EVEN though The Institute for Government says just one-third of Tory manifesto commitments from 2017 have been implemented, or even progressed, these policy prospectuses do matter.
Constitutionally, it is improper for the House of Lords to block legislation that the governing party has put to the people in a manifesto. Politically, it enables voters to compare rival plans.
And while Boris Johnson hopes to achieve a Brexit bounce by promising to bring forward laws before Christmas to advance Britain’s exit from the EU – even though there will be insufficient time to pass legislation once MPs have been sworn in and a Queen’s Speech held – his ebullience must not mask further scrutiny about his plans.
Like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Johnson needs to explain to voters, in an election where trust is a central issue, precisely how he intends to pay for his spending plans when the Tories are ruling out increases to tax, National Insurance and VAT for the duration of the next Parliament.
Given how the Budget had to be postponed because of the election’s timing, a responsible One Nation leader will not hesitate to provide greater clarity – even more so at a time when the impact of Brexit on the wider economy is still not known.
As well as borrowing more money, Mr Johnson will hoping that the Government’s economic agenda – and investment in new infrastructure – will generate sufficient growth to enable Britain to prosper in the 2020s.
But, for this to happen, it requires the next Government to do even more to narrow the North-South divide and tackle regional inequalities. Mr Johnson’s commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail, shared by his rival leaders, is a start. But, given his poor response to this month’s South Yorkshire floods, he still has much more to do to win the trust of voters here.