Media 60: the BBC, aka the ministry for disinformation, attacks an ‘alliance of leftists and libertarians’
Analysis’ latest programme indicates that the political establishment is seriously worried about the pro-poor, anti austerity economic programme of the new Labour administration with its talented line-up of advisers which includes David Blanchflower, Thomas Piketty, Richard Murphy, Joseph Stiglitz, Ann Pettifor and Simon Wren-Lewis.
Universal Basic Income was a vehicle selected to downgrade ‘the left’ – or the Corbyn threat to vested interests.
Briefly it asserts that UBI:
- gives the right to be idle/lazy.
- is a bizarre idea, a Utopian daydream,
- is gaining serious traction on the left and
- is just the ‘flavour month for policy wonks’.
On the programme she called UBI “an idea winning support from an unlikely alliance of leftists and libertarians” and on Twitter: “Universal basic income: salvation for the left or the seeds of its destruction?” Search engines find Is the left’s big new idea a ‘right to be lazy’? – BBC News.
Sonia made serious omissions – due to ignorance or strategy? Though carefully lacing the programme with references to robots, she interviewed no acknowledged experts on the subject of UBI and never referred to the widespread interest and pilot projects by governments and universities in other countries.
So who is Sonia? The invaluable Public Affairs News enlightens us
Sonia Sodha, appeared on the programme merely as the chief leader writer for the Observer. She did not tell listeners that she is employed by the establishment’s PR supremo.
As several times stated on the programme she was a policy adviser to Ed Miliband but an online search reveals that she has now joined the Westminster Policy Institute, headed by Sean Worth, a special adviser to David Cameron in Downing Street. WPI describes itself as an experienced and highly-networked team of consultants drawn from backgrounds in Downing Street, the Treasury and senior policy and media roles, providing strategic advice and hands-on support.
To compensate for the programme’s deficiencies, here is a helpful thumbnail UBI sketch on Money Week, no hotbed of the ‘loony left’, but a widely read financial magazine:
(UBI) makes all work pay by abolishing the classic trap of all means-tested benefits.
Under a universal income, there are no perverse disincentives that give people an excuse to stay at home in the face of an effective marginal tax rate of 80%.
Given that one of the main challenges of the age appears to be in-work poverty, rather than mass unemployment, a basic income system could play a significant role – especially in an age of disruptive technologies that make working lives less and less secure.
Nor is there any disincentive to prudent long-term saving – no one has their benefits stopped for having too much in the bank.