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FT hysteria: ‘Corbyn’s platform is a tragic betrayal of Britain . . .’

The Labour Party’s inspiring manifesto is described by FT Journalist Robert Shrimsley (right) as “a self-indulgent and ideologically obsessed clique, holding open the door of Number 10 for Mr Johnson . . . economically ruinous; a manifesto that effectively tells outside investors the UK is closed for business . . .  the cumulative effect is an all-out attack on wealth creators which will deter foreign investment.

Brief comment on foreign policy. “Electing Mr Corbyn would be handing control of Britain’s defences to people who think the wrong side won the cold war”.

He continues: “For all those yearning for more investment in public services, a fairer economy, a saner Brexit and those just desperate to be rid of a government which has deepened the divides in the nation, Labour’s approach is a shameful betrayal“ after conceding:

It may yet be that his potpourri of policies can win enough support among the young, the environmentally concerned and those who have suffered under austerity to stop Mr Johnson. There is no doubt Mr Corbyn has mobilised an activist base as no other recent leader has managed . . . but time is running out”


Eleven FT readers criticised yesterday’s FT editorial: “Labour’s manifesto adds up to a recipe for decline”, subtitled Jeremy Corbyn’s hard-left programme will wreck the UK economy

  • However much you disagree with the Labour manifesto – and I personally disagree with much of it, especially on nationalisation – it is an honest, decent and transparent set of proposals, fully costed. It is actually easy to disagree with it in its detail and clarity.
  • This editorial is based on conjecture rather than any facts. The Labour manifesto only looks so radical given the extent of the move to the right the Tories have dragged the country to over the last decade. 
  • It’s been a decade of ideologically driven austerity which has decimated local services with the the only winners a few of the super elite and big companies. If this experience of the last decade doesn’t call for a “radical” change in our politics, whenever will this need arise?

  • Look outside your gated communities and your shiny office buildings – Britain is hurting because of your hubris. We need real change. If that radical change hurts some of you who have caused this decline, good.
  • Those who claim Labour’s manifesto will wreck the economy must consider who, ultimately, this economy is for. When the fifth-richest country in the world cannot feed its children, house its working poor or treat its sick, its economy is already wrecked.”
  • You have foolishly believed the right’s false propaganda that the democratic state is incompetent to radically transform society for the benefit of all (well, most). “Those who claim Labour’s manifesto will wreck the economy must consider who, ultimately, this economy is for. When the fifth-richest country in the world cannot feed its children, house its working poor or treat its sick, its economy is already wrecked.”
  • This article is mistaken in suggesting this manifesto is a throwback to the seventies. Things have changed, not everywhere for the better and this is a radical programme for the future. Time to get the neo-liberal blinkers off.
  • I can’t help noticing there is no mention of the financial transaction tax in the article. Too close to the bone? Or perhaps simply, much too sensible and reasonable for your diatribe?
  • On railway, most countries with successful railway services retain majority public ownership of the system (Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain … just to name a few). One should be agnostic on the model and look at the empirical evidence. Also, the entire contractual arrangements in public monopolies don’t necessarily mean public jobs — again there are different models!
  • Why does this editorial spout rhetoric without evidence?  Without reference to your own data analyses?  The last ten years of deregulation has hugely increased poverty, homelessness, use of food banks, and cut all social welfare and education funding in real terms. AND it has doubled the national debt. Corbyn’s policies will restore the balance between wealth and income as Thomas Piketty and many progressive economists (Wren-Lewis, Stiglitz, Mazzucato, Krugman, Blanchflower) suggest. I expect more from the FT than neoliberal platitudes devoid of data.
  • Socialism my foot – this is social democracy, it used to be quite fashionable, remember?  Corbyn’s spending plans will make the UK a typical European country, next to Germany, in terms of government expenditure. (See FT Nov 21).The more recently fashionable neoliberal model has got us into a right old mess.  Maybe this country can provide an example of the necessary corrective which others will follow – wouldn’t that be a turn-up for the books given our recent embarrassing hopelessness? 





Labour Party Manifesto: ignore the scaremongering; the electoral choice is status quo/client state – or social democracy

The content of the 14 anti-Corbyn articles published in the Murdoch Times today (post Manifesto) went unread, in favour of one of the four accounts in the Financial Times.

The FT notes that whereas previous Labour leaders, from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband, accepted the market economy, the ‘hard-left clique around Jeremy Corbyn’ do not.

It acknowledges that the manifesto identifies areas that genuinely need fixing:

  • Though the Conservatives returned to power in 2010, real wageshave still not returned to their pre-crisis peak.
  • Homelessness has risen.
  • Basic public services such as the criminal justice system, social care and local government are dire.
  • Privatised water and rail companies are not delivering for users.
  • Large parts of the population feel excluded from the bright spots of prosperity, mainly in the south-east.

The FT refers to the ‘vast expansion of the state’.

But the nationalisation proposals would, in most cases, merely return ownership of transport and other utilities from foreign state-owned industries to the British state.

As one correspondent wrote recently: “Which other mainstream European country has allowed wholesale privatisation of what used to be state owned businesses?”

The Independent searched Companies House records which revealed a host of foreign state-owned public services receiving ‘UK citizens’ millions’. A few are listed below:

  • ScotRail franchise awarded to the Netherlands’ state-owned Abellio,
  • Arriva now in the hands of Germany’s state-owned Deutsche Bahn,
  • EDF, majority-owned by the French state,
  • the industrial energy supplier GDF Suez, part-owned by France.
  • Scottish Power owned by Spain’s Iberdrola,
  • and Yorkshire Water, 26% owned by the Singapore government’s sovereign wealth fund,

‘Labour is proposing a staggering increase in inheritance, income and corporation taxes’.

Currently, low average earners in Britain on salaries of £25,000, or “middle-class” individuals on £40,000, enjoy among the lowest personal tax rates of ‘advanced European countries’, while high earners on £100,000 see less of their income taken in tax than almost anywhere else in Europe.

Labour’s proposed high spending plans amount to just 6% of the national income

According to the FT’s calculation (Ed, double-checked) – Jeremy Corbyn’s £83bn ‘dream spending plan’, is based on using merely 6% of a national income of over £544bn to bring Britain and its services up to French and German, Irish and Swedish levels of social care and other services.

Evidently the FT’s apprehensions about the ‘vast’ expansion of the state and the high spending plans are exaggerated. Does their major concern lie in the brief reference to the UK’s “treasured status as a beacon for foreign investment”?

The unsensational truth is that Labour’s manifesto is grounded in ethical and moral arguments and merely intends to move steadily towards social justice and greater equality through legislative reform.