Manifesto writing is a fine art of making stirring promises that also leave politicians acres of wriggle room.
Of course, parties have to consider the possibility they might actually win and be expected to make good on their commitments.
So the result is often pages of mealy-mouthed bumf that tells people little about what they are being asked to vote for.
We have trawled manifestos in Watford and Three Rivers to highlight most baffling, incomprehensible, and meaningless pledges penned in this year’s elections.
1. From the Liberal Democrat manifesto: “Look out for opportunities to support secondary shopping centres e.g. St Albans Road and Queens Road”. “Look out for” - hardly the wording of a cast-iron commitment more the political equivalent of a shrug.
2. From the Labour manifesto: “We would open the council to more transparent and inclusive decision-making”. I have no idea what that would actually entail.
3. From the UK Independence Party manifesto: “A UKIP mayor and councillors pledge to put town and residents ahead of party”. So how do we measure that then?
4. From the Conservative manifesto: Promise to introduce “joined-up thinking” at town hall. *Meaningless buzz-phrase klaxon*. Essentially promising voters to assume a coherent mindset.
Three Rivers District Council
5. From the Liberal Democrat manifesto: “Will urge Herts County Council to reveal its plans to provide secondary school places in the Rickmansworth area.” Basically a pledge to encourage another council to do something. High bar.
6. From the Conservative manifesto: “A High Street upgrade. Conservatives say they will fight for a vibrant and diverse high street.” Makes it sound like getting a new iPhone.
7. From the Labour manifesto: “The flexible refuse service that works to continue – not put under threat.” Yoga for binmen?
8. From the UK Independence Party manifesto: “Abolish non-essential and politically-correct jobs and red tape”. Which begs the question: What is a non-politically correct job?