The UK is having another general election, just over two years since the last. It’s unexpected and looks like it has caught some of our politicians unprepared (even some of those announcing it).
The manifestos are now out so we decided to put the Labour Party and Conservative Party manifestos through the ringer with Democracy 3. Combining our love of gaming with real world events – what could go wrong?
We played the next five years based on the documents released by the two parties. My brother, Curtis, and I played the two games simultaneously and any policy decision was discussed to make sure it was as close to the manifesto as possible.
Here’s what we did beforehand:
- Made a list of each party’s key policies
- Removed political capital (the cost to enact policies) from the game to give maximum freedom
- Removed assassinations because being Prime Minister is hard enough already
- Reflected current UK situation in the game settings
- Agreed to make only two decisions per quarter
- Decided I would play the Conservative manifesto and Curtis would play the Labour manifesto
So we started where any Government would – with taxes. I put corporatation tax at a very respectable 17% and Curtis ratcheted it up all the way to 26%.
We then made sure the top rate of income tax was set at the correct amounts (45% for me, 50% for him. So far so good. At this point I’m starting to feel the pinch a little while Curtis is rolling in it. This could cause problems later down the line.
We tinkered here and there a bit as the year went on. I put a little bit of money in prisons and brought down foreign aid to 0.7% – I felt very dirty at this point. All the while my brother is giving workers more rights and throwing the billions of pounds he made from his ridiculous taxes into the NHS.
Hilariously, after only nine months we both experienced a general strike. That’s right. An actual general strike. You heard it on n3rdabl3 first folks – no matters who wins next week we’re having a general strike in February next year. Get the banners ready.
A few more minor things are implemented in year one. I make it harder for immigrants to come to the UK and give free breakfasts to schoolchildren, Labour introduce bus passes, rent controls and university grants.
This is not looking good for me. The Conservative manifesto is causing mayhem with the economy (the Labour one is too to be fair, just slightly less so). Curtis dumps £25bn into state housing, I stump up half that to reflect our different targets. Under my manifesto the country’s credit rating is CCC, Labour’s is slightly better on B. Both are terrible. We’re heading for the drain no matter who wins. The only significant difference is that I definitely am not going to win the next election (polling 12%) and Curtis is (polling 38%). Turns out spending money is popular, who knew?
I reduce spending on pensions and increase spending on the NHS by a tiny amount. He spends £20bn on education and increases child benefit. Why isn’t my popularity going up? (It’s a rhetorical question; I’m stingy AF).
At the end of year two I’m in crazy debt and can’t increase taxes or cut spending any further because of my manifesto. Labour are also borrowing a shit tonne of money but at least people are seeing the benefit of it.
This will go down in history as the year I tried to pay for Brexit. I increase grant funding to all the areas that will lose out as a result of leaving the EU. This plummets me even further into debt. Unfortunately, the game, like everyone who promised it, does not recognise that I should get £350m for the NHS now. Damn remoaners. I’d also like to point out that by this point I’d implemented pretty much everything in the Conservative manifesto and still had two years to fill – should’ve put in more filler Mrs May.
Apart from that this year is pretty uneventful. Curtis increased art and youth club subsidies and I spend the £4bn on education I promised. It’s too little too late unfortunately. I’m in the middle of a debt crisis, a doctor strike and a teacher shortage. Luckily for me I also have an alcohol problem in the country so I drown my sorrows at the bottom of a bottle of port [drink responsibly kids].
We skipped year four because the game was taking ages to finish and there’s only so much time you should dedicate to this sort of thing. Sue me.
Four quarters until the election. Now was the time to tie up any loose ends. Except, for the most part, we couldn’t. Both manifestos have increased the country’s debt by 1.4 TRILLION POUNDS. That’s right. I said 1.4 TRILLION. I’m polling 7% at this point and Curtis is polling 53%. I don’t know how this is possible. I can’t see his screen so I suspect he cheated.
As a last ditch attempt to curry favour with the electorate I introduce a welfare fraud department to chase down all those nasty scroungers. People love this shit right? Apparently not. Curtis (running Labour’s manifesto don’t forget), increases disability benefit, winter fuel subsidy, maternity leave and goes into the election with no homelessness, no crime and the same amount of debt as me.
Well guess what? Theresa May would go into the 2022 election with a pile of debt and nothing to show for it, achieving just 8% on the vote to Labour’s 72% of the vote. Jeremy Corbyn on the other hand, would have an equally large pile of debt but something to show for it – winning just over 50% of the vote and going on to a second term.
So there you have it. Neither of the main parties will do a particularly good job of governing the UK. Who knew?
[If any of this turns out true I’ll eat my hat. Seriously though, while it’s fun to make fun of both parties by playing Democracy 3, you should definitely make the effort to go out and vote next week!]