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The media seem to be getting rather carried away. Labour lost the GE by a comfortable margin on a manifesto that essentially said 'cake for all, every day'. What more can they promise? The current excitable volte-face that's happening with regards to Corbyn, where claims of being 'a government in waiting' seem to ignore the result, as well as ignoring the potential (probable) distance to the next election- several years.
Furthermore, it's one thing to vote for a party (or indeed a referendum position) when you don't expect them to win. It's quite another when there seems a serious prospect of it happening.
An interesting column, but also a daft, ill-considered one, swept up by a collective mania.
In setting out a 'Hard Brexit' position in the GE, the Tories seemed willing to risk half the vote. Combine with the 'Dementia Tax' and the poor campaign, they were as much responsible for Labour's 'success' as Corbyn and co were.
Surely the Tories will recognise that Labour have abandoned the centre ground, put their swivel-eyed loons (Gove, Fox, Rees-Mogg) back in their box, take a soft Brexit position and win a landslide.
A key problem about the Corbyn approach, is that - as far as I know - nothing has been said about *how* restoring pre-Thatcher arrangements would lead to results which were better than when we had them previously. While if what is aimed at is something more seriously socialist, it has not been explained how the operation of a socialist economy would work. Part of the problem seems to me to be that New Labour and then the Conservatives were complacent about a lot of arrangements which were introduced to try to simulate markets, but which clearly do not work well. While the Conservatives - with their own recent lapses into what looks like an agenda for inept economic interventionism - are in no position to press some of the issues which Corby should be being forced to face. I'd commend to all involved a reading of Simon Griffiths' *Engaging Enemies: Hayek and the Left*, as a reminder of some of the useful re-thinking that went on, on the Left in Britain - stuff which seems to have been forgotten about completely!
Good lord, am I actually reading an unbiased analysis of the British politics in the Economist without a fat layer of neoliberal sarcasm implied in every sentence mentioning Corbyn? Wow, one is genuinely amused. The Bagehot column has surprisingly become more impartial and therefore more interesting to read since the departure of the previous JC columnist.
Dear Bagehot, thank you for your insightful article. I have just finished reading Malaparte's "Tecnica del colpo di stato" (The Technique of the Coup d'Etat). Perhaps you know this book. I was struck by how much of what you write has parallels with Malaparte's seminal book. Could the Corbynistas be Malaparte fans too?
Corbyn was laying on the canvas 6 months ago, almost knocked out and the bout is not over, some crucial rounds remain that will show who is the real political pugilist..
Corbyn's Momentum could (and if he encounters opposition from those who respect the rule of law and constitutional propriety will) be easily be transformed into a paramilitary force of guardians of the revolution on the Cuban or Venezuelan pattern.
At the very least they will serve as a band of street fighters on the Weimar pattern,intimidating opponents,media and of course the voters.
As evidence I cite the last election and it's attacks on tory posters and placards and latterly the vile attacks on journalists who dare to ask awkward questions of the Dear Leader.
Neither Corbyn nor the coterie of calcified men and indescribably awful women who surround him have any respect for this country or it's people.They know however that a new society can only be built if you first destroy the old and that rampant inflation is as good a way as any.
Lenin declared that the printing press was the machine-gun that destroyed the middle classes and his admirers at the top of the labour party will remember that.
If Corbyn takes power and with it control of all the forces of the state I genuinely fear for Britain's future as a (reasonably) free country
Of course the obviously tory party led "vile" social media attacks directed at Corbyn personally, during the last election campaign have escaped your attention! The freedom to have a seat on your train to work and even the possibility of it arriving on time would be welcome. The saving of the NHS from the greedy tory backed corporations will be welcome by almost everyone, (apart from the money grabbing tory backed hitherto mentioned corps.).There might even be an end to the energy monopoly of the big 6 who have been ripping off the public for years and we may have the "freedom" to pay reasonable bills not controlled by the big 6 cartel. It is possible a lot more people will have a lot more freedom and be a lot more content under a labour government.
I'm very suspicious of Corbyn but your one-sided approach to the media attacks on both leaders mark you as just that: one-sided, and likely not fair-minded
Yes, the financial crisis seriously blunted the neoliberal claim to own the route to prosperity. But the rise and rise of China has demonstrated that state managed economies can succeed. People just aren't fearful of the left as they were when the looming menace of the Soviet Union coloured political discourse.
"the rise and rise of China has demonstrated that state managed economies can succeed." Indeed they have. Now let's review the steps necessary to achieve China's success.
Step 1: Build a massive police state that will arrest, torture and murder anyone who defies the government. Utterly and completely beat down your entire populace until they are terrified and compliant and then prohibit them from having more than one child in order to establish a demographic trajectory that a state directed economy can safely manage.
Step 2: Impoverish virtually you're entire population. GDP per person in China in 1986, when their growth truly began, was $282 A family of four there had less than $3.50 per day to live on .... all in ... food, housing, transportation, medical care .... everything. In other words, start from a fantastically low base with millions of utterly desperate people.
Step 3: Privatize massive parts of the state owned economy by selling assets at preferential rates to politically connected individuals and then threaten to imprison or impoverish anyone who objects. Labor protests? Arrest the leaders, torture them and send them to work camps. Reveal the misdeeds of communist party officials illegally stealing land or abusing workers? Arrest the leaders, torture them and send them to work camps. Simple yet effective.
Step 4: Destroy the environment. Poison the rivers and lakes, cloud the skies with air that literally kills thousands of people each year, provide people with contaminated food and consumer products. Offer no course for redress when individuals are harmed.
Step 5: When your growth potential from steps 1 through 4 is coming to an end, binge on credit. And that means everyone, state owned enterprises, local governments, private corporations, students, etc., etc., etc. Borrow and borrow and borrow some more. What could possibly go wrong?
I'm not sure China is exactly the model you're looking for when extolling the virtues of "state managed economies" guest.
Yes, the regime in China is vile and yes, it may well prove to be unsustainable. My point is that in the 1980s it was undeniable that the free west delivered better consumer goods and greater prosperity than those in the state controlled east. Remember those ludicrous Trabant cars and the exploding televisions? China's products are not like this. Lefties made excuses for Soviet human rights abuses, but you could always point out how demonstrably rubbish a Lada was. When Corbyn and Co trample over rights and freedoms in the name of the common good it will be harder to argue against it.
True, but I would argue that their products were predominantly designed by Western companies and then manufactured using Chinese engineers, many of whom were educated at Western Universities. Still, at least they're not trying to sells Ladas to the world.
Wlomwos - I suspect you would struggle to point us to a state controlled economy that doesn't come with a (typically brutal) authoritarian regime.
Interesting. I guess that I am in the category of those who will be squeezed until the pips squeak, and yet I muse that competion in the utilities is a joke that does not serve the consumers. Railways are in need of improvement. Will it all be better run from the center? Power, whether held by capital or by labour, always seems to corrupt. The fundamental flaw could be that most people ask "What's in it for me?" Or am I judging others by my own standards?
An elective dictatorship? If that is true, then the incumbent is making dictatorship look very difficult.
Nobody said it was easy. 8-)
The incumbent mislaid her majority