Labour’s cult of misery
BY TIM DAWSON
Poverty. The hard left bloody love it.
Just take a look at one of their attack ads. Bleak, washed-out footage, dishevelled paupers in unwashed clothes, staggering to the food bank. It’s all straight from Jeremy Corbyn’s “Marxism for Dummies” book, of course – and, as an accurate picture of our country, it’s a load of old hokum.
“Poverty” is a term which is glibly used. Two nurses living together, perhaps on a combined income of £60,000, will be described by Corbynites as living in “poverty”. A young school-teacher on £28,000 will be living “hand-to-mouth”. This is not a rational way to talk about jobs, income or wages.
Poverty is defined as those living on 60% of median income. That is quite different to “absolute poverty” – or those living in penury. Penury in the UK has been largely eradicated; there are still some, although very few, individuals who live in a state of complete destitution – for example, the 9000 or so people who live literally on the streets. 9000 is too many, but we must understand that they are there for multiple reasons. Some have fallen through the system, others have run away from the system. We should be compassionate, but also circumspect. Labour’s solution, seizing property and divvying it up, is not rational.
The problem with our current measure of poverty is it is an argument for reducing inequality, rather than doing everything we can to uplift incomes. You will always, in a successful capitalist economy, have some earning less than others; 60% of median income will always exist no matter how high salaries or wealthy and innovative your country. If your aim is to create as much wealth as possible, thus ensuring everyone is as wealthy as possible, worrying about income inequalities must come second to ensuring the floor is at a level where everybody can enjoy a happy and prosperous life and afford the things they need.
The Labour Party is no longer interested in prosperity. The only business Corbyn, McDonnell and Milne are interested in is The Misery Business. Equality of outcome – the hard left mantra – is literally impossible to achieve without impoverishing us all. And even then, there will still be a wealthy tier, the Corbyns and McDonnells at the top of the government, and the Party apparatchiks responsible for distributing the centralised – and rationed – resources. It is the ultimate confidence trick.
John McDonnell is on video saying he’s a Marxist. He is on video salivating over the thought of a “crisis of capitalism”. The great irony of all this is that nothing has done more to alleviate poverty than free market capitalism. Individual agency; exchange; the chance to better yourself and your family. All this is alien to the hard left demagogues now running Labour.
“Popular capitalism,” said Mrs. Thatcher, whom McDonnell once joked about wishing to assassinate, “is nothing less than a crusade to enfranchise the many in the life of this nation. That is the way to one people, one nation.”
The Conservative mission is to make poor people rich. We should champion capitalism proudly. Wealthy, working people. Now, there’s a group the hard left really don’t like.
Tim Dawson is a writer and journalist and the Editor of Free Market Conservatives. Follow him on twitter: @tim_r_dawson