Earlier this month – it feels a very long time ago now – we surveyed members on what they thought of various potential policies for the then-anticipated Conservative manifesto.
Their response seemed to auger well for the Prime Minister to win a mandate for what we supposed ‘Mayism’ might look like: strong support for Brexit, NATO, tax breaks for the lowest paid, infrastructure investment, human rights reform (were ever she minded to take it up), as well as grammars, technical education and even an industrial policy.
Obviously since then we’ve had the launch of said manifesto, which has not gone well. In our final survey of the election we then asked for members’ views on some of the policies which were actually in it. The full list is below.
Near the top of the list is support for May’s “no deal is better than a bad deal” position on the EU negotiations. Lest Tory members look like total hardliners, however, in the second rank of popularity we find the idea paying to opt-in to various “specific European programmes” on a case by case basis.
Other very popular policies include introducing First Past the Post for mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections, and declining to proceed with statutory press regulation under ‘Leveson Two’, and in the rank below that we find pro-patient NHS reforms, a change to the qualifications for overseas aid spending, and funding reform for technical education.
Tellingly, however, those policies which involve interfering in the economy, or the operation of private businesses, are clustered at the bottom of the scoresheet, alongside the climate change and overseas aid commitments.
Ideas such as forcing companies to publish pay gap data, workers’ representation, and the energy price cap are all amongst the lowest-ranked policies in the manifesto.
As we wrote yesterday, May and Nick Timothy haven’t yet managed to supplant Margaret Thatcher as members’ preferred vision of Conservatism. If the polls really have narrowed as dramatically as some companies are suggesting, they likely never will.
Just two weeks ago, our editor wrote that the Prime Minister was “chancing her arm” by deliberately alienating the Party’s libertarian and economically liberal wings. After all, there would come a day when her honeymoon ended and she needed their votes to get her legislation through. It looks as if that day could be much sooner than anybody expected. It could even, possibly, be June 9th.
- 8.49 “We will legislate to ensure that a form of identification must be presented before voting, to reform postal voting and to improve other aspects of the elections process to ensure that our elections are the most secure in the world.”
- 8.43 “The [Brexit] negotiations will undoubtedly be tough, and there will be give and take on both sides, but we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK.”
- 8.01 “Given the comprehensive nature of the first stage of the Leveson Inquiry and given the lengthy investigations by the police and Crown Prosecution Service into alleged wrongdoing, we will not proceed with the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry”
- 7.68 “We will hold NHS England’s leaders to account for delivering their plan to improve patient care…we will review the operation of the internal market and [by April 2018] will make non-legislative changes to remove barriers to the integration of care.”
- 7.63 “We will introduce a new GP contract to help develop wider primary care services.”
- 7.60 “There may be specific European programmes in which we might want to participate and if so, it will be reasonable that we make a contribution.”
- 7.45 “To ensure that further, technical and higher education institutions are treated fairly, we will also launch a major review of funding across tertiary education as a whole.”
- 7.34 “We do not believe international definitions of development assistance always help in determining how money [is] spent…we will work with like-minded countries to change the rules…If that does not work, we will change the law to…a better definition”
- 7.19 “We will ensure that child victims and victims of sexual violence are able to be cross-examined before their trial without the distress of having to appear in court.”
- 6.95 “We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing.”
- 6.48 “People have long talked about the need to create UK sovereign wealth funds. We will now make this a central part of our long-term plan for Britain. We will create a number of such funds, known as Future Britain funds.”
- 5.95 “We will grant a free vote, on a government bill in government time, to give parliament the opportunity to decide the future of the Hunting Act.”
- 5.78 “We will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while…Brexit is underway but will consider our human rights legal framework [after Brexit]. We will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the…next Parliament.”
- 5.67 “We will push forward with our plan for tackling hate crime committed on the basis of religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.”
- 5.62 “We will align…means-testing for domiciliary [social] care with that for residential care…we will introduce a single capital floor, set at £100,000…we will extend the current freedom to defer payments…to those receiving care at home.”
- 5.45 “Overseas students will remain in the immigration statistics – in line with international definitions – and within scope of the government’s policy to reduce annual net migration.”
- 5.36 “We will strengthen the enforcement of equalities law – so that private landlords and businesses who deny people a service on the basis of ethnicity, religion or gender are properly investigated and prosecuted.”
- 5.27 “A new Conservative Government will seek to increase the National Living Wage to 60 per cent of earnings by 2020 and then by the rate of median earnings.”
- 5.07 “We will legislate to mandate changes in police practices if ’stop and search’ does not become more targeted and ’stop to arrest’ ratios do not improve.”
- 4.98 “We will continue to take a lead in global action against climate change, as the government demonstrated by ratifying the Paris Agreement.”
- 4.51 “We will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish more data on the pay gap between men and women.”
- 4.24 “Listed companies will be required either to nominate a director from the workforce, create a formal employee advisory council or assign specific responsibility for employee representation to a designated non-executive director.”
- 4.25 “We will introduce a safeguard [energy] tariff cap that will extend the price protection currently in place for some vulnerable customers to more customers on the poorest value tariffs.”
- 3.90 “We will maintain the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on assistance to developing nations and international emergencies.”
- 3.80 “We will also ask large employers to publish information on the pay gap for people from different ethnic backgrounds.”