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  May 21, 2017

UK's Conservative Party Manifesto Amounts to a Heist (2/2)

In part II with Real Media's Kam Sandhu, she explains how the Conservative Party's manifesto promotes fracking and robs the elderly from their pension and care
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Kam Sandhu is a journalist and the co-founder of the UK-based Real Media.


Speaker 1: It's the Real News. This is part two, with Cam San [Do 00:00:09] we're discussing the UK conservative parties new manifesto, that's election manifesto titled, Our Plan for a Stronger Britain, and Prosperous Future. Cam San Do is an investigative journalist and editor and cofounder of the UK based independent outlet called Real Media. Cam, thank you so much for joining us.

Speaker 2: Thanks for having me back.

Speaker 1: Cam the 88 page document takes a very strong anti-climate change position, it mentions the word climate change four times in the report and it mentions shale gas, and other resources over 12 times. What does this manifesto tell us about the governments plan regarding natural gas, drilling, fracking and environmental concerns?

Speaker 2: Well, look the conservative party have always been staunchly behind fracking regardless of the fact that we've had huge public opposition to it. Majority of the public, over 90% don't want to see fracking or at least want to see a five year moratorium as many other countries have managed to achieve to find out what the dangers are about this kind of energy that's only gonna last us a few years, but is apparently gonna bridge us to a more low carbon or renewable kind of energy source. The conservative party have been confronted at every point with a growing anti-fracking movement here in the UK. There's been a lot of organizing happening in local communities, in a way that we don't get to see that often enough, really in the UK. And it's brought together a kind of people from very different backgrounds, however the government have shown that they will work along side that fracking industry to override permissions, objections, as they have done in Preston New Road, which has been described as the front road, the front line of fracking at the moment. Whether local council has been overruled and the conservative party have pushed ahead with fracking at any cost.

This manifesto which, labor, lib dems, and greens have all said that they will ban fracking or at least make move to delay it, the conservative party have put their colors to this mast and said that they will support it whatsoever. And they will reduce the number of permissions that are required at the moment. They have said that they will require some public support to do this, I'm not sure how they're gonna garner that, and I'm not sure how much that will actually affect them pushing forward with fracking, looking at their kind of behavior up until now.

Speaker 1: Right. Now Cam we know across the board when we are looking at austerity type budgets in countries, and liberal ones at that, pensions care for the elderly and things that are there, the social supports and security that's made available is often ripped out of their pockets, out of their bank accounts, what is this manifesto tell us about care for the elderly and pensions?

Speaker 2: Wow. Well, it's quite shocking because the conservative party have gone for the older generation. Now the older generation are the people who make up the conservative party base, and by 2015 they had halved their membership, but their average age of a member was over 60. These are the people that are voting conservative. These are the people who are turning out for them, and the majority of them are home owners who have benefited from the last seven years. They're the one group that have actually, probably made a bit more money as house prices go up, and younger generations are more unable to afford housing. But this manifesto has really, really put the knife in. She's come with three kind of big policies.

First it's the triple lock pension, which is the conservatives and the lib dems actually just brought in, in 2010. Which was to say that pensions would rise by one of the highest figures between 2.5% which was a minimum, the average rate of earnings or the rate of inflation. They've also gone for ending universal winter fuel payments. As we're seeing people struggling with the cost of living, and struggling with energy prices, this means that more people are gonna get caught out of getting some help when they're retired and trying to pay for those energy bills. And the last one and this is really the biggest one, this is the overhaul of the social care system, and the way that older generations pay for their care. If you lived in your home and you received care, you didn't have to put your house as an asset towards that, however this manifesto rips that up. And while Theresa May says you won't lose your house before you die, she's ... you can start to take equity out of your house so that after you die they're able to now repossess that.

There's certain rules that stop them from being able to count your house as your asset if there's someone over 60 in your house, or if there's someone under 18. However, all sorts of secondary problems are gonna come for this. For example, one young woman said, "If my mother now dies, in a couple of years, and I've been helping her our with caring for her in her house, but using care services as well. Does that mean that I will be homeless? I won't have a home?" Where are the people who are the children of these pensioners going to go? So it's really an all out assault on the people who we thought were the conservative voter base, and how this might turn out for her, I'm not sure.

Speaker 1: All right, Cam we are what 20 days from the election now? Where are the poles in terms of the labor party and the conservatives?

Speaker 2: Well, it's actually been not such a bad week for Corbyn, certainly with this conservative manifesto. We've seen labor cut down the lead by eight points, there poling at around 35% now, I've seen a couple say higher, but you know polls can kind of deviate day to day. But, it certainly looks like the labor party is closing the gap, and Theresa May was perhaps counting very much so on that this being a very sure victory. However, the fact that she's avoided the public, avoided public debate, presented a manifesto with no costings is perhaps hurting her more dearly than she thought. Whether the labor party will be able to turn this around in 20 days is kind of up in the air at the moment.

Speaker 1: All right, Cam we are watching this carefully and closely as I know you are. I've been speaking with Cam San Do, she is an investigative journalist, editor and cofounder of the UK based independent news outlet, Real Media, that Real News is promising to partner with in the future. I thank you so much for joining us.

Speaker 2: No problem, thank you so much.

Speaker 1: And thank you for joining us here on the Real News Network.


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