#Page48 : What this Controversial Page of the Conservative Manifesto Really Means

The Tory manifesto has been released for weeks and a specific page of it has been gaining slow and steady traction. The likes of Armando Iannucci and Femi have repeatedly drawn attention to page 48 on social media. Its contents are troubling to say the least.

In it, Torys make their position clear on voting rights; you must be 18 (even though many changes of these votes effect those aged 16 and upwards) and they intend to introduce ID verification for voting registration. These positions, critics, argue, disenfranchise significant demographics of the British electorate, who perhaps would vote for a Tory-opposing party. There’s also an ominous section where the Tory’s claim they will revaluate the Human Rights’ Act and strike a “balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government”. The troubling implication here is that the Torys seem to think that the rights of human beings must be balanced with government policy.

However, the most concerning section concerns how the Torys will “look at… the relationship between the Government, Parliament and the courts; the functioning of the Royal Prerogative; the role of the House of Lords; and access to justice for ordinary people.”

Being interviewed on Newsnight, Labour Peer Lord Falconer agreed that it suggested a “shifting from a legal framework to a political framework”. Essentially, the quote politicises the courts as an opposing force against the Torys that must be subdued, rather than an impartial institution to keep everyone under the law. A move to take power away from the courts would not be surprising, as just months ago they ruled that Johnson’s extended prorogation was unlawful. The last few years, and especially in Johnson’s government, Parliament has been consistently deadlocked. “Looking at” the relationship may involve adjusting these separate arms of governance so they can be easily overpowered by a Conservative cabinet.

This could be one, quiet step towards a fascist regime, many have pointed out.

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