Reasons not to vote Labour #2 – The Labour manifesto

labour manifesto 2017

In the last part of this series, which I released yesterday, I talked about the utter toxicity of Jeremy Corbyn and his cabinet of fools. Today, I plan to talk about his manifesto, which was leaked a week before it was supposed to be launched. I had planned to talk about all the other party’s manifestos ahead of the election, but due to how little time I have left, that might not be possible. A few weeks ago I talked about the Liberal Democrats, and how their manifesto literally contradicts their party’s name. But at least Labour’s manifesto is upfront about its quest for a socialist Britain.

The most glaringly obvious pledge is that Labour wants to renationalise the rail and energy industries. For those who don’t know, nationalisation basically means the government is bringing an industry under its control, meaning that these industries will be part of the public sector, and therefore funded by the taxpayer. Labour are also promising to cap railway fares and deliver free Wi-Fi. For the newly nationalised energy industry, they want to control the grid and energy distribution, and create at least one state-owned energy company for every region of the UK, and cap average household dual fuel bills to £1,000 a year.

While some might ask why this is a bad thing, remember that there was a time when everything was nationalised (I mentioned this when I wrote about the one-nation Tories), including rail and energy. Given how far-left Jeremy Corbyn and his allies are, what’s stopping Labour from eventually nationalising more of Britain’s industries, taking us back to the time when Britain was the sick man of Europe, even as Europe is now the sick man of the world. But that’s not all.

Labour also wants to lower the voting age to 16, which will likely have the effect of introducing more indoctrinated, barely matured voters who will likely vote Labour because they pander directly to their interests. This is the only reason I could think of for wanting younger voters, who will generally be more ill-informed than older voters. And before I get accused of generalising, I’ve actually tried talking to 16-year-olds about politics, and when you’re 16, you know nothing about politics. Speaking of young people, Labour also want to abolish tuition fees and reintroduce any maintenance grants that were scrapped under the Tories. Again, this is a naked attempt to pander to young people, but it’s a dreadful idea not just because it means more government spending. When university is free, you get the wrong sort of students flooding into campuses, whether its drunken chavs who just want to go into university “for the sesh”, or people who just want to blow their money doing a worthless gender studies course, which I wager is precisely what Labour is hoping for, as more gender studies students means more Marxists who will become lifelong Labour voters.

Labour wants to scrap the bedroom tax, which is all well and good because nobody liked it. That said, this pledge is bundled in with plans to build 100,000 council homes. Ever seen what a council flat looks like? If you haven’t, you’re lucky. There was once a time in which high-rise council flats were envisioned as the future of British housing, but in reality, they’re the kind of homes that the poorest among us live in if they live anywhere at all. That Labour probably wants more of these is simply a show of how retrograde the party is.

Labour wants to create a Ministry of Labour, supposedly to deliver an investment in worker’s rights, but it’s really a front to hand power back to the unions. For a bit of context, under James Callaghan (who, I’ll admit, came to power after the Ministry of Labour was dissolved in 1970), the unions practically ran everything, and they figured out that they could get whatever they wanted by calling random strikes in order to make more money. The resulting disruption led to the Winter of Discontent in 1978. When Margaret Thatcher came along, she broke the power of the unions by stripping away the power of union leaders. Eventually the power of unions had fallen to nothing, but now Corbyn wants to bring back the unions’ stranglehold over the country and its workers. On defence, Labour’s manifesto says that the party wants to renew the Trident nuclear defence program, but Corbyn himself, as a unilateralist, has repeatedly dodged the question of whether or not to retaliate in a nuclear strike on several occasions.

What Labour manifesto would be complete without raising taxes. They want to raise corporate tax up from 17% to 26%, which will have the knock-on effect of making prices higher for consumers. They want to raise income tax for everyone earning £80k or more, and grant extra powers to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (the UK’s tax collection department) to chase down individuals and corporations who try to avoid paying taxes, which I’m sure they will after Labour raises the corporation tax. If you want businesses to pull out of the UK, this is how you do it. If you want to stop people from avoiding tax, why not lower the corporate tax (lower taxes for everyone while we’re at it), and adopt a flat tax so everyone pays the same rate? Of course Corbyn won’t, because that’s not the Marxist way isn’t it?

All of Labour’s plans can be summed up as wild and unrealistic, and they are set to cost the British public £93 billion (roughly £4,000 from each British household). The problem is that way Labour wants to raise money for its spending spree will only raise £63 billion, leaving a £30 billion deficit. In summation, Labour’s plan for Britain is to borrow, borrow and borrow some more until we crash land onto mountains of debt yet again.

I left out Corbyn’s position on Brexit because that’s the subject of Part 3 of this series, so stay tuned for the next part, “A Toothless Brexit, if We Even Have One”.

Why I’m voting Conservative in the snap election

theresa may

UPDATE (4/6/2017): These do not represent my current voting intentions, but rather my views at the time of writing the post.

Yesterday, from out of nowhere, Prime Minister Theresa May decided to call a snap general election, which was passed in the House of Commons today, meaning of course that we’ll have yet another round of voting for us beleaguered Brits in about seven weeks time. To be honest, I had a slight suspicion that there might be an early election, but I was taken aback by how soon and sudden this came up. Before that, I decided that if a snap election were to occur, I would vote for the Conservatives, and now that there is a snap election, you probably know where this is going.

Some of you may find this odd. Why would I willingly cast my vote for the party that I spent the past few years excoriating with ceaseless zeal? Well for starters I am not the leftist teenager that I used to be, and I wish I had actually done more research back then too. Second, let’s consider the reality of the political situation in Britain today. Brexit is definitely happening now despite all the establishment’s attempts to stop it, and right now, Theresa May, whatever you may think of her policies, is the only politician with the ability and the will to make it happen.

UKIP is probably closer to my more libertarian positions, but they’re completely useless. Think about it for a moment. The one thing UKIP was founded for, Britain leaving the EU, is already being accomplished under the current government. As long as this is the case, UKIP has no purpose in the political arena, other than potentially stealing Labour seats from the north. In a normal election I suppose I would endorse the UK Libertarian Party, but I don’t think they will have much of an impact in a sudden snap election. Plus, I don’t know anyone running as an MP for the Libertarian Party who I can vote for.

While we’re here, let’s talk about the other parties. I hope nobody tries to convince me to vote for the Liberal Democrats, because they will quickly find it impossible to convince me to vote for the pack of snivelling sell-outs that the Lib Dems. Under Tim Farron, they’ve become a party for social justice warriors, as if the Green Party wasn’t already. I honestly think the Lib Dems want to fail. Their leader is a useless wimp, and they don’t seem to know how to appeal to ordinary voters. And then there’s Labour, the sad socialist club whose leader was practically salivating over the prospect of a snap election, one in which he will undoubtedly be crushed because he is less popular than most British politicians. At this point, they’d do better if they kept Ed Miliband as leader. Even worse are Corbyn’s deluded fans, those larping revolutionaries who will finally get the chance to campaign for their dear leader, lose, then protest the outcome and start a petition to kick the Tories out.

I should reiterate that I don’t actually agree with most of the Tories’ policies. In fact, if I was a Tory, I’d probably be a very crappy Tory. My policies, which would be considered centre-right in America, would probably be considered too far-right for the Conservatives, which I mostly consider to be conservative in name only. The main reason I am voting Conservative in this election is because I know exactly why Theresa May called this election. It’s a move to strengthen her majority, and giver her government democratic legitimacy, all while thinning out the Labour opposition while it’s already weak. In short, I think she wants to attain a larger majority, which will be easier for her to work with while she’s negotiating the Brexit terms with Brussels.

I know full well that the snap election is a political power move on Theresa May’s part, but I am not voting for the Tories on ideological lines. You may remember that I wrote in favour of leaving the EU. Now that we are leaving the EU, this country needs a capable leader who will deliver on the will of the people, and at the moment the only one who can rise to the challenge is Theresa May. I dislike much of her policies, but I think leaving the European Union takes precedent over everything else at the moment, and I want a government that will deliver on its promise. If Theresa May wants her democratic mandate then as far as I’m concerned she can have it. After all, she has thus far demonstrated that she is more than capable of delivering Brexit, while Labour, the Lib Dems and the Green Party have openly opposed it, and UKIP will do nothing to help, having served its purpose.

I leave you with some predictions for the election in June:

  1. The Tories will win in a landslide victory, increasing their majority by at least 40 seats.
  2. Labour will lose at least 30 seats, and Jeremy Corbyn will either resign or be challenged in a new leadership contest some time in the autumn.
  3. The Lib Dems won’t gain or lose many seats, UKIP will probably steal seats from Labour if they gain any at all.

I doubt that it will be a very exciting campaign however, given how exhausted the general public is when it comes to national politics. One thing I can guarantee is that, after the Tories win again, the left-wing media and the progressive busy-bodies will throw a hissy fit yet again, but this time nobody will care.

However you vote in June’s election, I hope that people won’t pick each other apart over they plan to vote, or are at least less enthused about it than they were in last year’s bitterly divisive referendum campaign.

Why Sonic should get off the nostalgia train

sonic 2017

Oh where, oh where have I seen this before?

Even though this year marks the 25th anniversary of the first Sonic the Hedgehog game, I’ve heard startlingly little about Sega’s upcoming plans for the Sonic series until now. At this year’s San Diego Comic Con, Sega showed some of the more jaded fans of the series (myself included) that they haven’t quite given up on the blue blur. After the failure of Sonic Boom, you’d think that they haven’t got anything left, but they have, though you might not be totally thrilled.

They unveiled two games, both intended for release in 2017, which is rather odd if you consider that this is meant to celebrate Sonic’s 25th anniversary. The first of these is by far the most exciting prospect – Sonic Mania. That game is basically a love letter to fans of the older Sonic games, with remixed levels from past games alongside new levels, complete with the style of the classic games. It’s basically what Sonic 4 should have been, and I want to get my hands on it. The other game, which so far has no title other than “Project Sonic 2017”, is somewhat less encouraging. It’s presented as a far more serious foil to Sonic Mania, and it worked until Classic Sonic showed up again. It’s like Sonic Generations all over again, as if Sega really had run out of ideas.

Both of those games have one key thing in common – they appear to be milking nostalgia once again. With Sonic Mania, I totally understand, because at least they want to introduce elements to the classic formula (the “drop dash” being a new addition), but with the other game, I can’t exactly stand by that. Of course, we’re told that “Project Sonic 2017” isn’t a sequel to Sonic Generations, but figuratively speaking, it might as well be. It’s made by the very same development team, and will probably have the same kind of gameplay, but saying that, with the game’s darker and visibly more serious approach, I may be inclined to doubt that it’s a Sonic Generations rehash. Indeed, the head of team, Takashi Iizuka, was keen to state that this is not a sequel to Sonic Generations. If it isn’t that, is it the Sonic Adventure 3 I’ve been waiting for?

As for nostalgia, it feels to me like the Sonic series has been riding on nostalgia for the past five years, all in an obvious attempt to preserve the market value of the series. Due to how badly the brand had been badly damaged over the past decade, I’m not surprised. I’m a lifelong Sonic fanboy who’s played most of the games (though I stayed away from Sonic Boom, partly because I don’t have a Wii U, and I knew it was going to be disaster). I’ve lived to see Sega make one mistake after the other, and like much of the fanbase, I’ve been disappointed more times than I can count. From my experience, the fanbase is only really satisfied by games that are as close to the classics as possible. We all love the original Mega Drive games, along with Sonic Adventure and its sequel. Those games (particularly the oldest Sonic games) are considered the benchmark, and Sega always tries to match that, and they end up being very averse to risk.

For me, “Project Sonic 2017” also comes across as an attempt to once again reform the series, but I doubt it will go down very well. I remember a decade ago when Sonic ’06 was announced, and how that game was supposed to modernise the series and take it into a radical new direction, and we all know how that turned out. Every time Sega tried to radicalise the franchise, it nearly destroys it, tarnishing the brand with one inferior product after another. For example, Sonic Unleashed was bad, Sonic 4 was a minuscule and ultimately pointless disappointment, and Sonic Lost World could have been good but was ultimately a failure. Sonic Boom also tried a radical new direction, but Sega was so scared of a fan backlash that they relegated it to a lowly status as a spin-off cartoon with tie-in games, and they still managed to screw it up.

With that in mind, I get why Sega is so eager to jump on the nostalgia train. They’ve been doing this for years, but they can’t keep doing it forever. As a lifelong fan, I think that if all future Sonic games were driven by nostalgia, it would be a complete disservice to the fans who want something fresh and exciting. I don’t doubt that Sonic Mania will definitely be good, and I’m somewhat interested in what that mystery game has to offer, but at the same time, I think Sega should listen to the fans. I don’t want Sega to focus on how great Sonic was in the old days, because if they keep doing that, they may as well be saying that there’s nothing left. What Sega should be doing is reminding the fans that Sonic is still great, but in order to do that, they’ve got to convince the public that Sonic isn’t just a relic of Sega’s glory years, and they’ve got to make a truly modern Sonic game that miraculously manages to please both young and old fans. Can “Project Sonic 2017” do that? I can only hope.