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Theresa May redefines Conservatism as Tories move on from Thatcher
20 May 2017, 12:53 | Austin Hogan
The Tory manifesto stresses a continued effort to "bear down on immigration from outside the European Union", including overseas students.
So on the 8 June, we will be voting in our millions for other parties, including the SNP here in Scotland, that still have the guts to stand up for social democracy and cultural pluralism at home, for a welcoming attitude to those in need whatever their origin, for the ideal of the European Union, and for a strong, friendly internationalism in our external relations, on this island, and beyond.
Theresa May yesterday unveiled her party's election pledges, including £8 billion extra for the NHS and £4 billion extra to schools to finally solve the fairer funding conundrum.
If there is one thing to be said for the period in British politics through which we are now living, it's that the combination of the EU referendum shock, with its massive Leave majorities in many parts of England outside London, and the arrival of a large contingent of SNP MPs at Westminster two years ago, seems finally to have reminded the current British political establishment that they preside over a complex Union state, and not a kind of Westminster village writ large. The Conservatives give no date to reach the goal.
In its manifesto published on Thursday, in which much attention was given to Britain's immigration regime and the party's pledge to substantially reduce net migration, the party said the immigration skills charge levied on companies employing migrant workers would rise to £2,000 a year by the end of the next Parliament, with the revenues raised going towards a programme to help skill workers in the United Kingdom. But many economists say the "tens of thousands" target is arbitrary and could lead to a shortage of skilled workers.
May goes into next month's snap national election she called with opinion poll ratings that indicate she may win a landslide comparable with her Conservative predecessor Margaret Thatcher's 1983 majority of 144 seats in the 650-seat parliament. These policies are likely to appeal to the UK's traditional Labour supporters. "We reject the cult of selfish individualism".
Mrs May warned that if the upcoming Brexit talks failed to deliver a good deal, "the consequences for Britain and for the economic security of ordinary working people will be dire".
To do that, May said she will remove some financial protections for pensioners - generally a group politicians are loath to alienate due to their high voter-turnout rates.
"I believe we can and must take this opportunity to build a great meritocracy here in Britain", she said.
She has promised fundamental - though yet to be detailed - reforms to fix problems ranging from arrogant elites and venal bosses to workers' rights, immigration and Britain's obsession with class privilege.
There are signs that Brexit could already be hitting the economy, such as quickening inflation, and May and her finance minister, Philip Hammond, are keen to gain some flexibility.
Ukip leader Mr Nuttall said only his party is "truly committed to the Brexit that people voted for" in last year's referendum.
While government does not have all the answers, it "can and should be a force for good", she said.
Hammond has previously said he would aim to put public finances back in the black as soon as possible after 2020.
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