First of all, apologies for not posting in months - A levels are soon and they tend to take up my life. Since as of yesterday I'm of voting age, I thought I should probably check the two manifestos out.
The Conservative Party manifesto; plain on the cover, but inside of it something else. For too long, "they are all the same" has controlled the mainstream argument (as has "the Tories haven't changed", blah blah). The manifesto today, for me, disproved it. It shows a distinct difference between the Labour approach and the Conservative approach; Labour favour the big government solution, while the Conservatives look for less government, power to people, the responsibility approach, and yes LibDems, the DIY approach!
That is inherently the conservative way. For too long, and for 13 years under New Labour, government has grown larger and larger, inheriting roles that people and society should have taken up, taking more people on to the payroll, be it the bloated public sector, the expansion of tax credits to the middle classes, and whatever else - and taking away these things seems politically unthinkable. We have a new interest group that, ignoring economics and the basics of opportunity cost, has been paid to support this larger state. And it's time that it changed, we got back to a British model, where government does less and people do more.
And for all the "One Nation" talk of this, it suits the libertarian-conservative Welshman in this corner. Though I have my qualms with some of the training "community organisers", protecting NHS spending and whatnot, there are some inherently conservative things in this manifesto. Take free schools (which should settle a few votes), freeing schools up, taking away the targets and looking for diversity and innovation - what's wrong with the postcode lottery if it leads to us finding a better way? I'm not sure how much there's a link between government and society in this manifesto, and I'm hoping they are made quite separate, but for people to do more and to organise themselves without government is certainly something I can support. A model of individuals controlling their own lives and doing things themselves, without government pretending it's a charity, organiser, planner, or anything else? Fantastic.
I was concerned that we'd lost conservative principles, that Cameron wasn't a conservative, and so on. Seeing this manifesto today, however much I'd like to see some of the main policies highlighted in there (but that's just a presentation issue), I know quite clearly who I should vote for. This manifesto should win the election; it sets out a different vision for the future. Whether people see that, overcome their prejudices, the "all the same" nonsense, fringe parties and so on, will probably decide this election.