Tag Archives: jeremy corbyn

Trying (too hard) to curb EU free movement: A symptom of the EU-wide social democracy meltdown

Just as I was reading Nick Tyrone’s blog about Corbyn betraying the EU freedom of movement but wanting to have the EU cake nonetheless, another recently-elected Labour leader came on Dutch public radio. Note the date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2017.

I’m talking about former Amsterdam alderman and present Dutch minister of Social Affairs, the ambitious lawyer Lodewijk Asscher of the “Partij van de Arbeid”/PvdA, literally: “Labour Party”.

In the 1980s, when Labour under Michael Foot was going through its “Militant Tendency” phase, the then PvdA leaders, ex-prime minister (1973-’77) Den Uyl and coming prime minister (1994-2002) Wim Kok deplored that leftist populism and leftist political correctness gone wild. So both criticised it: British Labour, come to your senses.

Not today.

In the Dutch campaign that just got started for the General Election on 15th March, Mr. Asscher, who just two weeks ago won a party leadership contest, just said that he counted on “European Leftist support” (PvdA jargon: from fellow Labour and social democratic parties) to pursue his top-profile policy: curbing free movement of labour through the EU. When the radio presenter quoted a phrase Gordon Brown grew to regret: “Jobs for our labourers first”, Mr. Asscher readily agreed. And who does he expect to get support from?

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Corbyn’s pay cap plan boosts the rich, not the poor

As usually happens when hard line Socialist utopias are created, Jeremy Corbyn’s maximum pay plan would help the rich not the poor.

That is because when employees reach the maximum, other ways would be found to reward them which would increase inequality and reduce the tax take from the rich.

In Soviet Russia access to the splendour of the Bolshoi Ballet was a perk for the wealthy. The poor weren’t helped, and no tax was collected on the perk.

So it would be if Corbyn got his way.  Employers would pay bonuses, perhaps in shares or profit share, when they can’t pay extra cash. The thing is, shares or profit shares, when sold, are liable to Capital Gains Tax, not Income Tax as wages are, and the capital gains tax rate is lower than the income tax rate above £140,000. 

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The problem with a wage cap

Jeremy Cobyn’s proposal to bring in a maximum wage (or, if you like, a 100% tax rate) would not work, for two reasons. The first, is that the swing voters he needs to attract would never vote for a party with this potty policy. If you are flirting with voting for the Conservatives, you are not going to like the idea of a wage cap.

If any further discussion is needed, then the second reason is that it would not have the intended effect. Presumably the reason to bring down wages would be to reduce inequality. But most rich people do not get their income from salaries, but from dividends, capital gains, rental income etc.

I don’t know if the Duke of Westminster takes a salary, but capping it would not change one iota the fact that he owns a huge swathe of London’s most valuable real estate. If your only source of income is your salary, then capping it only stops you being able to catch up with the already-rich. Or encourages you to take income in other forms. 

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Farron: Corbyn’s relaunch shows that Lib Dems are the real voice of opposition

I have to say I do feel for my friends in the Labour Party – those people whose views on many of the issues of the day are not wildly dissimilar to mine. They stuck with Labour through Iraq and the erosion of civil liberties despite feeling uncomfortable with both of these things. And now they are faced with a leadership delivering them at the feet of Theresa May and her Brexiteers.

When you have devoted a huge amount of your life to working for a political party, you have a huge amount of your social and emotional ties wrapped up in it too. It’s not easy to walk away from.

I understand those ties because I feel them for this party, an organisation to which I have devoted more than two thirds of my life.

I wouldn’t ask or expect my friends to leave Labour – although I think most of them could be quite happy in the Liberal Democrats – because that has to be a personal decision for them. I’d welcome them if they did decide to join us and I will certainly find ways to work with them on the issues where we agree, most notably in opposing the Tory/Labour hegemony on Brexit.

This is the biggest thing that this country has done in my lifetime. The shock waves will be felt for generations. The vote was knife-edge close, so the government should have to prove itself at every step of the way by being scrutinised within an inch of its life – ultimately by the people of this country being asked to ratify the Brexit deal or not. Yet the Labour Party under Corbyn has capitulated and given the Tories free rein.

So I won’t be asking my friends in Labour directly to join us. They can make their own minds up about where their future lies. But I do extend an invitation to all those people out there who vote Labour, or who maybe have never been involved in party politics before but who are deeply uneasy about what they see unfolding before them.

Tim Farron this afternoon recorded a short video in which he outlined the two reasons why Corbyn’s relaunch is bad news. Firstly, the obvious Brexit one, but secondly and as importantly, having a Trump on the left is not a good thing. Populism is bad news wherever it comes from.

He also sent an email to Lib Dem members entitled “We’ve got to talk about Jeremy” saying:

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Left out in the cold – why the Left has failed to win

 

Politics in the West has entered a new era.

Those on the left of the political spectrum sit around scratching their heads on why power they had once taken for granted, has been taken from them. Why has the left failed to engage with the same people who they champion?

From the EU Referendum and the American presidential election, there was a common theme that Leave campaigner Michael Gove put so unashamedly, “people in this country have had enough of experts.” Slogans and punchy one liners were repeated tirelessly by Donald Trump and Nigel Farage until the masses were quoting them as facts and chanting them at rallies.

Then there was the argument from the neutrals.

“Both sides have acted dishonestly.”

“Both candidates are terrible.”

“I am sick of the liberal elite.”

Posted in News | 49 Comments

Labour are trapped in a nightmare of two parties – Tim Farron on Corbyn’s speech

Here is Tim Farron’s response to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the Liverpool Labour conference today:

Corbyn’s speech shows Labour’s problem, the last time I saw ovations like that was Iain Duncan Smith’s Blackpool conference speech. Here was a quiet man turning down the volume, especially on Europe. He barely mentioned Brexit and said nothing on the importance of the Single Market. It is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the only pro-European party now.

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Order out of chaos

 

Her Majesty’s Opposition is in turmoil. Our country is in crisis. Corbyn won’t budge.

I am saddened by Labour’s demise. For all its flaws, for almost twenty years it has been a strong, progressive force in British politics. Corbyn has been re-elected with a sizeable 62% of the vote. Now Corbyn has a sizeable number of admiring activists – but they are talking to themselves.  The public has already made up its mind about Corbyn – he is seen as incompetent, extreme and unelectable. It is all but impossible for Labour to gain seats in 2020 with him at the helm. The Labour party is already teetering on the edge of electoral oblivion.

And a lot of Lib Dems know what it’s like to lose elections. It hurts. We need to have sympathy with the thousands of Labour activists who want a united, centre-left Labour party. It would be opportunistic and insensitive to react to Labour’s turmoil with barely-disguised glee. How did you feel when parts of the left did just that after the 2015 General Election?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments
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