General Election Special: The Conservative and Liberal Democrats Party Manifestos
In our final piece before the 2017 General Election we turn our attention to both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to assess how they will approach the issues of sport and culture in the upcoming parliament.
Once coalition bedfellows, now the ever-polarising political landscape would give the average punter long odds on such a recurrence. That said, both seem to have harmonised their views on sport, plainly because this is what all the major parties have done. Culture has become something of a non-issue for the upcoming election; instead the major focus has been on the perceived matters at hand; the economy, Brexit and state security.
The development of sport hasn’t disappeared from the political scene altogether, but it has been left rather vague and to the sideline by both the Liberal Dems and Conservatives. Both are relatively harmonised on the issue and wholly idealist, probably because neither has been nor will likely be challenged on it.
The Conservative manifesto states:
“We will support a UK city in making a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. We shall continue to support school sport, delivering on our commitment to double support for sports in primary schools.”
This is hardly the stuff of cultural revolution, and one feels Theresa May’s team had a few pages to fill whilst thrashing out their 2017 publication. The sentiment is hardly contestable, but the likely implementation is largely doubtful too.
Similarly, the Liberal Democrats have mentioned during the campaign a similar commitment to funding for sports in schools. In addition, their sports spokesperson, John Leech, affirmed a commitment to safe standing in football. The latter is a firmly liberal policy, but one that could prove incredibly sensitive and indeed divisive amongst the electorate. This is a topic we have discussed in length and one that will undoubtedly come to the fore again in the coming years. This will become a political issue because laws do require changing should English clubs seek to implement safe standing in their stadia.
It does seem a shame that most parties have neglected sport from their campaign pledges this term. Sport, and primarily football, is so central to this nation and many of the issues surrounding the game have become key to peoples’ lives. Grassroots sport, ticket prices and fan representation are all potentially key electoral issues and have been ignored in favour of a narrow focus on big government priorities.
Out of touch or simply focused on the ‘real’ job at hand? The UK voter surely has a tough decision on their hands today.