CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO LOWDOWN: BIG SOCIETY'S TAKE ON FOREIGN POLICY


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Our task gets longer but no rest for the wicked. The Tory manifesto came in at 130 pages. All that hope, aspiration and fervour can get pretty tiring. Leave it with us.

So, what did the manifesto have in store for foreign policy aside from cute fact boxes about Sweden, Japan, Silicon Valley and uhm…Glasgow? Is the ‘big society’ going to extend as far as Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana? Will more people who are empowered to change their lives in Britain through mean increased motivation to clean up policies which impact other countries?

Jury’s out. On the big foreign policy issues, there really is no big fundamental between the party policies. They all seek to achieve the same goals, in slightly different ways. And as a non-partisan campaign, we also take pleasure in pointing out than green issues is just one of the areas where the parties work best together, one taking the leadership then passing the baton to the other. A lot left to do, but lots interesting competition being generated for the future green economy.

One thing is for sure, this manifesto is for the generation who like to be nudged in the right direction. It’s strong on freedom and choice, and weak on the logical extension that that might actually mean more regulation. So ironically, this manifesto is weakest when it is being most grandiose (and yet, they say, they’re sceptical of “grand utopian schemes”?) and strongest when they’re detailing ideas like MyAidFund, which will allow UK citizens to trace and scrutinise aid donations.

Anyway, we urge you to read the outtakes and get back to us. Any question you want to ask your parliamentary candidates on the back of this? We’ve got a few.

CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO OUTTAKES

INTRODUCTION

In a simple phrase, the change we offer is from big government to Big Society.

So we need fundamental change: from big government that presumes to know best, to the Big Society that trusts in the people for ideas and innovation.

But we will not succeed in building the Big Society, or in building a new economic model, unless we stop government trying to direct everything from the centre.

We need to boost enterprise and develop a low carbon, hi-tech economy. Our exports must grow. We need to get Britain working by creating jobs in the private sector, and we must get better value for money from the public sector.

No government, even a strong and united one, can create a better country alone. It needs individuals, families and businesses pulling alongside.

ENSURE MACROECONOMIC STABILITY

We will match Labour’s spending plans for 2010/11 in overseas aid. Given our commitment to carry out a Strategic Defence and Security Review, it would also not be appropriate to make in-year reductions to the existing defence budget in 2010/11. Savings in these protected areas will be channelled back into frontline services. The net £6 billion of savings will be made from the remaining departmental budgets.

Create a more balanced economy

Our share of world exports has fallen by almost a third. A sustainable recovery must be driven by growth in exports and business investment, and through a better environment for wealth creation.

We will work for the successful conclusion of the Doha trade round and support bilateral free trade negotiations between the European Union (EU) and other countries.

Attract the brightest and best to our country

Immigration today is too high and needs to be reduced. We do not need to attract people to do jobs that could be carried out by British citizens, given the right training and support. So we will take steps to take net migration back to the levels of the 1990s – tens of thousands a year, not hundreds of thousands.

To help achieve this goal, we will introduce a number of measures, such as: setting an annual limit on the number of non- EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work;

• limiting access only to those who will bring the most value to the British economy; and,

• applying transitional controls as a matter of course in the future for all new EU Member States.

In addition, we will promote integration into British society, as we believe that everyone coming to this country must be ready to embrace our core values and become a part of their local community. So there will be an English language test for anyone coming here to get married.

Build a greener economy

We will reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions and increase our share of global markets for low carbon technologies.

Labour have said the right things on climate change, but these have proved little more than warm words. Despite three White Papers, a multitude of strategies and endless new announcements, the UK now gets more of its energy from fossil fuels than it did in 1997.

Our performance on emissions has been criticised by environmental groups and we have the worst record of any major EU nation when it comes to renewable energy. This must change to safeguard Britain and the world’s future. We need to cut our carbon emissions to tackle the challenge of climate change. But the low carbon economy also provides exciting opportunities for British businesses. We will encourage private sector investment to put Britain at the forefront of the green technology revolution, creating jobs and new businesses across the country.

Create a low carbon future

[…] we will create Britain’s first Green Investment Bank – which will draw together money currently
divided across existing government initiatives, leveraging private sector capital to finance new green technology start-ups.

A credible and sustainable price for carbon is vital if we are to see adequate and timely investment in new electricity generation […].

We will reform the Climate Change Levy to provide a floor price for carbon, delivering the right climate for investment in low carbon energy production.

We will increase the proportion of tax revenues accounted for by environmental taxes, ensuring that any additional revenues from new green taxes that are principally designed as an environmental measure to change behaviour are used to reduce the burden of taxation elsewhere.

Combat climate change

We will reduce carbon emissions in line with our international commitments. We will promote
small- and large-scale low carbon energy production, including nuclear, wind, clean coal and
biogas. We will safeguard our energy security by ensuring there is sufficient spare capacity in
the energy system. We will make it easier to go green, including through a ‘Green Deal’ to cut
household energy bills.

Ambitious goals for reducing Emissions

Climate change is a global phenomenon, and that means the world must work together to reduce harmful emissions. A Conservative government will work towards an ambitious global deal that will limit emissions and make available substantial financial resources for adaptation and mitigation.

As part of our commitment to move towards a low carbon future, we can confirm our aim of reducing carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. In government, we will lead from the front by delivering a 10 per cent cut in central government emissions within twelve months and by working with local authorities and others to deliver emissions reductions.

Promote low carbon energy production

The way our energy is produced and transmitted is stuck in the last century. A
Conservative government will transform this ‘dumb’, unresponsive network and create an
‘electricity internet’ – a highly interactive network, based on a new smart grid that will interact with smart meters in people’s homes, to manage supply and demand. This will allow a huge increase in renewable power, and far greater choice for consumers.

To limit harmful emissions from UK power stations, we will take steps to encourage new low carbon energy production, including: introducing an Emissions • Performance Standard to limit the levels of greenhouse gases our power stations produce;

•clearing the way for new nuclear power stations – provided they receive no public subsidy;

• creating four carbon capture and storage equipped plants, taking coal – one of the most polluting fuels of all – and transforming it into a low carbon fuel of the future;

• delivering an offshore electricity grid in order to support the development of a new generation of offshore wind power, and establishing at least two Marine Energy Parks;

• giving local authorities the power to establish new district heating networks which use biogas and other low carbon fuels;

• allowing communities that host renewable energy projects like wind farms to keep the additional business rates they generate for six years; and,

• giving incentives for smaller-scale energy generation, including capturing heat that is currently wasted.

A stronger Britain in a safer world

A Conservative government will defend our national security and support our brave Armed
Forces in everything they do. We will promote our national interest with an active foreign policy.
We will work constructively with the EU, but we will not hand over any more areas of power and
we will never join the Euro. We will honour our aid commitments and make sure this money works
for the poorest nations.

We must meet the threats we face with a concerted response from the state. That response cannot just come from how we conduct our foreign affairs, or organise our defence and internal security – it must cut across energy, education, community cohesion, health, technology, international development and the environment too.

Defend our security

We will create a National Security Council to oversee all aspects of our security, chaired by the Prime Minister. We are committed to succeeding in our mission in Afghanistan and will not leave our Forces without the resources they need to fulfil this goal. We will repair the Military Covenant with a series of measures to support service personnel, their families and veterans.

A resilient nation

We understand the severity of the threats that exist and will do all we can to make Britain safe. We will establish a National Security Council to co-ordinate responses to the dangers we face, which will be chaired by the Prime Minister.

In addition, we will:

-create a National Security

• Adviser and a new National Resilience Team for Homeland Security;

• develop a National Security Strategy and oversee a Strategic Defence and Security Review that implements that strategy; and,

• establish a new Permanent Military Command for Homeland Defence and Security to provide a more structured military contribution to homeland security.

Support our brave Armed Forces

Our mission in Afghanistan is vital to our national security. Success in Afghanistan will be achieved when it is a more stable state, able to manage its own security, resist outside interference, and prevent terrorists from using its territory as a safe haven. We will always ensure our Forces have the resources they need to carry out their mission properly, and we will press other members of NATO to take their fair share of the military burden. The training of Afghanistan’s own security forces is key to the success of the mission, and we will continue to make it a priority.

Promote our enlightened national interest

We will:

-work to establish a new special relationship with India, the world’s largest democracy;

• seek closer engagement with China while standing firm on human rights;

• elevate our relationships with many friendly nations, including in the Middle East, as well as North Africa, South Asia and Latin America;

• press to keep the EU’s doors open to those countries, including Turkey, that wish to join, conditional on the rigorous application of the accession criteria;

• support permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council for Japan, India, Germany, Brazil and African representation; and,

• strengthen the Commonwealth as a focus for promoting democratic values and development.

To ensure our global security further, we will:

• work towards greater stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan;

• support concerted international efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon;

• support a two-state solution to the Middle East Peace Process;

• play our part in efforts to make the world safer from the dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation.

One World Conservatism

We will honour our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income in aid, and ensure our aid is transparent and properly targeted. We will spend at least £500 million a year to tackle malaria. Both the British people and those who receive aid will get more control over how it is spent. We will push for a trade deal which brings growth to the poorest countries, helps those countries adapt to climate change, and puts in place the building blocks of wealth creation.

Deliver on our commitment to the world’s poorest nations

A new Conservative government will be fully committed to achieving, by 2013, the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income as aid.

We will stick to the rules laid down by the OE CD about what spending counts as aid.

We will legislate in the first session of a new Parliament to lock in this level of spending for every year from 2013.

We will ensure British aid money is properly spent by publishing full details of British aid on the DFI D website. This will include spending data on a project-by-project basis, published in an open and standardised format so that it can be used by third party websites.

In addition, we will work to bring about improved transparency of aid spending by other development organisations.

We will create a new MyAid Fund to allow British people a direct say on aid spending, as well as giving people in developing countries more say over how aid is spent in their communities.

Trade and economic growth are the only sustainable way for developing countries to escape poverty, which is why we will put maximum effort into achieving an ambitious, pro-development global trade deal. Our aid programme will help poor countries put in place the building blocks of wealth creation: property rights, effective public services, stability and the rule of law.

To help deliver on our commitment to developing countries, we will:

• establish a Poverty Impact Fund to support innovative and effective British poverty fighting groups which do not currently qualify for government funding;

• explore ways to help the very poorest developing countries take part in international climate change negotiations, and work to make our aid ‘climate-smart’;

• encourage the establishment of a Pan-African Free Trade Area, which has the potential to transform that continent’s economies.

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