Election: Leaflet Fact Check & Analysis: Pauline Latham
All the parties put out election leaflets, but how much in them is actually true when examined? First we are looking at our incumbent MP’s campaign leaflets.
Party Side of Main Leaflet
A Stark Choice?
“Your choice at this election is stark” – no it isn’t, this is setting the parameters within which they want voters to think. You still have 4 options, with a variety of different considerations for each. It is not either/or.
For that stark decision, only 2 options, with imagined scenarios, are laid out. The Conservative Party cannot say, even if they do get a majority government, how democratic debate and voting will go. “Get Brexit done” is a phrase which doesn’t have any meaning. In reality Brexit will not be “done” any time soon. If they can vote Mr. Johnson’s deal through parliament, the people of the UK will be dealing with the consequences for a long time to come, and deals, arrangements, laws, and all the things that people who want a “stark choice” between two propagandised scenarios think can happen with a click of the fingers, will all take years to sort out. A trade deal averages 5 years to be “done” and then continues to be worked on. There is nothing in politics which is “done”. The entire thrust of Brexit is to undo things which were already agreed (largely by the Conservative Party itself). The Conservative Party has taken years to fail to progress with Brexit, mostly because it is far too big an undertaking to do in a hasty way.
The Threat Of Corbyn and a Hung Parliament
Attacking other parties is not speaking about oneself. It is a fear mongering tactic. This is a party line which is trying to scare people. It is a weak argument which says, ” the reason to vote for me is not because I am good for you and will offer you things you want, but whooooo scary bogeyman. At least I’m not the bogeyman.” This is called gaslighting and control. It tells an imagined possibility of the future designed to scare you into doing what they want. It is a tactic used in psychological abuse – “you can’t leave me without being punished.”
A hung parliament is, however, a strong possibility, because that is what is normal in most nations. It is not a failure, or a situation to be feared. A hung parliament means that more debate occurs, more negotiation to make choices work for different political persuasions occurs, and no single ideology can force its way through, trampling over the rest. The commonality of our single party majorities is entirely down to our use of the First Past The Post system, which is largely viewed across the world as an unfair system resulting in non-representative governments – a minority of total voters get their way by means of the FPTP system. It also encourages the adversarial two party focus which we see here. In democracies across the world coalitions are more common.
There is no indication, at this point, of whose favour a hung parliament would go in. It depends on alliances between parties, either in coalition, or with a minority government which has the backing of votes from another party. The fear, for the Conservatives, is that they will not get support to form a government from any other party. The DUP will demand a bribe, and a promise of no hard border. The Brexit Party is not expected to do well in this election.
40 new hospitals – the manifesto pledges 40 new hospitals over 10 years. 10 years is double the length of a term of office. So this promise extends beyond the term they could be elected for and relies on getting elected again. How many are they really committed to building in ONE term of office? ZERO! The promise for the first five years is to fund development of 6 existing hospitals. We already have those hospitals. The rest of the promise is to give 21 existing NHS trusts £100m between them to work out business plans that will enable them to secure funding. This is likely to be to improve existing hospitals, not to build new ones. Money has been allocated to 2 projects (upgrades of existing facilities), and the other 4 don’t know what is happening. There is no money offered for building any new hospitals or promised to any of the trusts who will be paid to make business plans only.
At the same time the Conservatives promised 50,000 more nurses. The NHS is down 40,000 nurses at present. The shortage is due to NHS cuts, the ending of the nursing bursary in 2016 (which they have said they will give back) and the “hostile environment” and alienation of the foreign workforce which the NHS relies on. The Conservative party is responsible for all of those things happening. So they’ve lost us 40,000 nurses and promise 50,000 new nurses. So that’s still good at 10,000 more, despite the lie of how many more it is, right? Wrong. We now know that 19,000 of these are already nurses, and they are just going to try not to lose them. They do not count as new nurses, or against the nursing deficit – they are working right now, saving lives. So that leaves a plan for 31,000 new nurses. 40,000 – 31,000 = 9000. We will still have 9000 FEWER nurses than we are meant to have. There is also no guarantee of whether these nurses will be full time.
Of course, they have hinged this on getting a “majority”. So if they don’t get one, you don’t get 6 hospital upgrades, and 9000 too few nurses anyway. You aren’t voting for a majority, you are voting for ONE seat.
20,000 more police officers. This is 20,000 more than were left after they sacked 21,000 police in cuts. So it’s still 1000 less than we had in 2010.
Control of Immigration
We have always had and still have the power to control immigration. We have never given away the power to control immigration, nor has anyone taken it from us. It’s a catchphrase used to rope in racists and economic illliterates who don’t know how things work. We currently have too few immigrants to pick our food (because Brits won’t take that work) and tend our sick, leading to food rotting in the fields, and a severely understaffed NHS. Immigrants increasingly don’t want to come here. But even if they do, when the climate crisis and war create more uninhabitable places, we still always have the power to control immigration, if we choose to. We have, as a nation, always chosen to control it by various measures. If the claim is that we aren’t doing it now, why not? This is the party who is currently in power, and nobody objects to controlling immigration, they just have different ideas on how we control it and to what extent. We do control immigration. We control it to measures chosen by the Conservative party.
Why don’t families have economic certainty now?
Brexit offers the greatest economic uncertainty since the Global Financial Crisis (which was caused by banks not by any administration of UK government), which the British public have been told they are paying back with austerity. How much of the £550billion bailout we gave the banks to keep them going (because the banks are intrinsic to governmental function) has been paid back? None. Whilst telling us that everything they were cutting was so that they could pay that money back, they spent all those savings and increased the national debt from £960 billion in April 2010 to £1.82 trillion in 2019. The national debt has increased £700 million in just 3 months from 17th July to 18th October. A quarter of UK government debt is owed to the UK government itself. Another quarter is owed overseas. The rest is owed to people and institutions in the UK. But in reality we don’t actually have to worry about it at all. All countries operate in the same way of lending themselves money and keeping those I.O.Us or selling them, mostly to rich British people and companies who then get regular money from those gilts (I.O.Us). But the Conservative Party focused everyone on it, as their excuse to not pay for police officers and nurses and lunches for poor kids at school in the form of Austerity.
So nobody has any money because of austerity and the economic uncertainty, caused by the Global Financial Crisis, and then by nobody knowing what Brexit will cause, remains.
What happens when Brexit makes our economy even smaller? We can still sell arms but engineering and financial instituations are all leaving, and we don’t grow most of our own food, and our fishing areas are about to be vastly reduced, and house prices are going to go up, and interest rates will rise, and the pound – which has gone down in value with every mistake – will be worth less than a Euro, and there is absolutely no plan at all for how we the people are going to be affected and cope with the uncertainty of what uncertainty will entail. The one thing Brexit will not bring is “an end to the uncertainty.” The reality here looks to be the reverse of what is claimed.
Further (not higher) Education
£1 billion rebuilding programs for further education establishments. This follows a decade of underfunding of F.E. schools, again giving back less than has been taken away.
No government on the planet is doing enough to combat climate chaos. A handful of nations are setting some good examples on what can be done, but also have other projects which counteract the effect of those. Politicians are doing very little more than speaking more words.
This manifesto focus on offshore wind is coupled here with a photo of onshore wind, which is a cheaper option which is not being promised. Onshore wind has been stymied by previous Conservative governments making planning permission nigh on impossible. There is no mention of solar or hydro-electric power, whose incentives have been removed by the Conservative administration. The incentive scheme on insulation of homes to reduce carbon emissions was also canned, resulting in lower levels of insulation, with the consequence of non-lowered carbon emissions. Money has been assigned to insulation in the new manifesto, but not in detail.
Pauline Latham supported fracking in this area, which perpetuates fossil fuel use, poisons the water table and makes the earth shake out earthquakes. They have PAUSED fracking during the election to make this claim. If they meant it, that stop would be permanent. Fracking will exacerbate the climate crisis. Continuing as we are, with non-disruptive changes, will not help in the climate crisis. Saying “climate change” does nothing.
Electric car charging infrastructure is important, although there then arises the question of who runs and profits from that infrastructure, because the electric utilities are not nationalised, so the government is not going to be the entity which profits from them. This does nothing to address the cost of the vehicles and transitioning the nation over to electric vehicles. Electric vehicles only make a positive ecological difference if the means of electricity production is entirely renewable and low polluting (not nuclear). No promises are made to limit production of non-electric vehicles, to encourage affordability of electric vehicles, to transition the nation over, to maintain roads with electric vehicles in mind, or to guarantee a 100% renewable source of energy for that infrastructure. Without the completely carbon free electricity production, electric cars are no different to any other energy use – it adds to the climate problem.
Business Research Pledge
Back business with investment in research – this is quite deceptive. The agency suggested is for “high risk, high payoff” research. It will be funded by some of the money that is meant to increase funding of science. High risk means that there is a higher chance of failure than success, but that any successes will make a lot of money.
Otherwise they cancelled cuts to corporation tax and are just reducing national insurance and increasing employment allowance for small businesses, so small businesses will have less taken off them, but will pay 19% corporation tax. They intend to review business rates, but this is just research and offers no definite result. They could go down, they could go up.
Reducing immigration with an Australian style points system. This system is widely condemned. This is a UKIP stance, and one assumes that it is designed to appeal to UKIP/Brexit Party voters. They have not consulted the Migration Advisory Committee on this pledge. Priti Patel did ask the committee to look into the reviled points system. but they have no recommendations or analysis yet. This plan is actually harsher than the harsh Australian system, because Australia does not require migrants to have a high paid job offer.
Jeremy Corbyn is not promising uncontrolled immigration. This is an outright lie.
Labour Spending Lie
Spending on the country will not weaken the economy. Commonly, spending, and people being happier and struggling less, with reliable services tends to lead to a more stable economy because people feel more secure in their own spending. Our national borrowing and debt is nowhere near as high as it was when the UK built the welfare state and the NHS, nor is it as high as many other nations who did not employ austerity and have good economies. The Conservative claim that the Labour manifesto pledges will cost £1.2 trillion is made up. The Labour manifesto had not been released when the Conservative Party started making this claim. The Conservative Party used the 2017 Labour manifesto, which is not the same as the 2019 manifesto and then made up figures, many of which seem to include double costing. Experts cannot rationalise how they reached this projection, which is invalid anyway due to guessing at what would be spent on. This is a very poor quality estimate based on guessing what Labour would include in its manifesto. It is a lie.
“The Conservatives will always react fastest in a crisis.” We would invite evidence for this claim. Every government gets crises, but only one government gets to react to each uniquely detailed crisis. There is no contest where equivalent measuring can occur. Grants for flood victims amount to a maximum of £5000 per household or business for the sole purpose of protecting them from future flooding. That’s better than nothing but those households are suffering to a greater extent than that, and they cannot get insurance. Reacting well to this specific crisis would have involved working with communities to get them what they need to deal with the current flood damage. and providing a way for them to be insured, as well as defences.
Candidate Side of Main Leaflet
These are claims about Pauline Latham’s actions.
NHS – Pauline Latham voted against restricting the provision of private service on the NHS, and voted in favour of changing the NHS to allow GPs to buy services. These changes have led to the controversial issues of some treatments being offered at a cost, and increasing numbers of private contracts for services.
Business – Pauline does speak with and support local initiatives and businesses. Not all of them, but selected ones.
Plastic and Local Inititiatives – Pauline has spoken against single use plastic. Transition Belper issued a statement about Pauline’s use of their cause in this campaign.
Minimum Wage – The increase in minimum wage promised will reach £10.50 in 2026. They are only elected until 2024, so it will not reach £10.50 during this term. Labour promise £10ph by 2022, the Green Party promise a Living Wage of £12ph, and the Lib Dems are going to research what a Living Wage should be. This use of “living wage” means a wage that is comfortable to live on without struggling, and is unrelated to the name chosen for the Conservative’s voluntary option for employers to pay employees £9.30ph. The minimum wage will not increase to £10.50 during this term of government. This is misleading.
Historic and Green Belt Campaigning – Pauline has campaigned to protect historic sites, but the local green belt groups have not had her help. The campaigns she was involved with (Bullsmoor and Belper Lane) were heritage locations within the buffer zone. One of the two contained a small section of green belt, but these were fought on the basis of history and World Heritage Status, not protecting green belt. Her house was built on green belt land. Pauline spoke on this issue at our hustings. She was mistaken in how the local plan works, and what the old plan contained. Amber Valley Borough has not had a fully active local plan since 2006. She claims that cancelling the old Conservative created plan endangers Belper, but the cancellation did not alter the situation as it was under the previous administration, until AVBC rapidly secured the housing supply required to allow them to deny development. With that secured, the green belt is protected and the rule is in place to deny development. The old plan endangered rather than protected green belt, so favouring that one is baffling if one wants to protect green belt. She has attacked the cost of doing a new plan, but the truth is that councils are always doing a new plan. When one is complete and in effect, the next one starts to be worked on. This means that councils are always paying to create a plan. Pauline’s campaign team is composed of councillors and ex-councillors who created the plan which offered the green belt up for building on.
Another leaflet containing some of the same campaign material:
All party/candidate leaflets will be fact checked and analysed. This series will continue tomorrow.
Other campaign material will also be analysed, as will the voting record of the incumbent MP.
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2 thoughts on “Election: Leaflet Fact Check & Analysis: Pauline Latham”
I was thinking this morning of the number of promises the Tories have made in recent years which have then not materialised. We are told it’s because we have Prime Minister Boris but he is not a president: he merely communicates a party policy which has magically changed with the election
Good article – one fact check – the 2006 Local Plan may be well out of date in many ways but is not completely inactive. It remains valid for consideration in some aspects of planning applications until it is replaced. Pauline Latham made the same mistake in the hustings – very surprising from someone who has been involved in local politics as an MP and a councillor for decades.
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