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The Labour Party is in jubilant mood as it meets for its annual conference

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A J Maher

Bagehot will probably not take any consolation from the fact that all those enthused young people contemplating the intoxicating possibility of a post capitalist society have been liberated by the Brexit vote from the bondage imposed by a post democratic euro dispensation in which such socialist possibilities were strictly prohibited by the "rules".
Jeremy Corbyn gets it though.......

A J Maher in reply to aLittleTimeToSpare

In the real and existing world there are EU rules that prohibit state aid - Labour want to provide support to Port Talbot steel makers and to channel public funds into other areas of the non service economy.
In the real and existing world there are EU rules prohibiting nationalisation of existing privately owned supply (energy, water and rail). Labour wants to nationalise these sectors.

In the real and existing world the EU imposes a budgetary supervisory role over member states. These rules employ a framework that is not only anti Marxist but anti Keynesian.Under this EU regime of supervision a Labour government could face fines if it implemented its stated objectives of ending austerity by increasing debt or providing a peoples QE .

In the real & existing world the EU has championed labour "reforms" which means wage cuts, piecework and diminished pension entitlements. Within the eurozone the EU has taken extreme measures against economies which did not agree to cut public sector pay and pension rights. A left wing Greek government was forced to impose these cuts by deliberate financial suffocation orchestrated by EU institutions.

As for the youth - the youth of Europe are clamouring for less Europe not more. They aren't just struggling to fund a deposit on a house they are struggling to eat. They are enduring unemployment rates that extend from 25% unemployed to 50% unemployed. They are voting for hard left eurosceptic parties and even hard right eurosceptic parties. The only reason that British youth are more enthusiastic is because British eurosceptics won an earlier fight against joining the euro and thereby liberated them from the same condition of mass unemployment and destitution suffered by their continental peers.

In the same way British youth are now able to talk about radical socialist measures precisely because Brexit means that the straitjacket of EU rules is going to be abolished and the parameters of the possible have thus been radically extended. Brexit makes "Socialism within one country" possible.

There is therefore no universe in which the EU can be portrayed as an ally of any version of the post capitalist cause - or of the youth cohort for that matter. The EU is what the Bennite/ Corbynite British left have always said it is - a bosses club.


Too much "oohhh Jeremy Corbyn" mouthed by Diane Abbott and not enough policy. Theresa May is a textbook example of what happens during presidential campaigning if the offer is not diversified and something happens to the "president".

Jeremy Corbyn should spend less time mopping up the adulation of an adoring crowd and work out what justifies a Shadow Home Secretary who cannot say how many Police we need, how many we have got and what they cost because she is diabetic. That is insulting to diabetics. Diane Abbott is a walking excuse for failure with nothing to offer Home Office policy.

Fudging the BREXIT that Labour wants will not win it votes when people realise the consequences and even less will refusing to have it debated at the Party Conference contribute to the formation of a Labour Government. JC has work to do.


a) They must be so happy their dream opportunity to demonstrate that this time socialism will work and prove that the 100% disaster rate of socialism will be reduced to 99.99999% and all thank to the most leaderless and incompetent Tory PM ever.
b) The brainless millennials that support so much the socialist Corbyn will discover how nice is leaving without Uber (already in London thank to the socialist mayor); with only one provider of internet service at a speed that will allow the state firewall to control their BBC content; that there will not be works for them (except that in the public sector); that Uber, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, etc will be under the control of the state; and that they will have to cue for hours in the state-regulated coffee shops, etc... Still not clear why they do not go to socialist Venezuela if they like so much living under socialism.
It is funny but the brainless Millenials and English Northern do not want Governments and the EU to run business but blindingly support Corbyn that want to do just that. Clearly, youngers do not know what socialism is and neither the people that millennials tend to trust do not seem to have any idea themselves.
Perhaps the most important reason millennials are less concerned about socialism is that they associate socialism with Scandinavia, not the Soviet Union, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Mao's China, etc. Modern “socialism” today appears to be a gentler, kinder version. For instance, countries like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway offer a far more generous social safety net with much higher taxes pay only by the super rich that will continue to live in the UK happily and paying 300% of taxes.
These countries actually are not socialist, but “socialistic.” To accommodate their massive social welfare spending, these countries opened their economies to free-market forces in the 1990s, sold off state-owned companies, eased restrictions on business start-ups, reduced barriers to trade and business regulation, and introduced more competition into healthcare (privatize NHS) and public services.
In fact, today these countries outrank the United States on business freedom, investment freedom, and property rights. So, if anything, the lesson from Scandinavian countries is that market reforms, not socialist ones, explain their prosperity.
Anyway, everything will be a lost to time and space if the rest of the country realize that super-hard Brexit will be a minor annoyance if compared with having socialism. Mrs May & Co are failing to realise that under Corbyn the UK will be the Venezuela of Europe

Iain Salisbury

As I was saying:
It might be useful to consider what Corbyn and his sidekicks actually stand for. His aide, Shamus Milne, recruited the political officer of the Marxist-controlled union Unite, Andrew Murray, to help run Labour’s election campaign. It was a distraction for Murray as he was in the process of purging non-Marxists from the union, including Gerard Coyne whose offence was to reveal that the boss had purloined 400,000 pounds from members to buy a luxury flat. Unsurprisingly, Corbyn is pledged to restore the kind of plenipotentiary powers to these cliques not seen in the United Kingdom since the 1970s.
Murray is archetypal New, New-Labour, being a member of the Communist Party of Britain until stepping down last December to join Corbyn. He has served on the executive, praises North Korea as “people’s Korea,” and worships Stalin. The latter, whose slaughter dwarfs that of Hitler, apparently imposed some “harsh measures but we are all Stalinists” in the fight.
The Communist Party of Britain is the Soviet-inspired rump of those on the Left who were not appalled by Khrushchev’s atrocities in Hungary in 1956. But even this was nothing like enough for Milne and Murray. Both were members of the Straight Left faction of the Party, which opposed any democratic wavering among the comrades or any criticism of atrocities by Communist regimes.
Corbyn has confirmed that his own socialism is identical to Murray’s and he is a vociferous and uncritical admirer of the present regime in Venezuela. He even borrowed Hugo Chávez’s “21st century socialism” slogan at the last Labour Party conference. Things may not be quite so peachy in Caracas-on-Thames as in the original, however, since we don’t enjoy the largest oil reserves in the world.
The age at which Conservatives outnumber Labour supporters at the last election is 47. Symbolically, these people were born at the beginning of the 1970s, possibly the most traumatic post-war decade in Britain. It began with a Tory government being overwhelmed by massively powerful public-sector unions, most notably in the nationalised coal industry, and forced to give way to a Labour administration with an agenda strikingly similar to that of Jeremy Corbyn today. Nationalisation was expanded while Labour’s union paymasters were to enjoy ruinous pay rises coupled with even more power to disrupt the economy. It was all to be funded through marginal taxes that went as high as 98 percent. Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey certainly tried to make good his pledge to “squeeze the rich till the pips squeak.”
It goes without saying that this foray into the hinterland of the Laffer curve failed to raise any significant revenue and the government was forced to borrow more money than all previous administrations, through peace and war, combined. Inflation peaked at 24 percent and, after dipping slightly, it was rising sharply by the end of the decade. The social consequences of all this became manifest by late 1978, in what became known as “the winter of discontent,” when Healey could no longer borrow or print enough cash to grease the ever-itching palms of the unions as well as subsidise the bloated public sector. Rubbish piled up in the streets, much as it does in Labour controlled Birmingham today, and even dying did you no good — the gravediggers were all on strike!
Patricio Navia has suggested in the Buenos Aires Herald that, having lived through “Corbyn’s model,” the people of Latin America are unlikely to embrace it again anytime soon. The results of the recent French election also indicate that voters are broadly split between those who think socialism might be a good idea ... and those who have actually experienced it.
Incidentally, following the 2010 election, Labour was 48 seats behind the Conservatives. Writing in the Communist newspaper Morning Star, Jeremy Corbyn described this as “disastrous.” After losing a third election in succession, he now trails by 56.

blue asgard in reply to guest-newiilw

As you say, 'Peak Corbyn', and it is passing. The Corbynistas (and here I especially mean Momentum) fail to understand that their political stance is full of holes and only survives because of the pathetic performance of The Other Lot. It's the politics of the Last Man Standing.
If, indeed, there is a large centrist vote to be had in the UK it is not, so far, being addressed properly. The Corbynistas are essentially the successors of the people who supported the Labour party of Michael Foot and 'the longest suicide note in political history'. Post Falkands it was theTories who looked like the Last Men(?- that's the quote) standing, both in 1983 and 1987, and Labour had mopped up everyone likely to vote for their backward-looking view. Meanwhile in 2017, that backward looking view is back, and beyond there is that large centrist hole, unpopulated by the 500,000 Corbynistas or what's left of Momentum when you take that number out, but there are about 37,000,000 voters out there and half a million is less than 1.5% of that.
And nature Abhors a Vacuum. The next election won't be 1983 all over again but will nonetheless have its deja-vu aspects.


I think youll find that Saint Jezza does not limit his demonising to just the other side.

Labour - the party that likes to say 'Well not discuss this - Europe, taxes, anything'

Labour are trading short lived popularity for a manifesto that says Yes to everything. Give it a few more months and theyll be tearing the party apart.

guest-newiilw in reply to blue asgard

Thanks for the reply. I watched BBC Parliament covering the Lab Conf yesterday for John McDonnell's speech and saw both Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer make their address. JMcD's speech was the only part that looked properly organised. You stand to the right of me in taking us back to Michael Foot as I do not have too much of a problem with some of JMcD's views, nor is he risible. He managed a large local authority budget to no bad effect.

"If we can print money to bail out banks, we can print it to build railways" is not a contradiction in terms. Capitalism as we now know it has had a good run, rewarded a few people not especially honestly and left everyone else out. Threatening to re-nationalise the utilities is a good positioning stance for much greater state regulation since the infrastructure investment that ought to have resulted from private capital has not materialised but unjustified dividends and egregious management remuneration have. In order to prevent capital flight shortly after a putative Chancellorship of the Exchequer held by JMcD he would have to climb down from confiscation, not be able to pay for the shares at market prices and get them to settle for more teeth at the likes of Ofgem and Ofwat.

Conference as it appeared to me was a sixth form exam results party with people just walking up from the floor making points of order out of the blue and outwith the control of the Chair. Others were waving inflatable willies in order to get noticed so they could be called to speak. There was a bracing stand off when some who had not been called went to the rostrum anyway resisting being told by the Chair "You have not been called" with "Oh yes I have!" to be rebuffed with "No you have not".

They could not manage their way out of a paper bag never mind into Whitehall. Emily Thornberry fell in with the party atmosphere and made a poor contribution which overshadowed her plan to revise the arms export control policy with greater public accountability. Keir Starmer and John McDonnell did try with some success to look like an alternative government but Keir Starmer did not produce a strategy to alter our relations with the EU without ruining both them and the UK.

Clement P

Every generation must re-win its freedoms.
If enough young people think that BBC journalists are conservative, I fear the next generation is lost.
The establishment, including institutions like the economist, have done an appalling job of educating the minds the next generation against insidiously bad ideas like communism.
Partly because members of the establishment themselves have, at least at times, also bought into post-modern nihilism and the ideas of the Marxist narrative of oppressor and oppressed.

blue asgard in reply to guest-newiilw

You are quite right, organisation and discipline matter, even in politics. And you are also quite right to suggest that the breakdown of discipline in these debates is because of a variety of unfocused agendas, individuals trying to get noticed, people simply letting of steam.
I am firmly of the view that leadership in politics is just like the main quality of an A-list actor. It isn't the message, it is the person. Right now Labour lacks at the top those A-list qualities, with the consequences for which you provide evidence. They aren't the only ones. The Lib Dem leadership notably lacked it last time round and were duly punished at the ballot-box, and one would hardly characterise our Prime Minister as an A-list personality, which, arguably, is why she managed to turn a sure-fire win into a near-defeat at her first attempt. As for policies Labour isn't showing much difference between themselves in 2017 and Foot's party in 1983. The outstanding exception is that they are nominally supportive of the nuclear deterrent while 1983 Labour would have abolished it. In practice I suspect this is an entryist lie. See a new Labour government under Corbyn kill off the nuclear deterrent in order to pay for their economic illiteracy.
While I agree that Capitalism red in tooth and claw has had its day, this was predicted some time ago. The prediction was that wealth would become concentrated in the hands of an untouchable few and the lack of money in circulation would cause a catastrophic deflation. While that concentration has been stymied to a degree, we have teetered (not just in the UK but in many countries) on the edge of that deflation nonetheless. Meanwhile economics is changing with the rise of AI and automation, which may well accelerate that concentration process again. People say 'it won't happen' or 'it won't happen soon' but I would be surprised if we weren't in the grip of it by the 2030s. That is just two Parliaments away. If one of those is a reactionary yesterday's failed socialism Parliament then we really will be unprepared for what is about to hit us.
And I'm not saying the Tories would be any better prepared. They are led by a bunch of ignorant sleepwalkers who would no better prepare the country for what is to come than the Corbynist Pied Piper playing yesterday's Golden Oldies. We need urgently to rebuild our economy, notably in the way we pay for the welfare state, which is a disastrous fudge which in turn is unstoppably unravelling in its present form. Nationalising public utilities is not the way to go (but then nor is PFI in its present form) and is just pouring money - money that will be vitally needed elsewhere - into a hole in the ground. I cannot see a future Corbynista government seeing this and not thinking that scrapping that expensive deterrent would be a short-term solution. Whatever they say. And if they are'lt trustworthy there, where will they be trustworthy as the economy collapses around their ears post Brexit? Venezuela, here we come.


I didn't believe it was possible for journalists to behave professionally. These days everyone is a professional, even prostitutes.


Relax Bagehot. The test will come when Labour's election manifesto is published. So far only the soft side of Cobyn's principles are on display.

aLittleTimeToSpare in reply to A J Maher

So in your imagination there are -- as yet unnamed -- post-capitalist ideas being blocked by EU rules. Then you claim the ability to read them in the minds of these young people. My imagination tells me that they very much appreciate the freedom to migrate to other European countries. They would be nauseated by hyperbole about liberation from bondage coming from someone who wants to take that right away from them.
Nor can you take any consolation from fact that these young people are mostly pretty keen on the EU for more reasons than just that. Jeremy Corbyn gets it though, that's why he keeps saying stuff like "It's not binary."