Two relatively minor news items today offer an insight into the approach of the two main parties.
Labour have announced they want to give every woman a £120 cash bonus for getting pregnant. How will that help deal with the problem of unwanted pregnancies? Now we’re going to pay them to have babies? The fact that the cash is intended to be used to buy fresh fruit is risible and shows complete ignorance of the demands of modern life. £120 will buy a very nice iPod, thank you.
The Conservatives, on the other hand, want to impose car parking charges at out-of-town supermarkets. They claim this will allow councils to subsidise local bus services. But as with the young mothers, once they have their hands on the money who knows what the councils will choose to spend it on. It certainly won’t be on subsidised bus services.
Labour has always wanted to hand out taxpayers’ money, and the Tories always used to want to reduce taxation. Now they are keen to impose a tax on parking at supermarkets, something that will hit almost every voter in the pocket, and something that will not go unnoticed by those voters.
The irony is, these two policies would effectively cancel each other out. With many hospitals already charging for parking, a pregnant woman could easily spend £120 in parking fees in just six months with supermarket parking charges on top. That would leave nothing for the fresh fruit, if that was what she was wanted to spend it on in the first place. Did the two parties collude over this?