Spot the difference: a political checklist

David Cameron and Ed Miliband as Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

They sound the same. They look the same. Are all politicians actually the same? Our checklist tracks differences between the leaders of Britain’s two biggest parties. How would you vote?

DAVID CAMERON (CONSERVATIVE) BELIEVES:

1. Britain’s economy can only flourish once the country’s £1 trillion debt has been slashed and its budget balanced. This means deep, uncompromising cuts to government spending, many of which will be taken from welfare and the public sector. In 2010 Cameron backed a plan to reduce spending by £49 billion before 2017, and further cuts have been announced since then.

2. The government should use taxes to redistribute wealth from the richest members of society to less those who are less well off. Individuals should be rewarded for hard work, but at the moment there is too much inequality in the UK. The government must do what it can to fix that.

3. The European Union has too much influence over how Britain is run. The government should resist any further transfer of powers from London to Brussels, and arrange a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

3. The UK belongs ‘firmly in Europe’. Britain needs to cultivate links with its neighbours and ensure that it is not isolated. Ed Miliband currently rejects a referendum on EU membership, though there are hints this could change.

4. Private companies should be free to hire and fire workers, and do business however they think best. This will boost competition, generate wealth, create jobs and ultimately make the whole country more prosperous.

4. Private business must be regulated to ensure that employees are not mistreated. Trade unions are important because they give ordinary workers power and a voice, and big companies must be made to practice ‘Responsible Capitalism’.

5. Charities, individuals and private businesses should take over many of the state’s traditional roles, forming a new ‘Big Society’ in which everybody does their bit.

5. Only the state has the money, organisation and reach to provide important services to everybody in the country. The public sector is vital and must be protected.

6. A lot of British people are happy to live on benefits, sponging off the taxes of those who are prepared to work for their living. This culture of entitlement must be crushed.

6. The vast majority of those on benefits would love to have a decent job. They are not claiming money from the state because they are lazy, but because they need it to get by.

7. God exists.

7. There is no God.

8. Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd is the greatest album ever made.

8. The best album ever is Morning Glory by Oasis.

ED MILIBAND (LABOUR) BELIEVES:

1. Simply slashing the budget will not produce growth: the government must be willing to invest in the UK economy. Cuts are still necessary, but they should be cautiously conducted and combined with other, more proactive measures. If that means borrowing money then so be it: the sooner the economy is growing, the sooner Britain can pay off its debts.

2. Individuals should be free to pursue personal wealth without worrying about government interference. Of course some taxes must be paid: to maintain public services, to help the needy and to ensure national security. But people should keep as much of what they earn as possible.

You Decide

  1. Would you rather have David Cameron or Ed Miliband as your national leader?
  2. Which of the points listed above is the most important in deciding who you would vote for?

Activities

  1. Who you would vote for in the next UK election? Conduct a class debate, then click on our Schools’ General Election page and cast your votes!
  2. Imagine you were standing for election in your country. Write a list of your ten most important beliefs, to help the public see where you stand.

Some People Say...

“I beat the people from China. I win against China. You can win against China if you're smart.”

Donald Trump

What do you think?

Word Watch

Invest in the UK economy
Ed Miliband, along with most people in the Labour Party, believes in the theories of an economist called John Maynard Keynes. Keynes believed that governments could boost their economies by spending money on schemes that create jobs and therefore introduce more money into the economy.
Trade unions
In the 19th Century, industrial workers started banding together to push for common goals like better working conditions, better job security and higher pay. It was from these so-called ‘trade unions’ that the Labour Party was born, as a political organ to represent the working classes in the British parliament. Labour has changed much, but it still retains close links with the trade unions: without them, Ed Miliband would never have been elected as leader.

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.