Tory National Insurance promise has very nasty sting in its tail for low paid

“… There are, though, tax cuts in the form of a rise in the threshold for national insurance contributions (NICs) from £8,632 to £9,500. This will equate to a saving of around £100 a year for 31 million workers who earn above that amount.

Longer term, the Conservative Party describes rising the NICs threshold to £12,500 as its “ultimate ambition”. This would result in a tax cut of £500 for workers who earn more than £12,500.

There may be unintended consequences for some, points out Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon. He notes: “This will be welcomed by many as a boost to take-home pay.

However, under current rules, those not paying any NI lose out on credits towards their state pension. Individuals need 35 years of qualifying NICs to receive the full state pension with those with fewer qualifying years seeing a reduction and receive none if they have fewer than 10 years of credits.”

“Tory election materials put through East Devon doors have been made to look like a newspaper, with one resident saying he thought it was a council publication”


“The booklet is titled ‘East Devon Future’ and although it appears to have the imprints required by electoral law, the party’s name is not prominently displayed on the front.

Conservative HQ came under fire last week for changing its Twitter branding to ‘factcheckUK’ during the ITV leaders’ debate.

Dr Martyn Cutmore, who lives in Sidmouth, said the ‘fake newspaper’ arrived at his address on Monday (November 25) and likened it to the Twitter controversy.

Dr Cutmore said he initially thought it was a publication by the district council.

“It’s not what I would call fair electioneering practices,” he said.

“If you study it minutely you might find in 1mm-high white-on-red background details of the provenance.

“The reader is not intended to find this without careful scrutiny and most people will accept this document on face value as an official East Devon communication.”

He said it is misleading and described it as going ‘under the radar’.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “This type of literature is commonly used by parties up and down the country and meets all the relevant laws and guidelines.

“It’s a useful way to highlight our excellent East Devon candidate, Simon Jupp, and update local residents on our plans to get Brexit done and focus on people’s priorities like the NHS, schools and policing.”

The material features articles by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and East Devon Conservative candidate Simon Jupp.

An East Devon District Council spokesman said: “As far as we can tell from the copy we have seen there is an imprint explaining who the document is printed and published by, so it is for recipients to make their own judgement on the document.

“It does not appear to contravene electoral requirements and is not an official East Devon District Council document.”

The full list of East Devon Parlimentary Candidates is: Peter Faithfull (Independent), Henry Gent (Green Party), Simon Jupp (The Conservative Party), Eleanor Rylance (Liberal Democrats – To stop Brexit) Dan Wilson (The Labour Party candidate) and Claire Wright (Independent).”

“BBC acknowledges ‘mistake’ in Boris Johnson editing”

Fascinating that this article comes under the BBC’s “arts and entertainment” heading and NOT politics!

The BBC has said editing footage of Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a news bulletin was “a mistake on our part”.

The Prime Minister appeared on Question Time: Leaders Special on BBC One on Friday evening.

The audience laughed when he was asked a question about how important it is for people in power to tell the truth.

But the laughter and subsequent applause was absent from a cut-down version of the exchange on a lunchtime news bulletin the following day.

“This clip from the BBC’s Question Time special, which was played out in full on the News at Ten on Friday evening and on other outlets, was shortened for timing reasons on Saturday’s lunchtime bulletin, to edit out a repetitious phrase from Boris Johnson,” the BBC said in a statement.

“However, in doing so we also edited out laughter from the audience. Although there was absolutely no intention to mislead, we accept this was a mistake on our part, as it didn’t reflect the full reaction to Boris Johnson’s answer.

“We did not alter the soundtrack or image in any way apart from this edit, contrary to some claims on social media.”

On the original programme, an audience member asked the prime minister: “How important is it for someone in your position of power to always tell the truth?”

There was laughter and applause from the audience as Mr Johnson answered: “I think it’s absolutely vital.”

Mr Johnson then repeated the sentence once the laughter and applause had died down.

The second version was the one used in the BBC’s News at One bulletin on Saturday.

The BBC originally explained that the Saturday edit was “shortened for time reasons” in reply to a tweet later the same day, although did not acknowledge it was a mistake at that point.

The BBC’s statement follows an error on BBC Breakfast last month when out-of-date footage of Mr Johnson laying a wreath was broadcast due to “a production mistake”.

Left-wing newspaper points out Swire’s extra income as MP

Will Swire find some nice part-time job for Jupp if he succeeds him? Will Dominic Raab (to whom he is said to be an adviser, though parlianmentary records do not show this) give his SPAD a leg up? As Swire organised Raab’s attempt for the Tory Leadership will they perhaps both offer Jupp their help?

Might we see even less of Jupp than Swire (if that’s possible?).

“TOP Tories stand to collectively lose more than £2.5 million a year under Labour’s plan to stop MPs moonlighting for extra money, the Morning Star can reveal.

Labour’s manifesto has set out plans to “tackle vested interests” in British politics — including a pledge to “stop MPs from taking paid second jobs” with limited exemptions to maintain professional registrations like nursing.

The move would hit around a fifth of Tory MPs, according to the Star’s analysis of the register of MPs’ interests.
More than 50 were topping up their £79,468 salaries with permanent second jobs on which they spent a combined 9,500 hours a year. …

… Mark Pritchard and Hugo Swire were also managing to hold down an extra four jobs outside of Parliament, making them £77,880 per annum and £104,996 (almost half of it in shares) respectively. …”

Tory “manifesto” – “transactional not transformative “

“Theresa May’s manifesto launch two years ago was famously the moment her election campaign imploded. After unveiling her ‘dementia tax’ plans in a marginal Labour seat in West Yorkshire, her poll lead began to evaporate. Instead of gaining seats, she ended up losing them. A few weeks later, her majority went up in smoke.

Every Tory is still scarred by the experience. And, for all his British bulldog bonhomie, Boris Johnson is no exception. So, when it came to his own manifesto launch today (in a marginal Tory seat), caution was the watchword. After May’s hubris in Halifax, what we got was temperance in Telford.

Even the timing of the launch, on a soggy Sunday with the public’s attention elsewhere, felt deliberately low-key, and risk-free. Johnson’s speech was short (a mere 15 minutes) and his manifesto was brief too (59 pages and many of those had big print and big photos). Its contents were as safe as an episode of Antiques Roadshow. What was remarkable was how unremarkable it was.

Johnson twice used the phrase “sensible, moderate One Nation Conservatism”. Sensible is not a word you’d normally associate with the self-styled swashbuckler of the Tory party. If felt like this great gambler, having bet his career on a December election, was doing everything he could to avoid any slip-ups that could leave him as one of the shortest-lived prime ministers in our history.

In spending terms, this blueprint for government paled in comparison to Labour’s splurge. It would increase spending by a mere £2.9bn per year by 2023-24, (Labour’s plan is for £82.9bn over the same period). Compared to recent Tory administrations, there would be more borrowing and more state intervention. The IFS called the fiscal plans ‘very modest’ and the whole thing felt like an Autumn Statement rather than a vision of sunlit uplands.

On the toxic topic of social care, there was no detail at all, despite the fact that this is a huge generational challenge and despite Johnson’s famous summer pledge (“I am announcing now – on the steps of Downing Street – that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared”.) The tax cuts were tepid and the childcare offer was timid. Aides said that only £22bn out of their £100bn ‘headroom’ for spending has been allocated, and hinted more was to come. But no one was splashing the cash today.

Johnson himself tried to claim his would be “a new government, a very active and dynamic government”. Yet when you flick through his blueprint for government for the next five years, this doesn’t feel like a new departure from the May or Cameron eras. In fact, it feels like what it is: a third-term Tory administration that is not exactly brimming with ideas.

Yes more cash for potholes is important, but it still sounded as exciting as John Major’s motorway cones hotline. The ‘Australian-style points-based immigration system’ had virtually no detail. There’s no big bang to tackle the housing crisis, and (as future generations may remember most of all) nothing radical to tackle the climate emergency.

The contrast between the piecemal prospectus today and Johnson’s flamboyant usual rhetorical flourishes was striking. On today’s evidence, to paraphrase the insult once lobbed at Clement Attlee, he’s an immodest man with much to be modest about.

Of course, Johnson is undeniably a better salesman than May ever was. The usual gags were there (“let’s go carbon neutral by 2050 and Corbyn neutral by Christmas!” “Bonjour monsieur Corbyn comment allez vous?”), plus the linguistic gymnastics (in Telford 200 years ago “the phlegethontian fires of Coalbrookdale created the first industrial revolution”). There was also some neat phrasemaking (“from free trade to free speech to the freedom to love whomsoever you choose”).

He even tried his best to do The Vision Thing. “I want you to imagine what the country could be like in just 10 years,” he said. In fact he said “in ten years’ time” (scientists would benefit from more R&D cash, we’d have 40 new hospitals, the UK would still be the UK) so many times that it felt like this was a prospectus for a two-term, not a one-term, prime minister.

One reason Johnson likes talking about the future is because it’s so much easier for him than talking about the past. Holding an election before delivering Brexit has turned out to be an inspired move, simultaneously keeping attention on Corbyn’s confusing position while stressing only the Tories can get it ‘done’.

As many times as he says he’s only been PM for three months, in many places the manifesto only reverses cuts made in the past 10 years. From replacing 20,000 police officers to restoring the student nurse bursary, Johnson is hoping the public will forget he signed up to austerity as both an MP and as a member of the Cabinet. His sense of political responsibility feels like a Westminster remix of Shaggy’s ‘It Wasn’t Me’. Vowing never to extend the UK’s transition period beyond 2020 may prove to be a mistake, but that’s not his pressing concern. Winning this election is.

Simon Fletcher, Ken Livingstone’s former chief of staff, is someone who knows better than most how effective Johnson is as a politician. He warned earlier this year that Johnson “will obfuscate, avoid accountability, brazenly steal policies, play to the gallery and close down as many attack lines as he can.” And the Tory 2019 manifesto does all of those things.

It steals policies like free hospital parking (both from Labour itself and Tory backbencher Rob Halfon) and more nurses, albeit watered down version of both. It plays to the gallery on immigration and crime. It tries to shut down the NHS and schools cuts rows that caused Tories to lose seats two years ago. As with the Boris Bus £350m pledge, there’s less to many of the promises than meets the eye (50,000 ‘more nurses’ turns out to include current staff, just like 40 new hospitals means six fully funded projects).

Two years ago, Theresa May got indignant when asked whether her manifesto was a variation of Thatcherism. “There is no May-ism,” she said sternly. There is no ‘Borisism’ either. In fact the phrase is used to describe his one-liners, his scripted ‘unscripted’ gaffes, his un-PC jokes, rather than a political philosophy,.
But if there is a Johnsonism, it’s as old as conservatism itself: a recognition that Britons prefer evolution to revolution.

The Conservative party also has a knack for renewing itself in office as well as out of it. Johnson chose the seat of Leave-voting Telford today because it is a marginal the Tories hope to turn into a safe seat. But he also hopes to take nearby Labour seats in Stoke, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.

That’s the most important point about the Tory manifesto. It’s not transformational, it’s transactional. It offers an ‘oven ready’ Brexit to Labour Leavers, ‘no extension’ to Nigel Farage and slowly-does-it spending for everyone tired of austerity. And for a nation exhausted by the past three years, and those who just want to get on with their Christmas shopping, it may work.”

Source: Paul Waugh: Huffington Post

Questions for the Tory candidate as he rushes around East Devon

Claire Wright has been clear with her manifesto – protecting what is best about East Devon, standing up for the NHS am]nd social care, conserving the environment and improving education and inequality.

Click to access GEManifesto2019FINAL5.pdf

Unfortunately, the Conservative Party has not been so clear.
Other party manifestos are unimportant in East Devon.

A vote for anyone other than Claire Wright is a vote for the Tories.

Our parachuted-in, Tory apparatchik candidate is throwing himself around the constituency like a whirling dervish (mostly accompanied by the same old 5-6 people – who must be finding it quite tiring) But has anyone asked him these questions and, if so, has he given any answers?

If not, maybe hustings will provide a platform for him to answer.

What do you think of the Tory fake-news “factcheck uk” Twitter account? Is that acceptable?

What do you think of the “50,000 more nurses” which includes 19,000 that you think you might be able to persuade NOT to leave? Is this acceptable?

What do you think about the “20,000 more police” when you got rid of 21,000. Is this acceptable?

What do you think of the “60 new hospitals” when itis actually only 6 – the others to get minimal funding to plan new hospitals, not build them? Is this acceptable?

Why has social care been left out of the manifesto? Is this acceptable?

All the above is said to be taking 10 years to achieve – if at all? Is this acceptable?

“Boris Johnson under fire over ‘vague’ social care funding plans”

Yet millions of over 65’s will vote for them over an issue (Brexit) that will affect their children and grandchildren much more than them, and where those people often have very different views to them. THIS, and the state of the NHS, should be their main worry.

“Nicky Morgan has defended Boris Johnson over his decision to shelve plans to overhaul social care funding in the Conservatives’ manifesto launch.

The Conservative party has pledged to allocate an extra £1bn a year for the social care sector as part of a cautious manifesto, while guaranteeing that no one should have to sell their home to meet the costs.

But it falls short of Johnson’s rallying cry on the steps of Downing Street when he took office, claiming “we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all … with a clear plan we have prepared”.

Theresa May was forced into a U-turn when her 2017 manifesto social care plan was labelled a “dementia tax”, and Johnson has now committed only to saying the party will “build a cross-party consensus” on how it should be funded in the long term.

Sir Andrew Dilnot, the former chair of the commission on funding of care and support, said the Tory plans were “very vague”. And the head of a thinktank has said Johnson’s pledge is too little to plug the gap needed to cater for the country’s ageing population. …”