Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Sunifesto and your 'minifesto'

It is not often a source that we will use, given its use of topless models, and generally questionable values on issues of race, gender and sexuality, but today we shall look at a very specific feature in The S*n, the UK's biggest-selling paper and one that once boasted after a general election, It Was the Sun Wot Won It.

Owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who operates a global media empire, the paper took the unusual step of beating the political parties to the punch and issuing its own 'manifesto' (details of what it would do, the policies it would follow, if elected to government).

Your quickfire challenge will be to:

  1. Scan through the 'Sunifesto' below
  2. Pick one or more policies that you strongly dis/agree with
  3. Come up with your own wording for a policy/policies
  4. Prepare a short summary of WHY this should be supported (look for newspaper articles on this policy area, find quotes, points, statistics...)
  5. If you can, think of one argument AGAINST (maybe using the same research) and state why this should not put people off
  6. Pick two UK national daily newspapers, and come up with a headline for each of them if they were writing about your 'minifesto' ideas. Tabloid headlines can be short and informal, featuring a pun or play on words, broadsheet headlines might more formal and longer. There would be a difference between the left-wing papers (Mirror, Guardian) and the right-wing papers (all the rest, bar the Indie/i, which is 'centrist' or fairly neutral). The S*n is very right-wing, its Sunifesto is classic right-wing thinking.
You can find more information and background on this post, written for A-Level Media students, but the Sunifesto is copied in below (just click read more or on the title of this post).

Here's what it lists (SOURCE:

TODAY, 100 days to the General Election, The Sun is launching our own manifesto. 

We haven’t yet decided which party we will support before the vote in May. 
But whichever one can get closest to making our manifesto a reality will get our backing.
Five years ago Britain was in dire straits, left at the mercy of a global recession by a rudderless and wasteful Labour Government. 
The Tory/Lib-Dem coalition has not been a perfect marriage.It has achieved remarkable successes in several areas, crucially the economy and jobs. 
They have been offset by failures on immigration and the NHS. 
Here are the key policies we want to see, to deliver success to Britain: 

— Deficit cleared within five years. 
— A REAL war on waste, not the usual promises. 
— Government savings to be turned into tax cuts for firms to raise low wages. 
— Narrowing of the North-South wealth divide through grants and tax breaks outside London and South-East. 
— In/out referendum after a tough renegotiation of our position with Brussels. 
— A PM willing to lead us out of the EU if renegotiation fails. 
— Regain ability to control our borders and select migrants by skills. 
— End to Human Rights Act. 
— NHS cannot continue as bottomless money-pit. 
— Needs radical reform, with private sector help. 
— No more health tourists or needless cosmetic surgery on State. 
— Core values of tolerance, freedom, equality of sexes and rule of British law are paramount. 
— Migrants must learn English and respect British values. 
— They must speak out against extremism. 
— They must not elevate the traditions of their homeland over ours. 
— Expand free schools programme. 
— Drive up actual standards, measurable against rest of world, not just exam results. 
— Stand up for pupils’ rights over those of teaching unions. 
— More vocational training over meaningless degrees. 
— Reskill Britain – train young people for life, and work. 
— An end to tribal politics . . . Britain is sick of it. 
— Braver politicians speaking out of conviction, not just trotting out party line. 
— More people with real life experience in Cabinet; fewer ex-“special advisers”. 
— More women MPs. 
— More ethnic minority MPs. 
— More honesty, less spin. 
— Each party to list five polices they will NOT ditch in coalition negotiations. 
— A proper 30-year plan, including nuclear power. 
— End shameful delays over fracking for shale gas. 
— MPs must stop dreaming about windfarms... they will never be enough. 
— Prioritise economic future over climate change. 
 No more cuts to forces. 
 Give spooks/police surveillance powers against terror – but approved by judge. 
 Send ground troops to tackle IS if unavoidable to keep Britain safe. 
 Nukes vital as deterrent. 
— Falls in crime welcome, so too stricter sentences for serious crime. 
— Too many jail terms for non-violent crimes: fines better and greater deterrent. 
— End scandal of endless police bail, which ruins lives. 
— Automatic mechanism to cut pump prices in line with falls in world oil market. 
— Government should encourage and help fund a huge house-building programme. 
— Welfare only as a last resort to prevent hunger and homelessness. 
— Current cap too high at £26,000 a year. 
— Child benefit capped at two children for new claimants. 
— Ditch handouts such as bus passes for well-off OAPs. 
— Decriminalise failure to pay the licence fee. 
— Cut BBC to core mission of first-class original programming, broadcast on multiple platforms. 
— Scrap guarantee that 0.7% of our GDP be given away in foreign aid. 
— Each aid case to be rigorously overseen by British officials. 
— No taxpayers’ money to corrupt, or already rich, regimes. 
— Government must be brave enough to ignore a social media mob. 
— Police to stop policing social media “offence” if no law broken. 
— Britain must be free to speak, within the law. 
What do you think? #Sunifesto

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