GE17 manifesto musings: Labour’s ‘For the Many, Not the Few’

The Labour Party manifesto ‘For the Many, Not the Few’ (http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/manifesto2017) was leaked and then published in the last few days.

It makes but one mention each of brownfield, greenbelt (sic) and green belt.

“We will prioritise brownfield sites and protect the greenbelt. We will start work on a new generation of New Towns to build the homes we need and avoid urban sprawl.”

“The balance needs resetting: our air is killing us, our farms face an uncertain future, our fish stocks are collapsing, our oceans are used as dumping grounds, and our forests, green belt, national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are all under threat.”

While seas, bees and plastic bottles will be addressed there is nothing on how threats to green belt will be neutralised.

There is no mention of neighbourhood plans but there is a promise of more neighbourhood police.

In terms of planning, there are promises to strengthen planning authorities but no mention of neighbourhood forums. The assumption is these authorities know and act in accordance with community interests. Extra funds for local authorities are promised, paid for perhaps by a ‘land tax’.

The reasons behind so many pub closures will be reviewed to see what can be done.

Drinkers are promised ‘first class’ bus services by re regulating buses and getting councils to run them. Nottingham of course is blessed with excellent bus services, independently run, supported by ever improving council funded infrastructure: bus lanes, bus stops, robin hood cards. Retrofitting diesel buses, rather than more ‘poo buses’, is the way Labour will keep buses moving.

HS2 will be built… and extended to Scotland and perhaps elsewhere too. London’s Cross Rail 2 tunnels will also see the ‘light of day’.

The University towns of Oxford, Cambridge and… Milton Keynes will be linked by the rail Science Vale route.

Recognising the demographic time bomb, “we will ensure that local plans address the need for older people’s housing, ensuring that choice and downsizing options are readily available.”

Depending on how this pans out, it could release under occupied family homes and create communities that rescue our elderly out of loneliness. At least any raging against the dying of the light can be done in choirs not as unheard solos.

There will be investment for new school buildings and a promise to remove asbestos from existing buildings. Sadly no specific return to the Schools for the Future programme is mentioned.

Nuclear deterrence will be maintained but the nuclear power industry is mainly spoken of in terms of its potential for worldwide decommissioning work. Staying in Euratom suggest an interest in generation too. So does references to ‘no carbon’, as opposed to renewable, energy sources. Tidal lagoons get a special mention among a general warmth for renewables.

No mention of soil, shale gas, minerals or, parochially, geology.

I suspect the above won’t get prominence in reporting the manifesto contents. Thank goodness for PDFs and search functions.

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