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Boris is running on empty

After all the trailblazing, the Tory manifesto for the general election is devoid of substance. It contains little to indicate an end to the misery of nine years of needless austerity or to repair the damage done by endless cuts to critical services such as the NHS, social care and children's services.

So bland is the manifesto presented by Boris Johnson that one of the outstanding features is more funding to repair potholes!

The Tory manifesto offers no new vision of the future, Brexit or no Brexit. There is no real picture of the new horizon that Boris claims will come from leaving the European Union.

The manifesto he tells us is a "partial blueprint." Partial? Half a blueprint? A quarter? What, indeed, is an incomplete plan? Imagine building a house with only one-half of the architect's drawings.


Boris Johnson is playing it safe. It was at this time in the election of 2017 that things are thought to have unravelled for his predecessor, Mrs May. But the Tories are so worried about putting a foot wrong that they have now produced the blandest manifesto possible. No new horizon - all is pinned on Brexit.

The idea is that if they say very little, there will be less risk. But that in itself might be the moment when things go belly-up. Labour offers a vision for the future. It sets out its plans in a bold manifesto. The Tory manifesto is like walking in a drizzle without a raincoat.

Boris repeats his mantra of "getting Brexit done". He guesses that it will win over sufficient voters to give him victory at the polls. To beat him, Corbyn must now sweep up the substantial part of the remain vote. It is a tall order because they don't fall readily in place as Labour voters, and certainly not for a leader as radically left as they perceive Jeremy Corbyn.

In this, the opinion polls might come to Jeremy Corbyn's assistance. If the Tories extend their national lead, it might sufficiently concentrate the minds of those voters reluctant to put Corbyn in Downing Street.

Nobody knows how to interpret the opinion polls at this time. The national mood is difficult to gauge. Commentators remark on the mismatch between the kind of reception Corbyn gets and the state of the parties in the polls. Others in Labour's camp will worry that it will be a repeat of the 1983 election when enthusiastic crowds greeted the Labour leader, Michael Foot, wherever he went, but Labour crashed in the final poll.

The difference is the generational divide. Jeremy Corbyn's Labour is greeted enthusiastically by younger voters and indeed some older ones. But overall there is a generational divide between older voters backing the Tories and younger ones supporting Labour.

Geographical divide also makes difficult the interpretation of the national polling.

Boris has played safe, but it is too safe. There is little in the Tory manifesto that 'unleashes potential'. The only big idea is Brexit. He is selling what he knows to be mythology - a version of 'it will be alright on the night'. Boris, it seems, is running on empty.

With empty promises and a partial vision, Boris may bumble his way through. But then he may not. Labour offers a better vision for the future. Better on the environment; better on health; better on education; better on children; better for pensioners. Sadly, it might work for Boris, but Boris offers little to nothing for the future.





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