A good summary of Corbyn

June 7th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

George Will looks at Jeremy Corbyn in the Washington Post:

That year, Corbyn was elected to the House of Commons. He spent his next 32 years opposing the monarchy; writing columns for a communist newspaper; expressing admiration for Hugo Chávez, whose socialism propelled Venezuela toward today’s chaos; proposing that taxpayers should be permitted to opt out of paying for Britain’s army; advocating that Britain leave NATO and unilaterally scrap its nuclear deterrent; blaming NATO, meaning the United States, for Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine; calling the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah “friends”; appearing with and funding Holocaust deniers and other anti-Semites; criticizing China’s Communist regime for deviationism in accepting some free markets; demanding that Tony Blair, the only Labour leader since 1976 to win a general election (three of them), be tried as a war criminal (for supporting the Iraq War); praising Iraqi insurgents killing Americans; and calling the killing of Osama bin Laden a “tragedy.” Along the way, Corbyn got divorced because his wife insisted on sending their eldest son to a selective school whose admissions policy recognized merit.

If UK Labour had a different leader, they could be capitalising on the in-fighting within the Conservatives on the EU. But they remain unelectable.

UK Labour’s anti-semitism problem

May 2nd, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Naz Shah, the Bradford West MP accused of antisemitism, has been suspended from the Labour party “by mutual agreement” after David Cameron said it was “extraordinary” that someone who appeared to have suggested Israelis should be deported to the US continued to hold the Labour whip.

She effectively called for the destruction of Israel, saying it should be relocated to the US. This then led to Livingstone defending her by saying Hitler was a Zionist.

Labour third in Scotland

May 1st, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Scottish Labour’s manifesto launch setting out plans to heavily tax the rich has been overshadowed by a poll suggesting Labour could come third behind the Tories in Scottish elections for the first time in more than a century.

Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, said her party’s plan to raise income tax to 50p for the wealthiest earners represented the “big choice” facing voters on 5 May, and she claimed the Scottish National party would need to make cuts of £3bn.

Maybe NZ Labour will advocate a 50% tax rate also?

An Ipsos Mori poll for STV found that the Scottish Conservatives were two points ahead of Labour in the regional vote to select 56 MSPs, and one point behind in the constituency vote to chose 73 directly elected members.

Echoing other polls putting the two parties neck and neck, Ipsos Mori’s projections suggest the Tories would take 23 seats and Labour 20 – the latter 17 seats down on its tally in 2011.

Labour behing the Tories in Scotland is almost unthinkable. That would be like Labour being behind National in the Maori seats in NZ.

The UK Labour list of enemies

March 28th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Telegraph reports:

Jeremy Corbyn’s PMQ’s performance was an ‘effing disaster’ and David Cameron turned the Party into a laughing stock, according to one Labour MP.

John Woodcock accidentally tweeted out a private message on Twitter, which he has since deleted, saying: “F****** disaster. Worse week for Corbyn since he came in and that stupid f****** list makes us into a laughing stock.”

The Prime Minister repeatedly mocked the Labour leader for a leaked ‘list’, which categorises Labour MPs by their loyalty to Corbyn.

“You can include me in the ‘core support’ group”, he joked.

Labour’s London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan and Ed Miliband have been reportedly labelled “hostile” towards Jeremy Corbyn.

The document, which was leaked to the Times, was reportedly complied by the Labour leader’s political secretary Katy Clark and dates back to January.

I wonder if NZ Labour has such a list. As only four MPs voted for Little (including himself), the core support group could be pretty small 🙂

UK Labour Shadow Chancellor names Lenin, Marx and Trotsky as his biggest influences

March 23rd, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Telegraph reports:

John McDonnell has named Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky as his “most significant” political influences.

The shadow chancellor’s comments prompted criticism after he said he draws inspiration from those responsible for the mass murder of their political opponents.

Both Lenin and Trotsky are viewed as the architects of dictatorial communism.

He forgot to mention Stalin or Mao.

How rooted is UK Labour?

March 7th, 2016 at 9:18 am by David Farrar

The Telegraph reports:

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is advising the Labour party on the economy, Jeremy Corbyn has revealed.

The controversial ex-minister, who was forced to resign after his country plunged into a debt crisis, has met with shadow chancellor John McDonnell, the Labour party leader said.

Oh this is too good to be true.

Will they also hire Mao as their agricultural advisor?

The difference between voters and members

March 1st, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

A good article at The New Statesman looking at the difference in views between those who vote (UK) Labour and those who are members. This shows the perils if allowing the members to choose the leaders and policies.

  • Immigration top 3 concern – 48% Labour voters, 17% Labour members
  • Housing top 3 concern – 29% voters, 69% members
  • Believe Corbyn can win – 27% voters, 47% members
  • Renew Trident –  40% voters against, 68% members against
  • Labour not left wing enough – 34% voters, 56% members

So half of Labour voters are concerned about immigration but only 17% of their members, and hence if they just focus on listening to their members they will be out of touch with their own voters.

Corbyn commits further electoral suicide

January 28th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Telegraph reports:

The Falkland Islands should be handed back to Argentina as part of a “power-sharing” deal, Jeremy Corbyn has told South American diplomats.

Alicia Castro, Argentina’s outgoing ambassador in London, said that Mr Corbyn told her that he wants a Northern Ireland-style deal for the Falklands in which her country and Britain could govern over the islands together.

The plan, originally discussed with Mr Corbyn’s Argentine allies before he became Labour leader, has caused dismay amongst his critics in the Labour Party.

I’m not sure Labour could try any harder to lose than they are.

Toynbee says UK Labour is doomed

December 27th, 2015 at 1:03 pm by David Farrar

Leading left columnist Polly Toynbee writes:

The 1% who join parties are not like other voters. Both memberships are far from the centre, Tory members even further away than Labour’s. May’s law of curvilinear disparity shows voters are more centrist than party activists, and MPs are closer to voters than are their party members.

You win in the centre.

The unpalatable answer is that policies matter less than the personality, performance and persuasiveness of leaders. Credibility on the economy and security boils down to this: does he/she look like a prime minister? Snap judgments are made. Corbyn’s image may by now be sealed for ever with too many. He’s honest – but he’s no prime minister. From no national anthem to no shooting “Jihadi John”, he doesn’t fit the template and never can.

But can he be got rid of?

UK votes 397 to 222 for air strikes against ISIL in Syria

December 4th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

A stunning speech in favour, and by no less than the Shadow Foreign Secretary for Labour. He was one of 66 Labour MPs to vote against their leader and for action. An extract:

Now Mr Speaker, no-one in this debate doubts the deadly serious threat we face from Daesh and what they do, although sometimes we find it hard to live with the reality. We know that in June four gay men were thrown off the fifth storey of a building in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. We know that in August the 82-year-old guardian of the antiquities of Palmyra, Professor Khaled al-Assad, was beheaded, and his headless body was hung from a traffic light. And we know that in recent weeks there has been the discovery of mass graves in Sinjar, one said to contain the bodies of older Yazidi women murdered by Daesh because they were judged too old to be sold for sex.

We know they have killed 30 British tourists in Tunisia, 224 Russian holidaymakers on a plane, 178 people in suicide bombings in Beirut, Ankara and Suruc. 130 people in Paris including those young people in the Bataclan whom Daesh – in trying to justify their bloody slaughter – called ‘apostates engaged in prostitution and vice’. If it had happened here, they could have been our children. And we know that they are plotting more attacks.

So the question for each of us – and for our national security – is this: given that we know what they are doing, can we really stand aside and refuse to act fully in our self-defence against those who are planning these attacks? Can we really leave to others the responsibility for defending our national security when it is our responsibility?

The case generally for why they must be stopped. But his best lines were his appeal to Labour MPs to vote for action:

Now Mr Speaker, I hope the house will bear with me if I direct my closing remarks to my Labour friends and colleagues on this side of the House. As a party we have always been defined by our internationalism. We believe we have a responsibility one to another. We never have – and we never should – walk by on the other side of the road.

And we are here faced by fascists. Not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in this chamber tonight, and all of the people that we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt. They hold our democracy, the means by which we will make our decision tonight, in contempt. And what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated. And it is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists and trade unionists and others joined the International Brigade in the 1930s to fight against Franco. It’s why this entire House stood up against Hitler and Mussolini. It is why our party has always stood up against the denial of human rights and for justice. And my view, Mr Speaker, is that we must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Syria. And that is why I ask my colleagues to vote for the motion tonight.

The Conservatives voted in favour 315 to 7 and Labour voted 66 to 153.

Corbyn sat stony faced next to Benn as most of the House gave him a huge ovation. Benn didn’t just over-shadow his leader (easy to do) but also the Prime Minister. He looked like a true leader.

UK Labour goes for free vote on Syria

December 1st, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Labour MPs are to get a free vote on whether airstrikes should be extended to Syria, with Jeremy Corbyn and Hilary Benn expected to adopt opposing positions in any Commons debate on the issue.

At a heated meeting of the shadow cabinet on Monday afternoon Corbyn agreed to a free vote – a decision that emerged just before the meeting started. It followed a weekend of discussion with Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson.

However, a proposal that the shadow cabinet should agree that it was party policy to oppose airstrikes, and to assert this was in line with a conference motion passed in September, was thrown out.

Shadow cabinet members said the offer of a free vote for Labour MPs would be severely diluted if there was also a statement saying party policy opposed airstrikes.

This shows how bad things are in UK Labour.

There are some things you don’t expect a party to have a view on – minor stuff such as the Standards and Measures Harmonisation Act.

But whether or not to go to war, and to approve the use of force is as important as it gets. And UK Labour are saying we have no policy at all on this, because our leader is against all use of force by western countries.

This is probably the lesser evil for UK Labour. If they had tried to force Labour MPs to vote in line with Corbyn, he may have had half his front bench resign.

Quoting Mao

November 28th, 2015 at 8:59 am by David Farrar

The Telegraph reports:

George Osborne’s Autumn Statement took a bizarre twist when John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, threw a copy of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book at him across the Despatch Box.

The Labour shadow chancellor mocked the Chancellor – who he dubbed “Comrade Osborne” – for encouraging China to invest in British infrastructure projects.

He is thought to be first frontbencher ever to reveal a copy and quote directly from the communist book.

After joking about the sale of public assets to the Chinese government, Mr McDonnell said: “To assist Comrade Osborne about dealing with his new found comrades, I have brought him along Mao’s Little Red Book.”

Mr McDonnell continued: “Let me quote from Mao, rarely done in this chamber, ‘We must learn to do economic work from all who know how. No matter who they are, we must esteem them as teachers, learning from them respectfully and conscientiously. But we must not pretend to know what we do not know’.

“I thought it would come in handy for you in your new relationship.”

Tory MPs roared “more, more, more” at Mr McDonnell.

They really can’t believe their luck.

UK Labour in open warfare

November 23rd, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Ken Livingstone has backtracked on his apology for suggesting shadow defence minister Kevan Jones “might need psychiatric help”, after he was accused of being forced by the Labour leadership to say sorry.

The former London mayor re-ignited a row just hours after tweeting that he “unreservedly apologised” to Jones for telling the Mirror: “I think he might need some psychiatric help. He’s obviously very depressed and disturbed … He should pop off and see his GP before he makes these offensive comments.”

Livingstone made the remarks after Jones, who experienced depression in 1996, questioned his appointment as co-chair of Labour’s review of Trident.

The veteran Labour politician initially refused to retract his comments, accusing Jones of “wimping around”, telling him to “get over it” and blaming his own south London background for the fact he is rude back when someone is rude to him. But after speaking on the phone to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Livingstone publicly apologised, saying the comments should “not have been made at all, let alone in that context.

“I also make this apology because Jeremy is right to insist on a more civil politics and as a party we should take this seriously,” he added.

Corbyn, a long-time campaigner against stigmatisation of those with mental health problems, is said to be angry and upset about the comments but believed Livingstone’s remorse was “sincere”. But before long, Livingstone was back on the television air waves for a fresh confrontation with Jones on Channel 4 News.

Appearing from his home, he said the apology was made because Corbyn had told him that Jones was “actually quite a decent guy and reminded me that Jeremy’s strategy is that we don’t do all the offensive backstabbing and rows and I just got on board with that”.

He then watered down his apology by saying: “If I’ve upset anyone, I’m really sorry. But this row isn’t something I started. It’s because I was attacked as not fit for this job.”

Livingstone, who got Jones’s name wrong three times by calling him “Jeremy”, added: “You provoked this row. You questioned my ability to do this job. Why didn’t you just pick up the phone and ask me what I knew and understood about it? I’ve been debating military and defence issues for 45 years both in our party and in the media.”

Jones, who was in the Channel 4 studio, responded by accusing Livingstone of having been forced into an apology after causing offence.

“You were somehow excusing it because of your background, when other people had posh educations, which I did not, can I remind you. That does not excuse what you’ve done … You were not going to unless Jeremy told you to,” he said.

The shadow defence minister also revealed that neither he nor shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle had been told that Livingstone, an opponent of Trident, was to co-chair Labour’s defence review.

“Why announce it on Twitter and use grossly offensive language to myself and millions of other sufferers of mental health [problems] to get over your point?”

This would be a rather sad episode if it was between a Conservative and a Labour MP. But what is startling is this is between a Labour MP and former Labour Mayor. And between the shadow defence minister and the person heading up the defence policy review for Labour.

I’m trying to think what could the Conservatives do to make Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn electable. Short of genocide, I can’t think of anything.

Having said that it is highly likely Corbyn will be gone within two years.

Labour MPs cheer Cameron not Corbyn

November 22nd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Jeremy Corbyn may have misgivings about shoot to kill, but few of his own MPs seem to share them. Sitting next to the leader of the opposition for the prime minister’s statement on the G20 summit and the Paris attacks was Hilary Benn. The normally mild-mannered shadow foreign secretary gave every impression he was trying to eliminate his boss with mind control and a rictus smile. Disappointed to find Jezza still breathing, he left without saying goodbye after 45 minutes.

Other Labour MPs chose to kill their leader by vocalising their whole-hearted support for the prime minister’s tougher stance on terrorism. One by one they rose. Pat McFadden. Mike Gapes. David Hanson. Chris Leslie. Emma Reynolds.Chuka Umunna. Anne Coffey. Ian Leslie. Even the usually on-message Sarah Champion. Et tu, Sarah? There would have been more, had not the Speaker curtailed the debate. Not even in Iain Duncan Smith’s darkest hours had a leader been turned on so openly by his own party in parliament.

Gravitas isn’t something that comes easily to David Cameron but, just this once, he was allowed the chance to feel what it might be like to be a statesman. A father not just to the Conservatives but also to a Labour party keen to distance itself from a leader whose pacifism has failed to capture the public mood. A father to the nation.

Corbyn has an intellectual problem in that he sees terrorism as the fault of the West, not the terrorists.

After his remarks to the BBC on Monday, Jezza is finding it hard to shake the impression that he is the kind of leader who would politely request a terrorist to sit down for a nice cup of tea and talk through his anger issues, even as he was reloading his AK-47 to gun down some more civilians having a quiet night out.

Worth pointing out this is a column in The Guardian, not the Daily Mail.

Could this apply to NZ Labour?

November 4th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Lord Ashcroft looks at the four major UK parties in the wake of the election. I found his comments on UK Labour most interesting:

A parallel exercise involving party members and Labour-supporting members of affiliated trade unions revealed that the Labour movement itself saw things rather differently. They thought they had lost because people did not appreciate what Labour had achieved; that voters had been influenced by the right-wing media; and that while Labour’s policies had been right, they had not been well communicated. More than three quarters thought their party had not deserved to lose, and most rejected the idea that the Labour government had been largely to blame for the economic situation. They thought the swing voters they had lost (and needed to win back) were ignorant, credulous and selfish.

This resonates with me as it seems to apply to many NZ Labour activists also.

All most people had heard from Labour was that it was against whatever the coalition happened to be doing. This included welfare reform, one government policy people spontaneously praised. In focus groups before the 2010 election, participants who were asked to choose an image to represent Labour would very often select a picture of a slob lying on a sofa to symbolise what they saw as the party’s indulgence of people living on benefits when they could be at work.

Would be fascinating to do here.

The publication is 47 pages long and very interesting.

The blind leading the blind?

October 30th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

This would seem to be a case of the blind leading the blind?

Is Andrew Little hoping to find out how to get your party wiped out, losing every seat in Parliament bar one?

Or is Scottish Labour hoping to learn what it is like to get your lowest vote in 110 years?

The challenge for Corbyn

September 29th, 2015 at 11:05 am by David Farrar


This poll from the New Statesman shows very well the difference between appealing to the base, appealing to your own voters and appealing to potential voters for your party.

Corbyn supporters are very left wing. Only 20% think competition is good, 67% want more taxes, 65% want private schools abolished and 65% want to abolish the monarchy.

Now even among firm Labour voters, their views are quite different. 38% support markets, only 38% support higher taxes, and 42% want private schools abolished.

But go out to the potential voters UK Labour needs to win, and there 58% support competition, only 19% want higher taxes and only 25% want private schools gone.

So how can Corbyn’s policies win Labour an election? Stuffed if I know.

UK Labour Shadow Minister wants to campaign against eating meat!

September 25th, 2015 at 1:35 pm by David Farrar

Just as you think they can’t get more lunatic, they do.

The Guardian reports:

The new shadow environment secretary believes meat should be treated in the same way as tobacco, with public campaigns to stop people eating it, according to an interview she gave to a vegan magazine. …

“I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco with public campaigns to stop people eating it.”

This is not some obscure backbench MP. This is their shadow environment secretary. Absolutely bonkers.

Corbyn appoints a convicted arsonist as his shadow education secretary

September 22nd, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Spectator reports:

Given that Jeremy Corbyn is a Hamas sympathiser with an IRA sympathiser as his Shadow Chancellor, I imagine he didn’t think too much about promoting a little-known Scot named Mike Watson. He is a Labour peer, who now takes a place in Corbyn’s frontbench as education spokesman. He is also a convicted arsonist, who quit the Scottish Parliament in disgrace after being caught drunkenly setting fire to a set of curtains during the Scottish Politician of the Year ceremony 2004. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison, whichhe served in HMP Edinburgh.


So if UK Labour win the election the PM will be someone who calls Hamas and Hezbollah friends, the Chancellor will be someone who has praised the bravery of the IRA and the Education Secretary will be a convicted arsonist.

At what point does David Cameron step out of the shower and say he’s just had the most strange dream, like an episode of Dallas?

Meet the new UK Shadow Chancellor

September 17th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Jeremy Corbyn has chosen as Shadow Chancellor possibly the only MP to the left of him.

Here are some quotes from John McDonnell:

It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA.”

Go the IRA!

Because of the bravery of the IRA and people like Bobby Sands we now have a peace process.

The brave Bobby Sands who blew up the Balmoral Furniture Company in Dunmurry. And the brave IRA who killed 500 to 600 civilians, including some young children.

he wished he could “go back to the 1980s and assassinate Thatcher”

A real democrat.

“In the first week of a Labour government, democratic control of the major economic decisions would be restored by ending the Bank of England’s control over interest rates and bringing the nationalised and subsidised banks under direct control to force them to lend and invest their resources to modernise our economy and put people back to work.”

No more independent reserve bank.

“I was up in Liverpool a fortnight ago, where Alec McFadden, one of our [union] organisers, launched the Sack Esther McVey Day on her birthday.

“I spoke at a packed public meeting … there was a whole group in the audience that completely kicked off quite critical of the whole concept, because they were arguing: ‘Why are [we] sacking her? Why aren’t we lynching the bastard?”’

He seems to often advocate violence against women he disagrees with. A charming man.

Corbyn wins

September 13th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of the British Labour party, in a stunning first-round victory that dwarfed even the mandate for Tony Blair in 1994.

He won with nearly 59.5% of first-preference votes, beating rivals Andy Burnham, who trailed on 19%, and Yvette Cooper who received 17%. The “Blairite” candidate Liz Kendall came last on 4.5%.

A huge victory. Also a huge turnout with 76% of members and supporters voting.

Corbyn will have an initial honeymoon. He may do well initially in the polls on the back of his win. Also the public may like a politician who says exactly what he thinks, rather than one who considers what is politically safe to say.

However it will not last. Not only are his economic policies akin to Syriza, his foreign policy is further to the left of even say Keith Locke.

He will either have to moderate his beliefs in order to be electable, or go into an election promising to scrap NATO, embrace Hamas, print unlimited money to fund everything and tax the rich until they leave.

But if he starts to divert from his true beliefs, then his appeal as a straight talking politician will suffer.

You can not say for sure he will never be Prime Minister, as events can interfere. Cameron’s Government might implode. But it is fair to say he is the most unlikely candidate for Prime Minister in recent British history.

What might assist him somewhat is that there is no credible third party for people who are against the Conservatives to go to, if in England. If the Lib Dems had not almost been wiped out in the election, they could have done massively well from Corbyn’s leadership. But they are just a sliver of what they were.

Corbyn is to the left of even the Greens, so maybe they could gain a bit of support from moderate Labour supporters, but unlikely. More likely is Corbyn is given a couple of years to look credible, and if he isn’t then he gets rolled. But by then the damage may be done.

Again the polls in the next three months won’t matter much. The polls in around six to nine months will.

Corbyn now 32% ahead

August 11th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Independent reports:

Jeremy Corbyn will win the Labour leadership contest in a first-round landslide victory with 53 per cent, according to a new poll from YouGov.

Corbyn has been polling way ahead of his competition for weeks, but this result gives him the largest lead so far, putting him 32 points ahead of Andy Burnham, who came in second place.

The poll revealed that Yvette Cooper would get 18 per cent of the vote, and Liz Kendall would trail with only eight per cent.

So Corbyn 53%, Burnham 21%, Cooper 18%, Kendall 8%.

The Guardian reports:

Labour could be finished if Jeremy Corbyn wins the leadership, Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former chief spin doctor, has said.

In a lengthy blogpost, the former Downing Street head of communications and strategy urges the party to choose “anyone but Corbyn”, despite having previously said he would not intervene in the contest.

He says he changed his mind about weighing in because he believes the party would head for a “car crash, and more” under the Islington MP’s leadership.

Not sure if anything can stop Corbyn.

Did UK Labour lose due to social media?

August 5th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Helen Lewis writes at the New Statesman:

Here’s my melodramatic theory: social media lost Labour the last election and it’s going to lose Labour the next one, too.

It sounds bonkers, doesn’t it? But look at it like this: “political Twitter”, the small subset of the social network that isn’t tweeting about One Direction or surfers being ­attacked by sharks, is undeniably skewed to the left. Twitter probably evolved into lefty heaven as a reaction to the right-wing dominance of the printed press, and because of the many arts and comedy bigwigs who imported their existing followings on to the platform. Most progressive commentators and columnists are on there, tweeting away several times a day, while their right-wing equivalents avoid the service altogether, or venture on very occasionally to share a link to their piece.

Then there’s Facebook, a much bigger fish, which ought to be more reflective of the wider population because it’s made of networks of schoolfriends, former colleagues, and parents and children. But news on Facebook travels through “Likes” and shares, and people won’t Like a crackdown on benefits, even if they secretly support it. A lot of what happens on Facebook, as with Twitter, is “virtue signalling” – showing off to your friends about how right on you are.

It was this “Tyranny of the Like” that had many social media users convinced that Ed Miliband could squeak the election; after all, their friends seemed to be lapping up the mansion tax and the action against non-doms. No one seemed enthused about taking £12bn off the benefit bill, or reducing the help given to disabled people.

Yes, social media has allowed people to create echo chambers where they only hear from people who agree with them.

Labour’s attention should turn to the next election and picking a leader who can beat him.

Instead, a large number of constituency parties are nominating Jeremy Corbyn, even though he doesn’t want to be leader, has never held a leadership position in the party and could never find two dozen fellow-travellers to form a shadow cabinet. Clearly, these CLPs don’t think that Corbyn is their best shot at beating Osborne, overturning his unjust policies and enacting Labour ones instead. They are doing it to signal that they are on the side of right and good.

The American writer Matt Bruenig calls this “purity leftism”. As he wrote in 2012, “When purity leftists do actions and organising, their interest is not in reducing oppression as much as it is in reducing their own participation in it. Above all else, they want to be able to say that they are not oppressing, not that oppression has ended.”

Remarkably, it looks like he may win.


August 4th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Matthew Lynn at The Telegraph reports:

Start to look at Mr Corbyn’s proposals in detail, however, and they make Ed Miliband seem like Margaret Thatcher. He inhabits a make-believe world, where money can be conjured out of thin air and every problem can be fixed with more state control.

Such as? Well, for starters Mr Corbyn wants to scrap university tuition fees. How will that be paid for? Apparently through a 7pc rise in National Insurance for anyone earning more than £50,000 a year or a 2pc rise in corporation tax. Among Corbynites, people earning £50,000 are considered the “rich”, or perhaps even the “super-rich”. And, in fairness, it is significantly more than the national average. But by anything other than the standards of the hair-shirt, vegetarian Left, it is a fairly modest wage – few people trying to support a family on £50,000 a year in the South East will feel they can spare 7pc of their income to subsidise students who will later go on to well-paid jobs.

So an extra 7% tax just to pay for one promise!

As for raising corporation tax, a constantly recurring theme of all Mr Corbyn’s economic proposals, it overlooks a couple of inconvenient facts. The first is that globally competitive corporate tax rates have helped to attract a lot of inward investment – pretty helpful for a country that runs one of the world’s biggest trade deficits, and needs lots of foreign money coming in to pay its bills.

The second is that as corporation tax has been lowered, receipts have been booming. In July, for example, corporation tax receipts rose 13pc, far ahead of economic growth, and with a faster rate of growth than any other single tax. If you put the rate up again, the revenues collected will go down – leaving a nasty black hole in the funding of those free university places.

Capital is now mobile. Hike up company tax too much, and the capital will happily move elsewhere.

Then there is his idea of a “People’s QE”. It sounds a bit like The X Factor – perhaps we could get Simon Cowell to chair the MPC live on TV and we could all text in to say how much cash we want the Bank of England to print this month. It turns out, however, that the idea is for the Bank to “be given a new mandate to upgrade our economy to invest in new large-scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects”.

Mark Carney might well feel he has enough to do already, what withcontrolling interest rates, inflation and regulating the City. But, heck, in a few spare hours on a Friday afternoon, he could just print a couple of hundred extra billion, and use the money to start building publicly-owned housing estates.

Never mind the inflation!

Corbyn now 17% ahead!

July 24th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar


The Telegraph reports:

Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn is on track to top the ballot in the Labourleadership contest, according to a poll.

Research by YouGov for The Times has found the backbench MP is the first preference for 43 per cent of party supporters – way ahead of bookies’ favourite Andy Burnham on 26 per cent.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper was on 20 per cent and Liz Kendall just 11 per cent.

The wisdom of having the members elect the leader!

This will replace Michael Foot’s manifesto as the longest suicide note in history.

The problem UK Labour has is that it has lost so many members, that those remaining are hard core activists who are in no way representative of the actual people who vote Labour.