Scary prospect

There is a frightening prediction in The Economist which suggests that “Labour is on track to rule Britain.” The article says that “Not even Jeremy Corbyn could quite picture himself as leader of the Labour Party when he ran for the job in 2015. After he became leader, few could see him surviving a general election. Now, with the Conservatives’ majority freshly wiped out and the prime minister struggling to unite her party around a single vision of Brexit (see Bagehot), the unthinkable image of a left-wing firebrand in 10 Downing Street is increasingly plausible. Bookmakers have him as favourite to be Britain’s next prime minister. Labour need win only seven seats from the Tories to give Mr Corbyn the chance to form a ruling coalition. He will be received at next week’s Labour Party conference as a prime minister in waiting … [but] … There are two visions of a future Corbyn government. One, outlined in Labour’s election manifesto earlier this year, is a programme that feels dated and left-wing by recent British standards but which would not raise eyebrows in much of western Europe, nor do the country catastrophic harm. The other, which can be pieced together from the recent statements and lifelong beliefs of Mr Corbyn and his inner circle, is a radical agenda that could cause grave and lasting damage to Britain’s prosperity and security. The future of the Labour Party—and, quite probably, of the country—depends on which of these visions becomes reality.” Between Mrs May’s bungled election campaign and Boris Johnson’s political vandalism Labour is starting to look better and better to many Brits … not because Jeremy Corbyn is in any way a good candidate to lead a G7 nation but because Theresa May seems inept and Boris Johnson seems downright dangerous.

The Economist says that “The [Labour] manifesto [campaign platform for Canadians] launched this spring was insipid and backward-looking, dusting off tried and discarded ideas. But it would set Britain back years, not decades. The planned rise in corporation tax—a bad idea at a time when Brexit Britain needs to cling on to what business it can—would take the rate back only to its level in 2011. A proposed minimum wage of £10 ($13.50) per hour would be among the steepest in Europe, but not drastically higher than that planned by the Tories. Abolishing tuition fees would damage universities and mainly benefit the well-off, while nationalising the railways and some utilities would make them less efficient and starve them of investment. These are bad ideas, but not the policies to turn a country to rubble. If Labour combined them with an approach to Brexit that was less self-harming than that of the Tories—some of whom are still gunning for the kamikaze “no deal” outcome—its prospectus could even be the less batty of the two … [but] … there is another plan for government, scattered among Mr Corbyn’s own statements, which would do serious and lasting harm (see article). Since becoming leader, he has called for a maximum wage as well as a minimum one. He has proposed “people’s quantitative easing”, under which the government would order the independent Bank of England to print money to fund public investments. Labour is committed to preserving Britain’s nuclear weapons: Mr Corbyn is disarmingly clear about his desire to scrap them. Though the party’s policy is to stay in NATO, Mr Corbyn has for decades called for it to disband; last year he refused to say whether, as prime minister, he would defend a NATO ally under attack from Russia.

A Corbyn government would, in my opinion, be a disaster for Britain and for the West which, with Donald Trump in the White House, desperately needs a moderate, pragmatic, sane leader to back up Angela Merkel. But, The Economist says, a political disaster in Britain  is looking more and more likely.

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