I’ve written about UKIP before. At the time I concluded that they had little to say about the issues that I was interested in (careers, education, employment). My expectation was that with all of the scrutiny that they’ve received over recent months that the level of detail and sophistication of their policy would have improved. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case.
The ordering of the topics in the UKIP manifesto is interesting. Immigration, pensions, social care and the NHS all appear much higher up in the document than in the other manifestos while education and employment are much lower. My guess is that this reflects UKIPs older constituency and their main concerns.
On education there is a lot of rhetoric about reducing bureaucracy and improving standards. However there is a promise to remove SATs at key stage 1 and a policy about removing sex education from primary schools and achieving more parental consent for sex education. Why this has emerged as an issue I’m not sure.
More substantially they want to reintroduce grammar schools. They cite social mobility as the rationale for this (ignoring recent evidence). The flip side of this will be the creation of new secondary moderns or vocational schools.
On higher education there is a plan to reduce the focus on HE, reducing numbers and making it more utilitarian in focus. They also plan to remove the entitlement of EU students to attend UK universities. So we can look forward to smaller, less diverse and less international universities.
The employment policy section of the manifesto is mainly just a way to smuggle more rhetoric about the value of leaving the EU into the document. There are few policy announcements.
In general the UKIP manifesto is light on detail with little or no focus on career and employment issues. It has more to say about education but here the focus is mainly on turning the clock back to 1950.
They won’t be getting my vote.