In one of the most unpredictable general elections in years, it is anyone’s guess who will be moving into Downing Street on May 8. Political campaigns are in disarray with every party seemingly having it all to play for.
Whether it is a case of most of the UK population taking a view that Westminster politics has become so divorced from reality that it is a case of choosing the least worst rather than the best of the best, or that there is genuine polarisation in political beliefs that have collided with a set of parties that are very hard to differentiate between is for the political pundits to debate. Here we’ll look at each parties cycling manifesto. Given how close the major parties are in the polls, a blog like this could just tip the balance!
There is much talk of the ‘Green Surge’ in politics, with the Green Party making real headway against the three major players. It is not surprising therefore that if your main interest in cycling is because it is the ultimate low emissions vehicle, the Green Party has the best cycling manifesto.
On Page 63 you will see that the party’s manifesto states that
“Green Party transport policy prioritises in this order, building from the bottom up: – Walking – Cycling…”
Given our system of voting in the UK, we will not see a Caroline Lucas in Downing Street any time soon. It has become the chosen party of protest though, and do expect at least a few MP’s from the party in Westminster.
Where the Greens are on the rise, the Lib Dems are bracing themselves for a serious kicking on May 7. They may yet be the king makers in any coalition as it is hard to believe that under the electoral system we have that they are going to be wiped out.
The Lib Dem manifesto states that they will “Make progress towards implementing the recommendations of the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report”. The Get Britain Cycling report aims to get more people on their bikes and aims to get the UK’s miserly 2% of journeys made by bike up to somewhere like 30% of journeys as happens in the likes of Germany or the Netherlands.
Considering Cameron and Boris Johnson are known to be fans of cycling themselves, with Bojo the architect of some major London ‘cycling superhighways’, you’d have thought that the cyclist would be a focus in their manifesto?
There again, maybe not. Though £200 million sounds like a lot of money to boost cycling in the UK, when looked at over 5 years (£40 million per year) across the whole of the UK, this is spread pretty thinly. Most of the money will be spent in London so us in the provinces won’t get a lot out of the pot.
Labour have the worst of the two parties at the top of the tree.
Buried in its manifesto is one specific mention of cycling: “It will transfer £30bn of funding to city and county regions, along with new powers over economic development, skills, employment, housing, and business support. This will include control over local transport systems so that in future, local bodies can integrate trains, buses, trams and cycling into a single network.”
Nothing is costed and nothing concrete is offered. Sadly, the ‘party of the people’ doesn’t even offer hot air on reducing carbon emissions…
Since the party has taken on the mantle of the potential great upset to Westminster, it is worth a mention for reasons of balance. It doesn’t mention cycling at all in its manifesto so this is your mention Mr Farage!