What are the differences between the Tory and Labour Manifestos?

Lord William Hague:

What is the main difference between the manifestos, Conservative and Labour?

Obviously, a big difference is Brexit. The Conservatives say Brexit will happen on 31st of January. The Labour Party say, well, we'll have another referendum on Brexit, although we're not sure which side Jeremy Corbyn is gonna be on. But the big difference is on economics, the biggest we've ever seen between the two main parties.


The Conservative Manifesto is what I would call a pretty centrist manifesto on tax and spending. The Labour Manifesto is the biggest commitment to tax and spending we've ever seen from any political party, ever, fighting an election in Britain, 83 billion pounds a year extra. I think it's the most misleading, the most irresponsible document ever put before the people of Britain in a general election.

David Miliband:

The question this week is what are we to make of the two manifestos?

Obviously, they are chalk and cheese. They could not be more different in ideological content. But I want to draw attention to some other differences. The Tories aims to reassure. Labour tried to inspire. The Tories trying to narrow the policy agenda. Labour tried to broaden it. The Tories tried to avoid a repetition of last time. Labour tried to achieve a repetition of what they perceive to be the success of last 2017 manifesto, even though they lost the election. I think a week after the manifestos were published, hardly anyone's talking about them.

Amid the current need to continually focus on the COVID-19 crisis, it is understandably hard to address other important issues. But, on March 31st, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed landmark facial recognition legislation that the state legislature passed on March 12, less than three weeks, but seemingly an era, ago. Nonetheless, it's worth taking a moment to reflect on the importance of this step. This legislation represents a significant breakthrough – the first time a state or nation has passed a new law devoted exclusively to putting guardrails in place for the use of facial recognition technology.

For more on Washington's privacy legislation, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Read our roundup of COVID-19 themes and stories from around the globe.

Europe skirts US sanctions to help Iran: While the US insists on tightening the sanctions noose around COVID-stricken Iran, European countries are now sending medical equipment. To do so, they are using for the first time a system called INSTEX, a back-channel financial mechanism created a year ago that allows Europe to maintain trade ties with Iran despite US sanctions. Recall that in 2018 the US pulled out of the multilateral Iran nuclear agreement and reimposed crippling sanctions – the Europeans stayed in the deal and have tried to salvage it. To date, Iran has suffered more than 3,000 deaths from COVID-19, one of the highest tolls in the world. Some say that Iran's failure to contain the contagion has been complicated further by US sanctions, which have thwarted the Islamic Republic's ability to fund medical imports. Tehran has urged the US to ease sanctions to no avail, but Ayatollah Khamenei has also, citing some wild conspiracy theories about the coronavirus' origin, refused medical aid from Washington.

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Laid-off hospitality workers tell their stories in their own words.

Ian Bremmer breaks down the massive economic toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on the hospitality and service industries in America and around the globe. In the U.S. alone, millions could face unemployment as businesses struggle to stay afloat.

Over the past decade or so, the European Union has weathered the global financial crisis, a migrant crisis, and the rise of populist nationalism. Sure, it's taken its fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, but the idea of a largely borderless Europe united by common democratic values has survived more or less intact.

Then came the coronavirus. The global pandemic, in which Europe is now one of the two main epicentres, is a still-spiralling nightmare that could make those previous crises look benign by comparison. Here are a few different ways that COVID-19 is severely testing the 27-member bloc:

The economic crisis: Lockdowns intended to stop the virus' spread have brought economic activity to a screeching halt, and national governments are going to need to spend a lot of money to offset the impact. But some EU members can borrow those funds more easily than others. Huge debt loads and deficits in southern European countries like Italy and Spain, which have been hardest hit by the outbreak so far, make it costlier for them to borrow than more fiscally conservative Germany and other northern member states. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, this imbalance nearly led the bloc's common currency, the Euro, to unravel.

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