Policy Officer Luke Nicholas writes:
Cymru X has recently gone through the process of preparing a policy document, which we will distribute across Wales and hopefully start some good debate about how young people can move this country forward. In writing the document we had to research the policies of other parties. As far as we could learn, no other youth movement in Wales has a proper manifesto or set of policies, so we are breaking ground there. But of the mainstream parties that could actually wield power, the Tories are unsurprisingly still hawking a set of divisive and elitist policies at both national and UK level. Scratch the surface and there is alot we can disagree with and that we need to expose as the likelihood of a UK Tory government draws nearer. This series of blog posts will hopefully shine a light on what is lurking beneath the veneer of Tory dynamism, as well as providing a regular moment of gratitude for even the limited devolution settlement we have right now.
The Tories are all about spin and 'modernisation' at the moment, but what of the substance? What kind of beast are we facing?
Firstly, the Tories have, like sheep, supported all of the worst excesses of the New Labour administrations at Westminster. Their one good position- scrapping ID cards, is obscured by a symbiosis with New Labour over their blatant support for both the failed conquests Afghanistan and Iraq, renewing Trident at a cost of billions, privatising chunks of the welfare system, slashing the amount of money given to the devolved administrations, promoting elitist academies, foundation hospitals, and a trimmed down public sector that won't be able to help any of our vulernable people and will struggle to actually run the government.
The Tories have consistently supported a public services agenda which prioritises 'choice' as its key aim. So if you can't afford to choose which hospital to go to you can basically get stuffed under the Tory agenda. For most people in society the most important thing about health services is that they are free at the point of use. The Tory appeal is to a smaller but influential layer of people who are able to pay to go to a different hospital than their local one, to make an unpleasant choice to avoid 'dodgy' hospitals who would, under Tory plans, be penalised rather than helped if they are not meeting standards. To top it off, nutters from the fringes of the Conservative party are currently touring the USA trying to undermine the NHS, which is actually the most popular social institution in the UK and was invented by a Welshman.
With education, they want to let (direct quote from their policy site) "charities, livery companies, existing school federations, not-for-profit trusts, co-operatives and groups of parents to set up new schools in the state sector". This is simply unacceptable. How could such organisations have the structural discipline and ethos to stick to the National Curriculum? Which 'groups of parents' do you think will be able to set up new schools? Rich ones of course! Under such a system the tried-and-tested comprehensive school will be at risk of being left behind. Thank goodness for devolution- which they still won't commit to fully supporting. Do you see why?
In our next installment of 'the Vile Tory Menace' i'll look at their 'social justice' policies and what they would mean for Wales.