Corbyn the capitalism killer – Labour’s mad manifesto
BY TIM DAWSON
Labour’s manifesto has landed and it’s worse than we expected. As the BBC’s Laura Keunssberg noted yesterday, it feels like the political programme Corbyn has always wanted to offer. And that should scare everyone.
It is worth reminding ourselves of the wing of the Labour Party Corbyn and McDonnell come from. They are the far, far Left – too left-wing to ever hold office, too left-wing to ever be taken seriously (which is why Tony Blair didn’t bother to kick them out). Nelson Mandela rejected them. Clare Short thought them a disgrace. They occupied their time on the fringes of the Labour movement, pursuing fanciful left-wing causes and agitating for the crisis of Capitalism – and subsequent Marxist revolution – which everybody knew would never come. Whilst McDonnell was never popular with his fellow MPs, Corbyn commanded a certain fondness, including from senior Conservatives, who viewed the dishevelled old tankie with wry affection.
But this providence is key.
This isn’t the Labour of Miliband, Brown, Blair, Kinnock or Callaghan. It’s not even the Labour of Attlee – and we should remember that virtually all of Attlee’s nationalisations and government initiatives had to be reversed (perhaps my favourite example of Socialist exigency remains the Tanganyika ground-nut scheme, which perfectly encapsulated so much of that now inexplicably deified government’s well-meaning incompetence). Corbyn and McDonnell – along with Soviet Union apologist Seumas Milne and former Communist Party member Andrew Murray – have crafted this document, and they are the Real Deal. Antediluvian, anti-aspiration, anti-British. Miliband et al were light beer; this is the strongest Scotch.
Reading the manifesto – and I unwisely ploughed through it yesterday evening, when I could have been doing something more worthwhile, like banging my head against a wall – I was struck by the sheer breadth of its reactionary fervour.
Some of the key measures, filleted for your “delight”:
- Less a tax bombshell, more a nuclear blast, with commitments to a financial transactions tax, a windfall tax, and hikes in corporation tax;
- Hundreds of billions of extra borrowing;
- £11bn windfall levy on oil companies;
- Scrapping tuition fees;
- A £10 minimum wage;
- “Free” broadband (at an actual cost of around £50 billion);
- A 5% pay rise for all public sector workers;
- Abolition of married person’s allowance;
- Reversal of restrictions on unions;
- VAT on private schools.
And who will fund all this? Well, it won’t be the “billionaires”, as Jeremy Corbyn pretends – because any billionaire will leave (indeed, businesses and individuals are already making plans to move should the Corbyn clown-car actually make it to Downing Street). It will be, as the IFS has noted, the ordinary man who pays. It’s like buying someone a present then sending them a bill afterwards.
This is a ruinous programme for government. And that’s setting aside Labour’s facetious position on Brexit, the Union (Corbyn won’t commit to saying he’s a Unionist) – and the ugly racism, nastiness and bigotry which the Corbyn Project has unleashed.
John McDonnell once said Venezuela demonstrated, “the contrast between capitalism in crisis and socialism in action”. There is no reason to believe he’s changed his mind.
And that’s the problem. This is a Labour Party which has rejected reason and fact to try and impose a Socialist regime. It has no respect for this country; no respect for our history; and no respect for proper political debate (which is why they are so content to try and scare the most vulnerable with false – incoherent – stories about the Conservatives “selling the NHS to Trump”).
But the simple fact that our national politics has arrived at this stage contains a lesson for the centre-right too.
At some point, we stopped making the case for capitalism. We stopped proudly proclaiming the virtues of free choice and a tempered, temperate government. When Tony Blair won in 1997, that was almost a vindication – we believed the intellectual battle for Freedom had been won. Even if the Conservatives win this election, as many predict, we must start making the case for free markets and free people with renewed vigour. Socialist ideas didn’t go away, they just went into hiding.
Corbyn and McDonnell mean it when they say they plan to fundamentally “rewire” this country.
Be afraid, Britain. Be very afraid.
Tim Dawson is a writer and journalist and the Editor of Free Market Conservatives. Follow him on twitter: @tim_r_dawson