Where the political parties stand at the 2017 election and beyond

Abstract

This detailed document summarises nine key party manifestos (Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat, National Health Action Party, Plaid Cymru, Scottish National Party, UKIP, Womens Equality Party) and assesses them against ten active principles for a better society first set out by Ekklesia in 2015. It serves as a benchmark not simply for the 2017 election, but for an analysis of the role and stance of the parties over the coming few years. 

Party manifestos are documents with varying amounts of detail. They are also, we recognize, only a snapshot of an often more substantial body of policy, and of the philosophy that shapes or underlines it. We have taken the time to review the key points in each party’s presentation to the electorate to see how well they reflect the core values and principles identified by Ekklesia in relation to establishing a socially just, more equal, peaceful, and economically and environmentally sustainable society.

Whatever the outcome of this General Election, a period of substantial change, adjustment and contestation is likely to follow. There are now wide differences across Britain in terms of political outlook and voting, not least between England and Scotland. There are huge crises emerging in health and social care (especially in England and Wales). Northern Ireland is in some respects on the brink. The massive challenges of environment and poverty (largely ignored in the 2017 campaign, which has excelled in clichés such as ‘strong and stable’) will continue to exert themselves.

This document is not just for one ‘democratic moment’ on 8th June, but part of a process of holding Britain’s party power-brokers to account in the politics that will emerge beyond the election – recognising that civil society and dialogical advocacy by faith and secular groups is the place where ethical and moral issues and a case for a genuine “common good” (which requires a major shift in power and wealth to be meaningful) are often best sustained against the force of sectional interests, austerity and economic neoliberalism.  As we outline at the end of this document, these are the issues Ekklesia wishes to focus on – with ‘believing in a better world’ as a galavanising concern – moving beyond this General Election. 

* Read the full analyis of nine party manifestos here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/sites/ekklesia.co.uk/files/manifesto_analysis_2017.pdf