First thought is that we have to reverse polarities top understand the manifestos.The party of strictly come discipline a la Osborne dominatrix has panicked and become the big give away special offer party. The party of Keynes has decided to become respectable by putting a bit of Hayek and austerity in its shop window to appeal to business perverts.This indicates that both parties are running scared which makes them anxious to hide their true nature.Whatever that is these days.
Second thought is that the Tories are more insecure and anxious than Labour.This is indicated by the attempt to cram everything bar the kitchen sink into the manifesto with all sorts of policies (mostly piddling ) that they could have done in the last five years but somehow were forgotten. Or weren't allowed to implement by the LibDem reign of terror in cabinet So there are lots of little concessions to UKIP to tell the errant tribe to come home to nurse. Labour's appeal is more straightforward and simple.We'll try to make things better but dare not say it will be by expanding the economy to generate growth jobs and higher taxes.
Third thought is that the Tory manifesto tacitly admits that the five year austerity has been a waste of time. It hasn't worked or brought down debt and borrowing in the way we said it would. Which means that there's more pain to come but we're not daft so we're not going to tell you how much or how its going to be inflicted.As for Labour we promise to run a surplus every year which of course is crazy because if there's another recession we'll need to run a deficit and spend to boost the economy.
Fourth thought is that both parties need to be questioned about the pools of silence in the manifestos.The Tories are silent on how much pain is to come and how they're going to finance the tax cuts for the rich the eight billion extra for the health service, the compensation to housing associations to finance their new build and the timer off for big society time for the NHS the schools and local government. Labour is silent on whether it still proposes to borrow for investment and infrastructure where expenditure needs to be massive because of the long delay in both and whether our opposition to borrowing includes the big private finance initiative borrowing which have been so expensive
Fifth thought .The class war is still there but heavily disguised. The Tories have now muted their attack on trade unions and scroungers spongeing off hard working families.They'll help the rich because they're the "wealth creators" (unlike the rest of us) but this will benefit everyone by trickle down although not through progressive taxation. Labour will swing the balance back from wealth to people (about time too) but not to beneficiaries
Final thought. Labour's is much the more sensible than the Tory manifesto and offers better prospects for the country but neither sets the blood racing with hope and excitement. Realism is the death of hope and caution the architect of calculus not excitement. Britain needs a new deal and the most that's offered is Labour's claim that "Britain can be better"Not too difficult when its been run so incompetently for so long .