THE BLOG

The Election: Have You Been Paying Attention?

30/04/2015 11:14 BST | Updated 28/06/2015 10:59 BST

Not long now before Britain will be the proud owner of a lovely shiny, brand spanking new government. Or a slightly souped up version of a rather knackered and clapped out old one. Or, as appears far more likely, a cut and shut job made up by the welding together of the diametrically opposed ideologies of two, maybe even three competing parties.

One thing's for sure. It will definitely have that new government smell. What's it called? Oh yes, False Optimism. You might have seen the adverts for it, promising a bright future filled with hope and endless possibilities. Don't be surprised though if the fragrance of change quickly fades, leaving it to be replaced by that all too familiar stench. What's it called? Oh yes, Betrayal. Quick, open the windows, it's really starting to pong in here.

As campaigning, thank heavens, reaches its final stages, the respective leaders are seemingly prepared to say anything in a desperate attempt to secure votes. Every day/hour/minute brings forth another cast iron policy guarantee.

Below are a selection of manifesto pledges waiting to be broken. Some of them are instantly recognisable as being truer than others, but admittedly it's often difficult to tell. Are you currently politically engaged enough or perhaps sufficiently bothered enough to actually spot the difference?

30 hours of free childcare a week for those working parents with three and four year olds (the Conservatives).

All duty to be scrapped on alcohol, cigarettes and cigars. Snuff to be made readily available on prescription (Kip).

Five new public holidays to be introduced, including Keir Hardie Day on August 15 (Labour).

1.3 million housing association tenants to be allowed to buy their homes at a discount (the Conservatives).

The removal of the winter fuel payment and free TV licences from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (the Liberal Democrats).

Raising the price of petrol to £29 a litre and making it only available to buy between the hours of 2am and 3am, excluding weekends (the Green Party).

Cancelling the renewal of Trident (the SNP). And the Beano (Labour).

The digging up of cemeteries to increase the availability of land on which to build urgently needed new houses and Real Tennis courts (the Conservatives).

Increasing spending by 20% to create one million new public sector jobs (the Green Party).

Banning all zero hours contracts (Labour).

Spending £3 billion more on defence. £2 billion of which will be on spud guns, catapults and water pistols (UKip).

A referendum on the return of capital punishment and the reintroduction of public hangings as a form of entertainment (the Conservatives).

People earning over £150,000 a year to be taxed at 60%. While those earning over £1 million to be taxed at 99.999999% (the Green Party).

Abolishing all independent fee paying schools (Labour).

The Elgin marbles to be returned to Greece (the Liberal Democrats). Marbles to be made into the nation's national sport and televised on primetime BBC1 (the SNP).

Foreign aid to be cut from £10 billion to a more reasonable £6.50 (UKip).

Planting a tree for every child born and passing a new law to protect bumblebee nests (the Liberal Democrats).

The Bank of England to be renamed the Sterling Central Bank and the head of Catherine Zeta Jones replacing the Queen's on all coins and bank notes (Plaid Cymru).

Repealing the fox hunting ban as well as allowing aristocratic landowners to reintroduce man traps for poachers ( the Conservatives).

The grassing over of the M1, the M25 and the M6 with immediate effect (the Green Party).

Creating a £2 billion NHS Time to Care fund to pay for 20,000 new nurses, 8,000 new GPs, 5,000 home care workers and 3,000 more midwives (Labour).

Real term spending to go up by 0.5% a year (the SNP).

Voluntary euthanasia for anyone age 65 and over and their bodily remains returned to the earth to fertilise organic crops ( the Green Party).

An end to nuclear weapons in Wales (Plaid Cymru).

All new migrants to be checked for a variety of diseases and conditions, including athlete's foot, haemorrhoids and dandruff before being allowed into the country (UKip).

The Human Rights Act of 1998 to be comprehensively revised and extended to include all animals and insects (the Green Party).

The restoration of National Service and the Home Guard (the Conservatives).

Trade Union representatives to be given an automatic seat on the board of all those companies where union membership exceeds 25% of the workforce (Labour).

An extra £500 million a year set aside for mental health care (the Liberal Democrats). Persistent rumours that a large percentage of this will be used for the emotional anguish suffered by all those Lib Dem MPs likely to lose their seats have been strenuously denied by the party's hierarchy.

The decriminalisation of cannabis and Max Boyce records (Plaid Cymru).

The abolition of the monarchy; the jewels, wealth and property of its members to be returned to the state and all royal palaces to be converted into emergency accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers (the Green Party). Princess Anne not to be taxed while earning the minimum wage for mucking out Rebekah Brooks' stables (the Conservatives).

Guaranteeing jobs in the police, prison service and border force for anyone who has served

for 12 years in the armed forces (UKip).

The introduction of an instant fat fine on anyone weighing over 24 stone or those with a BMI exceeding 38 (the SNP). In a recent keynote speech, Nicola Sturgeon stressed once more that while these figures used to mean someone in Scotland was malnourished, this was most certainly no longer the case.

The scrapping of the non-dom tax status (Labour).

Private companies such as McDonald's and Starbucks to be allowed to sponsor the NHS for the first time ever with the promise of significant corporation tax rebates (the Conservatives).

So there we have it. All that remains is for us to exercise our democratic right on May 7. And if you're not happy with the result (and why would you be?), just remember. You only have to wait until 2020 to do it all over again.