits each time it goes round the merry go round.

    What about levying real fines, not a token £500,000 for business that mishandle your data and forcing disclosure? The reason we hear more about HMG breaches is that its easier for business to keep quiet, but almost every one mishandles their customer data to a greater or lesser extent.

    "The Conservatives are against the indefinite retention of innocent people’s DNA, and they will change the guidance to give people on the DNA database who have been wrongly accused of a minor crime an automatic right to have their DNA withdrawn."

    Yeah, they could have stood against it and forced a rewrite now but being called "soft on crime" made them blink. Wonderful. I have loads of faith.

    "In the end, though, the over-arching theme is a view that wherever possible, personal data should be controlled by individual citizens themselves"

    Its rarely possible if you want to interact with the world. Everything we do, every interaction with every business or official body leaves an imprint of our private data. We can only control it ourselves at that first contact - after that we have no control, which is where regulation *has* to come in. Anything else is madness.

    And no, I dont think Labour is any better. They are lying, self serving scumbags to the same degree. I have no opinion on Lib Dems cos they dont have an opinion either.

    Bring on the revolution.

    [AC obviously because I am consultant to central government..... yada yada yada]

  34. Mike Smith
    Go

    Re: I assume

    "No ifs, no buts. you can abstain, vote ukip, vote green, vote for the BOFH if you like, hell smear yourself in custard and say you're a fishfinger if you like but you can either vote in the tories or return labour"

    You're overlooking one thing – a lot of the current MPs are only in place due to voter apathy. I find it amazing – and worrying – that so many people whinge about the government but won't make the tiny effort needed to vote, or worse, think that spoiling their ballots will have the slightest effect whatsoever.

    Don't just take my word for it – pop along to the Electoral Commission's website (www.electoralcommission.org.uk) and see what happens to spoilt papers. You'll have to look hard though, because the answer is nothing. They don't even get recorded in the election results. The end result is the same as if you'd just stayed at home swilling beer in front of EastEnders.

    The argument that it's not worth voting because of the large Tory / Labour / whatever majority doesn't always hold water. If enough of the refuseniks were to follow one of two simple rules, there could be some serious upsets for all the big complacent three.

    If you normally can't be bothered to vote, just forget about all the manifestos, broken promises, patronising bullshit and general piss and wind, and just follow one of these two simple tactical voting rules:

    1: Vote for the most popular candidate other than the big three. Doesn't matter which party.

    2. If it's only the big three, vote for the candidate that came third last time.

    Again, it doesn't matter which party.

    Here's a worked example, showing how we could have been rid of Jacqboot Smith if these rules had been followed in 2005. Stats are taken from the Electoral Commission's website (Excel spreadsheet).

    Redditch had a total electoral roll of 63,150. Here is the result:

    Smith, J.J. Ms (Labour): 18,012

    Lumley, K.E. Ms (Conservative): 15,296

    Hicks, N.S. (Liberal Democrat): 5,602

    Ison, J.P. (UKIP) 1,381

    That gave Jacqboot a majority of 2,716.

    63,150 - (18,012+15,296 + 5,602 + 1,381) = 22,859 people who were registered to vote but didn't.

    Let us assume that 10% of these genuinely couldn't vote, as opposed to couldn't be bothered to. That gives us 20,573, rounding down.

    Applying rule 1 gives us this:

    Smith, J.J. Ms (Labour): 18,012

    Lumley, K.E. Ms (Conservative): 15,296

    Hicks, N.S. (Liberal Democrat): 5,602

    Ison, J.P. (UKIP) 1,381 + 20,573 = 21,954.

    So the UKIP would have won with a majority of 3,942. That's 1,226 more than Jacqboot's majority and without taking swinging voters into account.

    Now let's look at our Dear Leader's 2005 result. Here it is:

    Registered electors for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath: 71,603.

    There were 41,796 valid votes, cast as follows:

    Brown, G. (Labour): 24,278

    Bath, A.T. (Scottish National Party): 6,062

    Cole-Hamilton, A.G. (Liberal Democrat): 5,450

    Randall, S.R. (Conservative): 4,308

    West, S.C. (Scottish Socialist Party): 666

    Adams, P. (UK Independence Party): 516

    Parker, J. (Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party): 425

    Kwantes, E.S. Ms. (Independent): 47

    Sargent, P. Ms. (Independent): 44

    Gordon Brown won with a majority of 18,216.

    This time, there were 28,807 refuseniks. Taking off an assumed 10% genuine reasons leaves 26,826. All they would have had to do was vote for Ms Sargent - that would have been enough to depose the Dear Leader.

    And if that was repeated across the country, the House of Commons would look very, very different. In fact, it would look like this if the rules had been followed in 2005:

    This was the 2005 result:

    Labour 355

    Conservative 198

    Liberal Democrat 62

    Democratic Unionist Party 9

    Scottish National Party 6

    Sinn Féin 5

    Plaid Cymru 3

    Social Democratic & Labour Party 3

    Ulster Unionist Party 1

    Speaker 1

    Your Party 1

    Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern 1

    Respect/Unity Coalition 1

    If 90% of the electoral refuseniks turned away from mainstream politics and followed the rules, the House of Commons would look like this:

    UK Independence Party 205

    Green 83

    British National Party 79

    Conservative 77

    Scottish National Party 56

    Plaid Cymru 37

    Liberal Democrat 32

    Respect/Unity Coalition 11

    Independent 10

    Labour 10

    Democratic Unionist Party 9

    Veritas 7

    Sinn Féin 5

    Liberal Party 3

    Socialist Alternative 3

    Social Democratic & Labour Party 3

    Community Action Party 2

    National Front 2

    Socialist Labour Party 2

    Your Party 1

    Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern 1

    Community Group 1

    Alliance for Green Socialism 1

    Residents Association of London 1

    Speaker 1

    Ashfield Independents 1

    Ulster Unionist Party 1

    Peace and Progress 1

    British Public Party 1

    There would have been one tied vote between the BNP and UKIP.

    And if only half the refuseniks could be persuaded to shift their backsides down the polling station?

    Here's what:

    Labour 262

    Conservative 192

    Liberal Democrat 58

    SNP 35

    Green 25

    British National Party 18

    Plaid Cymru 11

    UK Independence Party 10

    Democratic Unionist Party 9

    Respect/Unity Coalition 8

    Sinn Féin 5

    Independent 3

    Social Democratic & Labour Party 3

    Veritas 1

    Ulster Unionist Party 1

    Speaker 1

    Your Party 1

    Liberal Party 1

    Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern 1

    National Front 1

    Again, there would have been one tied vote between the BNP and UKIP.

    Now, I don't claim to be an expert in political analysis. And I don't particularly like the idea of seeing fascists in the House of Commons. But I can't help thinking that that sort of breakdown is a far better proposition than a massive majority that, coupled with the whip system, does so much to stifle Parliament.

    And all it would take is for the apathetic refuseniks to get their backsides down the polling station next month and follow the two simple rules.

    Don't forget that an MP has to be elected. Even if nobody turned out to vote, the returning officer would have to make a random selection. Like it or not, that is how the system works, so unless people are prepared to vote for a party that will change it, that is where we are.

    So bloody vote! It's the one small thing you can do to hit back!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the problem i've noticed

      Is that the polling stations only ever seem to open on days that i'm at work, during the time that i'm at work. In places, nowhere near my work.

      Now i can't believe i'm alone in being someone who will just go to work, rather than take half, or a full day, off, despite my entitlements.

      I do sometimes wonder why thing have gotten so much better for people who can't be bothered to work...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Troll

        Polling Stations

        @ AC

        "I do sometimes wonder why thing have gotten so much better for people who can't be bothered to work..."

        When was it any different? When did the polls open during people's days off?

        Are your working days so long that you cant make the polling station at all? ISTR most are open quite early until quite late but I may be wrong.

      2. Mike Smith
        WTF?

        Re: the problem i've noticed

        You have to work from 7am to 10pm and can't have a postal vote? That's a real bummer.

      3. Jon Roderick
        Headmaster

        @the problem i've noticed

        Lots of us have the same problem - get a postal voting form.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      How much effort?

      So if you cant be bothered to vote you should instead take time and make the effort to see who is the fourth most popular candidate at the last election?

      Makes sense....

      A simpler and fairer one for people who really dont care would be to vote randomly. Just tick a box.

      You could modify it to ignore the main three (two) parties but voting for third popular seems too much of a decision for the apathetic (as your figures show it basically means you support UKIP).

  35. Captain Mainwaring
    Stop

    Pleased to hear it, but.....

    I am pleased to hear that the Conservative Party has re-affirmed it's intention to scrap ID Cards and the Orwellian national identity register that lays behind it, should they be elected next month. It would appear from what I have been reading this afternoon, that the tories still intend to embark on a mass fingerprinting excercise of the civil population when the phase 2 Biometric Passport is rolled out in a couple of years time. Although obtaining a passort is obviously a voluntary act, a large percentage of the population (80% or more) are in possession of one at any given time. Within a generation, a majority of the UK population could find their fingerprints included on the passport database, an idea I'm sure today's Nu Labour politicians and many Whitehall mandarins would find very palatable indeed.

    Although a new Conservative administration would probably ensure that the new Passport database only contains the minimum amount of personal information required, we would still have a large biometric database of the population not too far different from today's proposed national identity register. The International Civil Aviation authority does not at present require any country to include fingerprints or other Biometric identifiers in their Biometric Passports, ony a facial image as we have at present. If there is a regime change in Downing Street next month, perhaps the new government might reflect on this more Orwellian aspect of it's proposals and drop the fingerprinting requirements from the next generation of passports. In keeping with many of it's cost-cutting ambitions, the removal of this feature is bound to save money in the longer term too.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Don't believe everything you read

    So they're going to reduce the dead hand of the state (like they did last time (not) - for those of you who remember that far back). The reason it's short on detail is because they haven't a clue what they're talking about - or rather they say things that sound like good ideas like 'lets get more volunteers involved with running things...' That would need to be organised and paid for by the erm state as these things do cost. Lets have a bill of rights - we've already got the european one (well human rights act) which if you actually read it isn't too bad - so why spend time and money replacing it. Lets give people some inheritance tax breaks (sorry just people with a lot of money). Also if the contracts for the IT systems are already in place we'll have a hard time getting out of them (depending on how they're written). And having worked with at least one of the Tory high command I wouldn't trust them as far as I can throw them. However I don't trust the Labour lot either. I think that a hung parliament might throw up some interesting voting reform possibilities so I'm hoping that will happen, at least we'll get a better choice next time (well not Gordon or plastic Dave anyway).

  37. blackworx
    Dead Vulture

    You've got brown on you

    Hmmm... Comparing the language in this to the one on ZanuLab's manifesto, one might almost think.... nah.

    Get with it Reg - on the whole they're a bunch of snide, backstabbing, snake in the grass, money-grabbing c*nts - no matter what colour tie they're wearing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      HYS

      Is here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/default.stm

      You might fell happyer there.

  38. lawman
    Big Brother

    Scrap ID cards? No chance

    "Conservative government would do: for instance, they would scrap ID cards,"

    Not a chance unfortunately. The equipment's being installed in Post Offices as we speak.

    Other posters have said that no government will give up any powers without a fight. I agree.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Give up power?

      Is the ID Card scheme government power, or an immense clusterfuck which they can scrap without breaking a sweat and later label as billions saved due to their efficiency measures and hope nobody mentions that their efficiency measures plus scrapping the ID card scheme actually saved slightly less than scrapping the ID card scheme did by itself?

      It seems to me that the ID card scheme is a power base for those who run it and those who figure out how to abuse it, who will mostly have been Labour cronies and criminals so scrapping it gives power to the Tories rather than taking it away.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Different foot

    Same old (jack) boot....

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Really make a difference?

    As I have always maintained, with the Tories, you know your going to get bent-over and stuffed, but at least they're polite enough to let you know first that's what's going to happen!

    The manifesto seems reasonable but of course it would be, they want to be seen to be "the light out of the darkness" so the Tory spin-doctors are working overtime to ensure they paint a rosier picture than any of the other mob. Let's face it, most sensible people are going to vote for anyone other than Gordon's mob, just for a change.

    Such is UK policitics swinging left and right as one mob runs out of ideas, then the next mob steps-in and for a while things go OK, then they too run out of ideas. The first mob have had time to come up with some new funs things, made a load of new chums in big business and once every 12 years, we swing left and right. Although I have to admit in this case it seems we are swinging from slightly-right of centre to slightly deeper right!

    Give me the Goldie Lookin' Chain's Manifesto any day over all the others!

  41. Mary Hawking
    FAIL

    How would some of this be achieved?

    1. cut ministers pay by 5% and freeze pay for 5 years.

    2. reduce numbers of MPs by 10%

    3. Cap public sector pensions at £50000

    4. ensure that everyone has access to GP between 8 am and 8 pm 7 days a week

    5 give patients with long term conditions a personal budget to cover both health and social care

    just a few examples.

    Last time 1. was attempted, there was a 27.5% rise in allowable expenses to compensate - and a promise to make the 0% rise for all MPs up in the following year.

    2 would seem to require a complete redrawing of electoral boundaries (I didn't think one was due just yet!)

    3. capping public pensions (are GPs alone in not having a final salary pension but one based on life time contributions) would be problematic: I know Robert Maxwell was legally entitled to pillage his company's pension fund (and the same applied to "excess" funds in the Coalboard pension funds after privatisation) but should this be introduced, not as a considered change to the pension system but as a response to short-term national debt reduction?

    4. 24/7 access to a GP is fine - but not possible when the partners in the business do the work.

    The 2004 contract was brought in because general practice was in a state of melt-down and recruitment was becoming impossible. (I'm a GP partner).

    Working 13 - 14 hour days as many of us do is causing massive early retirement: the demand that GPs should not only work 50 hr weeks (8.00 to 6.30 5 days a week) but increase that to 12 hrs a day, 7 days a week (8.00 am to 8.00 pm) - 84hr weeks - has cost implications in terms of numbers of GPs, staff, premises and IT systems.

    Hardly a cost containment option.

    5. I have looked at Personal Health Plans (support) and Personal Health Budgets (serious doubts: much of health care is an insurance: what happens to the medical care of the individual patient in case of a crisis, and whose budget does the funding come from?)

    A unified budget for medical and social care sounds good to politicians - but might leave patients in a US (or private insurance) situation: "Sorry ducks, you've reached the limit for this year!"

    6. newly qualified dentists to work for the NHS for 5 years: not sure whether this would breach human rights - especially if it only applied to dental graduates

    Not saying the Labour - or any other - manifesto is any better: just reasonably sure that much of this is not deliverable, even under future legislation - and would have far reaching unintended consequences.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    PEB by the Tory Party - why?

    This reads like it was written by Conservative Central Office - certainly not what I come here for.

    Some kind of balanced dissection of the Tory manifesto as it relates to science and technology might have been useful but this is nothing more than political propaganda, which serves only to sully the reputation of this often fine publication.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Fail

      In other words, if you disagree with the author's views he must be BIASED!! How very tolerant.

      You're just a left-wing version of a Fox News retard, aren't you?

  43. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Go

    Now would be a good time

    For El reg readers in the UK to write to the probable Conservative home and foreign secretaries to remind them of their commitments to scrap ID cards and raise serious questions about what they think the efficiency of the Interception Modernization Programme will be.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Did you ever consider that you don't get the facts

    Scotland is not a subsidy Junkie suckling off the English teat as the Daily Mail and various frothing loons love to suppose.

    1) Scotland has a indentifiable budget for expenditure, England has not and many infrastructure benefits in the South are lauded as UK projects, this makes "England" seem less expensive than it otherwise would be.

    Also some national things, like those Nuclear subs, are counted against Scottish expenditure, making Scotland seem more expensive than it is.

    London costs more per head than Scotland, NI does also and there are English constituencies more dependant on state funds than any in Scotland.

    2) Any UK income that gets reported in London is counted as London income, even if it is tax like the BBC licence fee, the rests from the sea shore, oil revenues or companies doing business elsewhere in the UK but Hedquartered in London.

    3) The Barnett Formula. Despite what the frothing press would have you believe, the Barnett formula is not this marvellous wonder of beneficence. Many projects, e.g. the Olympics, some rail infrastructure are discounted, so the money gets spent in the "UK", i.e. London and the SE but there is no consequential Budget for other places

    4) Free prescriptions subsidised by the English etc. No, there is a budget. It can be spent on other things than are spent on IN England, the flipside of that is the Scots may not get some things the English enjoy. Swings and roundabouts

    5) Scots voting in an English Parliament. Well it is an anomalous thing, the Parliament is a UK Parliament. MPs are UK MPs. The SNP refrain from voting on purely English bills but the way to resolve this is to have your own English Parliament and keep Westminster only affairs that affect all the Home Nations.

    Actually Labour tried to bring in a bit of Devolution into England in the first term, but that was kiboshed.

    6) The Oli Fields. Labour redrew the map to try and slice off a large section of the oli fields, if you look at their map you will see that parts of the North Sea east of St Andrews are English, think about that for a moment.

    Unfortunately that would not stand up by the International laws on territorial waters

    Perhaps politics would be better if, instead of focussing on parties people actually voted for their MP, but that isn't the way it works

  45. Aron
    Go

    The state of British politics

    It's not a coincidence that our current prime minister is unelected and we've seen a contemporary rise in neo-Marxist centralised power, government bloat and waste, and high taxes all at the same time.

    What Brits have to ask is just how did they allow themselves on to this dangerous path. When they ask that then they'll understand that their politeness, tolerance, political correctness and apathy is more harmful to their freedom and prosperity than anything else.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    John Major wasn't elected either

    That's the way the system is

    We don't elect a Prime Minister, one of the reasons these "Prime Ministerial Debates" are idiotic and unfair to the other parties

    We elect our MPs

    MPs band together in political Parties

    They choose their leader

    The Queen decides to ask the the leader of the biggest party to be PM

    He or she is not a President, Gordon Brown was elected as an MP for the UK Parliament, all else follows

  47. sheila
    FAIL

    Warning from Scotland

    There has been a lot of effort put into spinning the less intrusive qualities of "the Scottish system" :

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09...ta_collection/

    Seems increasingly likely that all this effort means that our EU prize-winning eCare system is destined for greater things:

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/924/0009673.pdf

    This has recently been picked up here:

    http://theconservativeblog.co.uk/?p=3140

    How intrusive can it get?

    http://www.forhighlandschildren.org/...4-contents.pdf

    Every Child Matters = Every Citizen Monitored

    Getting it right for every child = Getting information recorded for every citizen

    So the Tories can scrap Contactpoint, ID cards and much else probably to loud applause and then introduce the much hyped "less intrusive" Scottish system which will do all that and then some.

    http://www.cypnow.co.uk/news/ByDisci...ocial-workers/

    Sorted :(

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