Wednesday, June 03, 2009

euro elections 4: tweedledum and tweedledee

After the BNP, two anti-BNP, Green, and the UKIP leaflets, limping through the door at the last minute come the leaflets from Labour and Conservatives. Didn't get one from the LibDems, unless you count their Focus faux-newsletter.


The Conservatives explain that they've been fighting for our economy. At least, that's the heading.

Part of the Conservative leaflet about their action on the economy

They give us two sentences saying the economy's bad. That's not actually Conservative action. Then a third saying they've 'opposed job-destroying EU laws'.

In case you're hard of reading, in the next section they tell us they've 'opposed job-destroying EU laws', like the Working Time Directive and the Agency Workers Directive.

The Working Time Directive means you must get
  • a maximum working week of 48 working hours
  • a 20 minute break after working six hours
  • 4 weeks paid leave a year
  • one day off out of seven

The Agency Workers Directive means that after 12 weeks in a job, you must get the same rights as other employees.

Fucking hell I wish I'd had those rules ten years ago when I worked in a call centre doing anything up to 70 hours a week with no overtime, no paid breaks, no leave entitlement. The Conservatives would like people to still be being treated like that. Indeed, they're trumpeting their pride in it as a policy.

What else could we expect from the party who want to see the unemployed doing drudgery - moat cleaning or whatever - for less than £2 an hour. (It should be noted that Labour favour the same thing).

But the conservatives are further out. David Cameron has also spoken out against the Equality Bill which, as Johann Hari notes,

requires companies to calculate the gap between what women are paid and what men are paid in their organisation, and publish it. Some companies have squealed that their gap will be large, because their managers are overwhelmingly male, and their cleaners are overwhelmingly women. Well, yes...

David Cameron has come out against pay audits, and tried to scupper the Equality Bill entirely. He wants a company to have to publish its pay gap only in the very rare cases where a woman has fought a sex discrimination case and won. So instead of every company doing it, virtually none will. The message to every woman in Britain is clear: David Cameron doesn't want you to know if you're being ripped off at work.

Cameron doesn't favour equality or fairness, he favours the maintenance of the present power structure (you can take the boy out of Eton...). Certainly, it's the polar opposite of their election slogan Vote For Change.

What else have the Conservatives done in Europe? Well, as these election leaflets are necessarily concise and with five years of political activity to summarise there's only room for the big issues and actions that keep us secure and protect our very lives.

Part of the Conservative leaflet about their action on EU laws

Two sentences about buying your fruit and veg in imperial measures, one about supporting measures that everyone else supported. Oh bravo.

Still, at least they mention Europe properly, which is more than the Labour leaflet. Mind you, that's not necessarily their fault. With all the questions and media attention being about domestic politics, a leaflet that did actually talk about European Parliamentary business, that even mentioned that the parties in your country are not how it works in that parliament, would fail to connect and would even draw flak for dodging what the election is 'really' about.


Whilst the headings might claim 'Real Help for Yorkshire and Humber', it's nothing to do with the constituency or even European Parliament business.

Then there is a small section on how they have 'delivered for Yorkshire and the Humber'.

Section of Labour leaflet about their incumbent MEPs

Four points.

A first vague one about providing jobs.
The second one, rather like the Conservative leaflet, details supporting Eurostuff, including stuff that everyone supported.
Thirdly, their MEPs are MEPs. Wow, what a great reason to vote for them.
Fourthly, their MEPs actually live in Yorkshire. Big whoop.

Five years since the last European election and this is all you can claim?

Inside the leaflet they take four areas and set out their achievements that the Conservatives opposed. Protecting workers, immigration, climate change (wherein 'clean coal' is a good thing) and tilting the tax and benefits system to favour working families.

Having made the general case against voting Conservative quite well and at length, they have a little pop at the LibDems. Rather like the repetition in the Conservative leaflet, the two sections about the LibDems are the same point repeated, even using the same phrases.

Section of Labour leaflet about Lib Dems

'They are soft on crime'. The two bits of evidence are their wish to

end the use of imprisonment as a punishment for possession for own use of illegal drugs of any class.

Oh jeez, let's go over this again. If anyone has a large amount of drugs on them - even if there's no other evidence - they tend to get prosecuted for intent to supply. Being prosecuted solely for possession means it's just small personal amounts.

When someone's in court and there's no evidence of them having done any harm to anyone else - and often not even themselves - how can anyone say with a straight face that it would improve their life to go to prison? That it is a proportionate and just thing for the community to do, that it is the best way for the state to spend thousands of pounds?

What else would the LibDems do to let baby eating demons feast on your innards? They would

remove the possibility of a custodial sentence for juveniles convicted of breaching an ASBO.

Again, see this crime in context.

Most anti-social behaviour is already against the law. If you intimidate someone, vandalise something, it's a crime. ASBOs are there to make something that's not illegal a crime just for you. Don't go near this playground, don't play football in the street, don't be outdoors with more than three people.

This is not stopping imprisonment for smashing something or hurting anyone, only for things that could be preparatory to that sort of crime. Incarcerating children for that, putting them in an institution with proper young criminals, is a good thing according to Labour.

If those two entirely sensible policies are the worst they can find to say about the LibDems then I can see why the LibDems didn't need to put their own leaflet through the door.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Quote from the Conservative leaflet: "You can still buy your fruit and vegetables in pounds and ounces thanks to Conservative MEPs."

Well, thanks for that - that was really up high on my (and I'm sure everybody's) list of priorities. This borders on BNP-type, small-minded, parochial propaganda. Good job I DIDN'T tick that particular box this morning.