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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Conservative party civil war over, "Forward together",manifesto promises.

Winter fuel payment: Scottish conservative leader promises Scottish pensioners will keep benefit.

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Ruth Davidson and Theresa May going different ways on winter fuel payments

Browsing through the front pages of today's media, or even watching the news on Sky or BBC, we might never know that a civil war has started in the conservative party over the content of their party manifesto, not over the costings of the"promises", (because no costings were included) but over the detail and some of the promises themselves. Could we even imagine the furore and hysterical outrage that would fill the front pages, had the Labour party produced a manifesto, that within 24 hours of its publication had flagship promises dismissed by sections of the party organisation, and candidates openly critical of policy detail. Thus is the situation today, with the conservative party in Scotland plainly stating that Scottish pensioners will retain their winter fuel payments in full, together with television licence and travel concessions and that there will be no means testing for pensioner benefits. The insurrection is not only confined to Scotland as a number of sitting conservative MP's in coastal constituencies around England are hostile to the proposals which will, they fear, cost them significant numbers of votes from their large pensioner populations.

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However, we would have to look very carefully for any mention of this momentous story in the newspapers.The most important stories it seems are Donald Trump and his visits to the Middle East, or Donald Trump and the FBI, or Julian Assange an the dropped assault charges, or BBC "Stars" having sex in the woods or, of course, Pippa Middleton's wedding and her contest with Meghan Markle for the "best bum" title. 
With only some 18 days to go to polling day in the most important election for decades and one which will decide the fate of this country for decades to come, it is inconceivable that the media should avoid coverage of events where the party until recently in government should be tearing itself apart over its manifesto for the next parliament should it be re elected to power. It is not only on the question of cutting winter fuel payments, (where the proposed means test will effectively stop any pensioner not in receipt of Pension Credit from obtaining the benefit), it is also about scrapping the "Triple lock" on State pensions, appointment to the board of directors from the workplace, 12 months leave for carers and bereaved parents and other manifesto promises where different conservative MP's are furious with Theresa May for varied reasons, considering her measures to be high handed and presentation to be verging on dictatorial.
There is little prospect of the growing schisms within the conservative party being healed any time soon or of any "cease fire" being declared, to bring a temporary truce to these open hostilities. It is unimaginable that Theresa May would delete large sections of her manifesto to appease the critical sections of her MP's as this would not be seen as "strong and stable leadership". In any case, to rewrite a complete manifesto within the space of 18 days, would be impracticable even if the conservatives had the "policies" to fill another 84 pages, which all the available evidence tells us that clearly they have not.
The conservatives and their media allies, went into this election believing that they only had to "turn up on the day" in order to achieve a landslide or even tsunami victory on June 8th, with an overall majority of 150 or even 200 seats.Over the course of the last 10 days, this overconfident attitude in taking the result for granted has eroded as more people found Labour policies were not as ominous as the conservatives and the prophets of doom in the media had been threatening. The publication of the fully costed Labour party manifesto "For the many not the few" draws more support from the voters with promises which are both popular and sensible, and strike a chord with many ordinary people around the country.
The disintegrating conservative party has nothing to offer the people of this country except more of the same and another 5 years of austerity, cuts falling living standards declining services, a continuing crisis in housing and the further decline of our NHS and social welfare.
The open warfare within conservative ranks over their announced "policies" has diminished their credibility as a government and has certainly eroded any opinion poll lead they may have thought that they had. The deafening silence from their media supporters is indicative of a party that is in serious trouble and of a propaganda machine that knows it.