1st – Andy Burnham
2nd – Jane Brophy
But how does Stephen Morris of the English Democrats stand up? Let’s have a look at his manifesto and see.
Stephen or, it seems, Ste, is the North-West Chairman for the English Democrats Party, and also the General Secretary for the Workers of England Trade Union. From a quick scan of his website, it seems that he’s taken a lot of aim at Labour’s Andy Burnham, taking part in a lot of “Look at how much more I love England than this guy!”.
The difficulty for a lot of people here will be that “English Democrats” has already set them up to think of this guy as pretty racist, with the St. George’s cross backing doing him no favours. Mind you, “Local jobs for local people” also doesn’t help. Personally, I don’t think there’s racism in that. But there is definitely a section of the voting population in Greater Manchester who will construe it like that. On a side note, I think it’s interesting that I went to tackle the “possible racist” issue first off before giving his ideas a chance. I don’t know what conclusion to draw from that, perhaps it’s just trying to mention the big white and red elephant in the room before getting properly going.
He leads off with the “personal letter” to the voter, with the “personal” signature, akin to his Labour opponent. Instantly he tries to make himself known as a man of the people, and not only that, but a man of the Greater Manchester people. A man who is, unabashedly, a Manchester lad.
In his opening letter he makes some big claims. He “knows what it takes for businesses to survive” and “how to tackle the child poverty, deprivation and homelessness spreading across our area under Labour”. He doesn’t mention how he knows that, or how he thinks those could be done. But he’s done well in gripping you in to read on. He obviously likes a bit of mystery.
Looking at the 2nd page, with his key points, something stands out that annoys my inner “Grammer Nazi”. The syntax he uses for each of his “bulletpoints” is different from the next. Very annoying. He has some good ideas, mind you. In short:
- Health and social care – Free hospital parking, care units set up to take the homeless off the streets of Greater Manchester, and tuition fees paid for local students willing to work in NHS for 5 years after graduation
- Local Transport – No road tax, more bus routes, no peak fares, tram fares frozen for 4 years, free travel for pensioners and 16-18 year olds before 9:30am
- Sustainable planning – No building on greenbelt sites, no fracking, 70-80% of new housing is affordable, industrial units to have car parks built underneath instead of on the surface
- Accountable police – Zero tolerance policy to political correctness in policing, red tape cut to get “”bobbies” back on the beat”, laws of England enforced without fear or favour
See? Good ideas. Free hospital parking is a no-brainer for me, and a lot of people. I’d love there to be no peak fares, and I’m not a fan of fracking. But, he leaves his most contentious point to the last. There’s an underlying “here we go” sort of feeling to his last one. Race had to rear its ugly head at some point and, though it’s not blatantly stated, it’s pretty clear that he’s referring to a perceived favouritism towards the black and foreign communities of Greater Manchester? Is there a little bit of a heavier hand used with the “indigenous” mancs? Maybe. I don’t really know, having not felt the cold, hard grip of the law on my collar before. Maybe there is, and Stephen Morris is the man to make that stop, and bring equality to Greater Manchester once again.
The overall aura of the manifesto, however, screams “White people first”, whether that’s true of Mr. Morris or not. Still, it’s informative, and contains some good ideas, and fair play to Stephen for being the first to put his own manifesto together. He’s not quite as backable a candidate, for me, as Andy Burnham, from looking at his manifesto, but he gives a better idea of things than Jane Brophy. So, I think he slots nicely into 2nd place.
I’d just like to point out, because you never know who construes what, how. I don’t think Stephen Morris is a racist, nor am I calling him one, in jest or otherwise. Just to clear that up.
Running league table:
1st – Andy Burnham – Labour
2nd – Stephen Morris – English Democrats
3rd – Jane Brophy – Liberal Democrats