First details emerge of tomorrow's Conservative manifesto
130 pages long it will be published as a hardback book.
There's no image on the cover and so, unlike Labour's heavily-spoofed manifesto, the internet's inventive Photoshoppers won't have much fun with it!
It's called An invitation to join the government of Britain and begins with these words from David Cameron:
"A country is at its best when the bonds between people are strong and when the sense of national purpose is clear. Today the challenges facing Britain are immense. Our economy is overwhelmed by debt, our social fabric is frayed and our political system has betrayed the people. But these problems can be overcome if we pull together and work together. If we remember that we are all in this together.
"Some politicians say: 'give us your vote and we will sort out all your problems'. We say: real change comes not from government alone. Real change comes when the people are inspired and mobilised, when millions of us are fired up to play a part in the nation's future.
"Yes this is ambitious. Yes it is optimistic. But in the end all the Acts of Parliament, all the new measures, all the new policy initiatives, are just politicians' words without you and your involvement.
"How will we deal with the debt crisis unless we understand that we are all in this together? How will we raise responsible children unless every adult plays their part? How will we revitalise communities unless people stop asking 'who will fix this?' and start asking 'what can I do?' Britain will change for the better when we all elect to take part, to take responsibility - if we all come together. Collective strength will overpower our problems.
"Only together can we can get rid of this government and, eventually, its debt. Only together can we get the economy moving. Only together can we protect the NH S. Improve our schools. Mend our broken society. Together we can even make politics and politicians work better. And if we can do that, we can do anything. Yes, together we can do anything.
"So my invitation today is this: join us, to form a new kind of government for Britain."
It contains eight direct invitations:
- Be your own boss by running your public sector enterprise as a co-operative or via innovative business start up schemes;
- Sack your MP via a power of recall;
- Run your own school as Conservatives facilitate the creation of new schools where previously parents had no alternatives;
- Own your own home with first-time homebuyers freed from stamp duty and new ownership opportunities for social tenants;
- Veto council tax rises with residents getting the power to instigate local referendums on any local issue if 5% of the local population sign up;
- Vote for your police so your community gets the anti-crime policies that you and your neighbours want;
- Save your local pub or post office via co-operative ownership models;
- See how government spends your money by forcing government to publish what they spend.
There are no new policies in the manifesto; just a reaffirmation and representation of existing pledges. The pre-launch briefing emphasises school reform, welfare-to-work, the ambition to make Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe; stopping Labour’s jobs tax; support for the NHS; and "bold" environmentalism. Immigration, action against knife crime and protection of pensioner benefits are also bigged up in a document that has Steve Hilton's fingerprints all over it.
As I expected, it is detailed - because of the composition of the House of Lords, where the Tories will be in a minority even with a Commons majority, only measures spelt out in the manifesto can be sure to pass the Upper House.