We are being inundated by party political manifestos. They come in all shapes and sizes. In the early 1900s, they were usually around 300 words, by 2000, this had increased dramatically.
Manifestos are written not only for political parties but for dozens of groups as varied as feminist, food, climate and philosophical.
The most famous, or infamous, is the Communist Manifesto written by Marx and Engels. It is frequently quoted, often incorrectly, but seldom read.
Manifestos go through many drafts and are usually agreed after bitter infighting. They purport to declare what the party will do and deliver once elected to govern.
They are supposed to inform voters what they are voting for and what they are voting against.
Today, the party manifesto has become an indispensable aid in the choosing process.
The British boast that our parties are programmatic, that is they fight elections on manifestos and, if elected, promise to carry them out.
Parties in many other countries wisely make no such claims.
A manifesto is designed to win votes or, at least, not to lose them. Extreme policies listed in manifestos such as Labour’s 1931 and 1983 have always spelt disaster.
Manifestos are a mix of substance and symbolism. Some would add, and lies. In theory, they have the following functions: to provide a hymn sheet for candidates to sing to; to answer questions from voters; to provide a source book for candidates to answer questions from pressure groups; to strike a popular mood; to gain publicity in the media, and to project a favourable image of the party.
The public today are rightly very sceptical about politicians for two key reasons: the shameful and disgraceful expenses scandal, and their failure to abide by the outcome of the EU referendum. We live in an age of scepticism.
Manifestos therefore need to be very careful in promising what can be delivered. A number of times in history an ill-considered manifesto has returned to haunt a party.
Some current ones are laughable. They preach to the gullible.
Claims that the economy will thrive are equally useless.
There are simply too many domestic and international variables.
Thucydides wrote that “promises are like snowflakes. They have a very limited life-span”.
Dr Barry Clayton
Please help find long lost relative
I am writing to ask your readers if they could help. My mother is now in her seventies and lived in Urmston as a child.
She has never been told who her real father was.Everyone who would have known has died. After tracking down people we found her uncle’s grandson on Facebook.
We were surprised to find out that his grandad was still alive living in Blackpool somewhere. However he was unable to help as both he and his dad don’t speak to him. My mother’s uncle is her last hope of finding the truth.
Can anyone help?
We have the Iron Lady to thank...
I am writing in response to Mike Smethurst’s letter (Your Say, Gazette, November 14).
I’m not sure if you live in Blackpool, Mike. Allow me to give you an insight into the housing market you speak so highly of. I’ve been paying £500-£600 in rent for the last 15 years with no sight of getting my foot on the ladder, ever.
Hurrah to the Iron Lady for that.
Also, hurrah any inheritance I may find being much less than a house, also falling firmly at the Iron Lady’s spot in the ground.
The inheritance tax proposals you speak of will not be negatively affecting the majority of the population in Blackpool so not sure who exactly are you preaching to here?
Anyone voting Conservative should be asking themselves, how do the Tory Party value me and the answer will undoubtedly be, less than a dog.
Potential accident in Kirkham centre
I am writing to you out of sheer frustration, as all my husband’s efforts have, to date, been in vain.
In July, after heavy rain, we were walking round the church from Morrisons, Kirkham, when, due to very overgrown and wet bushes, I stepped off the path in front of a car coming up behind me from the car park. The driver was not amused!
Alan, my husband, phoned Fylde Council, who said it needed dealing with urgently, but that the responsibility was with Kirkham Council.
He also sent an email to them and a lady phoned Alan promptly.
She told him that it was not a “designated” footpath and that it would be removed and fencing erected.
Recently a neighbour had a near miss and I dread to think what would happen if, on a dark evening, a child should set off walking the same route.
If the council doesn’t want the path used, they should put up a warning sign, or instead of using tax-payers’ money on expensive fencing, send a man with a pair of shears to cut the bushes back.
Sorry, if it’s a council job, two men with shears and one watching!
This is an accident waiting to happen. Will action only be taken when it does?
Wasn't BBC Countryfile’s piece this week on breeding animals for meat both unbiased and balanced?
I jest, the only acceptable view was that the breeding and eating of meat was the main cause of the planet quickstepping to disaster.
Not a word about the fact that producing these meat substitutes, foreign vegetables to use a more accurate term, is bringing about wholesale destruction of life-giving forests, not to mention the huge carbon footprint involved in moving them round the world.
Isn’t it time the powers-that-be in the farming and food industries got together and started putting evidence into the public domain to refute this nonsense?