Saturday 20 May 2017

Less-than-even-handed satire from the BBC (as ever)

Fans of Eddie Mair's PM will know that the programme has invited the (Daily Mail) Guardian writer John Crace to give his 'digested' takes on each of the parties' election manifestos.

There's still the SNP and the UKIP ones to come but, so far, we've had his take on the manifestos of Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories. 

The three transcripts from this week's editins could form the basis of a GCSE English comprehension exam question (if they still do such things):

Please read the following satirical takes on the party manifestos. Which party (giving reasons) do you think the author is most sympathetic too? (2 marks). And which party is the author least sympathetic to? (2 marks). Do you think he supports or opposes Brexit? (2 marks)And what, if anything does, the bias displayed say about the broadcaster which commissioned them? (3 marks) 
The Labour Party manifesto: This is a manifesto for the many, not the few; for the many commitments, not the few. At 123 pages it's longer than some books, but when you're as far behind in the polls as we are what's there to lose? Better to promise the Earth than die wondering. The first thing you should know is that nothing in our manifesto will cost you a penny. We know that many of you think you might one day be earning £80,000 per year and could be a bit put off the thought of paying a higher rate of income tax. But get real. That's just isn't going to happen, is it? Even if we raise the national living wage to £10 per hour by 2020 most people are still going to be fairly broke. Under Labour what we can guarantee is that you will be marginally less broke than under the Tories. As a Labour government we promise to raise an extra £48.6 billion a year by asking the wealthiest individuals and businesses to pay a little bit more. Come to think of it that's quite a bit more. But never mind. They can afford it -  especially that Philip Green. It's all going to a good cause as we're going to spend the money on schools, hospitals and Crossrail too. You wouldn't believe what a hassle it can be to get from the north of London down to Wimbledon, Anyway, whatever happens we promise not to spend any more that we get from extra tax revenues. Unlike some parties who make uncosted promises all our sums have been personally checked by Diane Abbott and John McDonnell, so you know you can trust them. Er whoops! We seem to have left out how much the water nationalisation will cost but it shouldn't be more than a few quid. Water can't be that expensive, can it? 
The Lib Dem Manifesto: In every other Liberal Democrat manifesto the leader has set out a vision for government. With just nine MPs in the last parliament we accept that might be a bit of a stretch for some people this time around, so this manifesto is offering a radical new politics: Don't vote for the party that you think will form the government. As we all know Theresa May is going to win. Vote instead for the party who would be the best opposition. Only the Liberal Democrats can stand up to the Tories on the most important issue facing Britain today: Brexit. We fully accept that Britain voted to leave the EU last year and the will of the people must be respected, But get real for a minute. Did all of you voted to leave seriously think through what would happen if we did? Did you really imagine the NHS would get an extra £350 million a week?Theresa May is on course for the hardest possible Brexit that will make many of you broke, and only the Lib Dems - we happy few - are willing to stand up to her. We alone will campaign for a second referendum on the final deal to give everyone a chance to come to their senses and make everything go back to how it was before June 2016. OK, we know we did say we weren't going to say what we would do in government because it was a bit of a waste of everybody's time, but indulge us for a bit. If we'd stuck to that promise the manifesto would have only been a couple of pages long. So here's a few things on our fantasy wishlist; We will add a penny on all tax rates to give an extra £6 billion to the NHS. You may not like it now but you'll be grateful in the end. No-one wants to get seriously ill under a Tory government. And, of course, we will also do all the usual nice things for the environment, children and sheep that you would expect. Finally we'd like to say sorry to all those students we let down by raising tuition fees during the coalition government. It did seem like a good idea at the time, but we can now see that we got a bit carried away with the excitement of being in power. So to make things up to you we are going to restore maintenance grants for the poorest students and set up a rent-to-buy scheme to help out all those of you struggling to raise a deposit because you're too busy paying off your student debt. And for a special welcome pack to your new flat we're going to legalise dope. Vote Lib Dem - the party that knows how to party.  
The Conservative manifesto: Now, more than ever, this country needs strong and stable government. This country faces difficult challenges ahead and only I, your Supreme Leader, with the occasional help of some of my team, can deliver that strong and stable leadership. The biggest challenge the United Kingdom faces is Brexit. Only I have a strong and stable plan for delivering a Brexit that works for everyone. Unfortunately I can't tell you what that plan is, so you'll have to trust me that my plan is strong and stable. But if my plan turns out to be not quite so strong and stable as I'd hoped then you could be confident that I have another plan that is almost as strong and stable. I also promise to reduce immigration to tens of thousands. I know that the Conservatives have made that commitment in our last two manifestos but, with me as Supreme Leader, I can guarantee it will happen. I don't want to bother you right now with any of the details of how it will be different this time, or how much it will cost. Just trust me>My party has always been the party of low taxation but I reserve the right to raise taxes and national insurance and reduce the state pension at a later date. That is entirely reasonable. I am also arbitrarily removing free school lunches and introducing free breakfasts. Under my strong and stable leadership it will be far better for children to go hungry later in the day. I will not hesitate to intervene, to create the great leap forward of the great meritocracy. People who are considered deserving will be rewarded with grammar school places. Those who aren't will be sent for vocational training. It has also come to our attention that people are dying unfairly so we propose to create an NHS where is far less expensive to die of a heart attack or cancer than dementia. Under my Supreme Leadership Britain will become a global force once more - especially when Boris Johnson has been moved on from his post as Foreign Secretary. Under my Supreme Leadership smiling will be permitted between the hours of 4pm and 6pm - extended to 7pm on Sundays and bank holidays. Be under no illusions, the way ahead will be hard at times. But I alone can provide the strong and stable leadership the country so desperately needs. A vote for anyone but me is a betrayal of our country.
God only knows what his UKIP 'digest' is going to be like! (Dis-Craceful I'd guess).


  1. Talking of unbiased satire, Newsnight's Steve "I'm much funnier in my imagination than I am in reality" Smith could only mock one party's slogan on his big red which did he choose? No prizes there..."Strong and stable except in high winds" it read. Could have read "For the Marxists, who are few". Or "Chance Britain's Future". But there could only be one slogan that was ever going to be used.

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