Friday 17 November 2017

"I'd like to hear an example of a country where Corbyn and McDonnell's ideas have worked"

The bald man in the BBC Question Time audience demanded answers from the Labour shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, but he wasn't remotely interested in what she had to say, because he'd already diligently rote learned his political opinions from the right-wing media.

When he said "I'd like to hear an example of a country where Corbyn and McDonnell's ideas have worked" you might have imagined that he was interested in listening to the answer, but when Thornberry replied "most of central Europe" and when pressed to name specific countries she said "Germany" and "Sweden" he sneered derisively as if she was the delusional one.

Thornberry's response elicited cackling and sneering from the Tory tribailists in the BBC audience, but that just goes to show how these people have been led like sheep into believing that Jeremy Corbyn is some kind of terrifying left-wing extremist, rather than a centre-left democratic socialist who is proposing economic policies that are perfectly normal across Europe and the rest of the developed world.

Of course there is no country on Earth where a government has come to power and enacted absolutely everything in the Labour Party manifesto, but significant elements of Labour's economic policies are absolutely commonplace across the developed world.

One of Jeremy Corbyn's most prominent headline policies is the abolition of  tuition fees (which should more accurately be described as Aspiration Taxes) and making university education free. University education is free (or very low cost) across most of Europe, including Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and let's not forget Scotland either. If Germany and Scotland can afford to offer free university education, why can't England?

Jeremy Corbyn wants to reverse the extreme Tory cuts to Corporation Tax that have been going on since 2010. He plans to increase the rate for major corporations to 26%, while setting a lower rate of 21% for small corporations. 26% would still be the lowest rate in the G7 advanced economies, which means Corbyn's tax policies are so far from being extreme-left that they're actually more pro-corporate than the USA, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada!

One of Corbyn and McDonnell's most interesting ideas is the establishment of a National Investment Bank in order to fund future infrastructure projects. Other countries that have National Investment Banks/Sovereign Wealth Funds include Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, and the Chinese economic powerhouse actually has several.

The Labour Party Manifesto pledged to renationalise the National Grid. Some might see this as radical leftist extremism, but they'd have to be utterly clueless to have been bamboozled into such a position by the right-wing dominated media, because the United States actually has a network of not-for-profit publicly accountable electricity distribution grids.

Perhaps if you're so rabidly right-wing that you think Texas is an extreme-left state awash with commies and Marxists you might believe that Corbyn's energy policies are extreme-left, or maybe you've got some semblance of a grip on political reality?

Corbyn and McDonnell also want to renationalise the railways. There are several countries in the developed world with national rail companies including France, Norway, Singapore, Hong Kong and Italy. The really interesting thing is that under the Tories' shambolic privatisation agenda these foreign state rail companies are actually running 74% of the franchises on the UK rail network, and the only country that is banned from bidding to run UK rail franchises is the UK itself.

Perhaps a more pertinent question when it comes to national rail networks wouldn't be where else do they have publicly owned railways, but where else have they managed to make such a godawful, inefficient, and ideologically-incoherent mess of their rail network?

Another Labour Manifesto pledge was to bring the Royal Mail back under public ownership. Other countries with national mail systems include Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and Finland.

Then there's the policy of reversing the Tory strategy of carving up the NHS and distributing the pieces to profiteering corporations (including corporations run by major Tory party donors). You don't have to look very far for an example of a successful not-for-profit public health system. The NHS itself was doing brilliantly before the Tories set about vandalising it. The NHS was ranked as the most efficient health service in the world, and had the highest approval ratings ever, then the Tories imposed huge austerity cuts and imposed a massive top down reorganisation called the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. Since then waiting times have skyrocketed, huge numbers of A&E units, maternity wards and walk in centres have been axed 
(often against furious local opposition), NHS staff are overworked, underpaid and demoralised  and huge numbers of people are dying as a consequence.

The truth is that we don't have to look abroad for evidence that Labour's policies work, we just have to look at the devastating ideological vandalism the Tories are inflicting on the NHS, and recognise that Labour have pledged to stop the vandalism and set about reversing the damage.

The problem of course is that vast numbers of people are so shockingly gullible that they simply believe what the mainstream media tell them about Jeremy Corbyn being some kind of terrifying leftist bogeyman with bonkers extreme-left policies. They're unwilling to even consider the fact that most of Corbyn's headline economic policies are commonplace across the developed world, and in fact it's radically right-wing Tory policies like handing control of state schools to private sector pseudo-charities, privatising police services, and vandalising the health system that are desperately unpopular, and pretty bloody rare in successful developed economies.

So the big question has to be how do we reach out to people who are so damned gullible that they uncritically rote learn the mainstream media propaganda about Jeremy Corbyn being an extreme-left bogeyman, and sneer derisively when anyone points out the fact that Corbyn's policies are absolutely commonplace across the developed world while the Tories are the ideological extremists?

How do we reach out to people who prefer to believe in mainstream media lies than in observable reality?

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



Anonymous said...

This answers the question "I'd like to hear an example of a country where Corbyn and McDonnell's economic ideas exist" not necessarily where they "have worked". You are just saying "Canada has idea X", but not saying if it's really worth the effort of nationalising it and if people are better off with it.

Unknown said...

@anonymous Well if you want to see whether they have worked or not, you can easily compare... Norway's Sovereign Wealth fund is is extremely successful and pretty well known - just Google it.
The benefits are obvious, no? Rather than borrow all your money from private investors, you can build things yourself? Not need to generate profit on it? I mean surely this makes sense.

The corporate tax rate... Well, I guess that's not what you're asking about.

In the case of the rail network, just look at the failure of the current model, and then look maybe at the East Coast line as an example of a well run national operation: the franchise failed, it was renationalised, returned to profit, taken over by virgin, then failed again.
So much for the "efficiency" of private companies.

Does any of that convince you?

Unknown said...

I would go further and get rid of all the means tested benefits and give everyone a minimum national wage. I would like to know where all our billions of tax revenues are going and how much waste and mis-management is going on. I work in a school and its incredible how much cronyism and low level corruption is going on.

camden mcdonald said...

People, even trad Lab voters, are genuinely confused about Labour at the moment. They want what Labour are offering, but are constantly told that it's unrealistic, naive and, in fact, dangerous. The most common political position currently is Bloody Politicians Only in it for Themselves. That is completely due to the main TV outlets and tabloid headlines. Most people don't look any further than that to inform their opinions.

George Carty said...

Norway was able to build a huge sovereign wealth fund because it had lot of oil and only about 5 million population. It's not a model for the UK (although it might have been for Scotland, if they'd become independent circa 1980).

Mighty Drunken said...

The UK could have created a sovereign wealth fund, instead Thatcher used the proceeds of the North Sea to reduce taxes.
True the fund would not be as large as Norway's, but it would be better than what we actually did with the money.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to point out Israel was founded as a socialist state and still has universal healthcare, free tuition, kibbutzes, various nationalised services and a program that pays for immigrants to go live their (as long as they're Jewish)

Anonymous said...

Hi Thomas,

I check your website for new posts on a regular basis and enjoy reading them. Just a random question here... Why did you feel the need to highlight the fact that the man in the photo is bald? Is that an attempt to diminish him even more than necessary? We can all see he has no hair and why is that even relevant to your article? Also, with regard to the photos you sometimes place before the main body of the article - like the latest one with Jo Swinson, Johnson and Corbyn - the first two with stupid grins on their faces and Corbyn looking all serious. I'd somewhat compare it to what I see on the front pages of all those rags as I walk past the newspaper section at my local supermarket - primitiveness at its best.

All the best

Unknown said...

I would like to thank you all for educating me with the truth on some facts I never knew, some of the comments show how Propaganda has reached millions of our Communitys and they speak in soundbites etc and refuse to see both sides of the coin or believe the truth .
I was not a Labour Candidate but I truly believe after listening to both sides honestly that Mr Jeremy Corbin is the Leader to be followed and voted in he is an honest caring man.

Please show how JC Twice won The World Peace Negotiator Award , but never brags about it even when goaded in Parliament & in the Bised Murdoch Media. Josie

Anonymous said...

On two occasions Labour have put forward policies that directly negate property rights with the state taking control of property as they see fit. The first was last year with the homeless crisis in which Labour stated any empty homes would be commandeered by the state (Labour chose to ignore the possibility of this creating state legislated crack dens) and the second is recently in which they voted by assembly to abolish private schools (so privately owned businesses) and re-allocate their resources to other schools.

This is Marxist B.S straight out of the manifesto and there is not a single country or state that has not rapidly slid downhill that hasn't interfered with property rights in this manner i.e: The Soviet Union, Mao's China, North Korea, Venezuela and more.

Anonymous said...

@The Mighty Drunken:
"The UK could have created a sovereign wealth fund, instead Thatcher used the proceeds of the North Sea to reduce taxes."

How?? Please provide evidence or proof of this claim? The Governments before Thatcher had managed to ask for two billion pound bailouts from the IMF due to their incompetency running the centralised aspects of the UK economy. The UK was literally working with four days of power at a time because of this and British Industry was simply not doing well enough to draw in enough tax revenue to keep itself going. Bodies were piling up outside of Morgues on the regular... Where on earth did you get the idea that the UK could create a sovereign wealth fund? What industry are you talking about?

The scary thing about these pages is the absolute refusal for people who comment here to look at the Economic history of the UK, what caused the winter of discontent and instead blame everything on Neo-Liberalism and Thatcher and assume that's not going to lead to people asking basic questions.

Are you all literally hoping that if we ignore the miners strike we can just re-do everything and it'll be fine? Man, I'm all up for critiquing economic practices, Thatchers de-regulation of the banks obviously led to the 2008 crash (though no one was going to predict that) but just ignoring history speaks of a stupidity and ignorance that would see the world burn.

Anonymous said...

@Nicholas Motte
"Well if you want to see whether they have worked or not, you can easily compare... Norway's Sovereign Wealth fund is is extremely successful and pretty well known - just Google it.
The benefits are obvious, no? Rather than borrow all your money from private investors, you can build things yourself? Not need to generate profit on it? I mean surely this makes sense."

North Sea Oil has had falling revenue since the early 2000's and continues to do so. How is the UK to build this sovereign wealth fund if it does not have a natural resource that brings in as much revenue as Norway?

How are you going to get in this extra that you'll need to cover the UK's larger population as well? Have you thought what you've said through because at the moment you appear to be talking about complete whimsy. But please, provide us with facts and your plan of recovering the UK economy based upon what you've just stated.

Anonymous said...

Mate this is amazing, and very revealing. You should watch your neck printing stuff like this. Be safe. Keep up the good work.