Are Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies really built around a money-tree manifesto or are his plans for the British economy actually based on sound logic?
In recent weeks, Jez’s campaign to win the 2017 General Election has seemingly broken new ground. In short, this is likely due to the fact that the Corbyn-team’s policy proposals contain more substance than the vapid soundbites of the weak and wobbly Theresa May.
Yet, as they always have been, Labour has been dogged by accusations of economic incompetence throughout the last few months.
The other day, one of my best mates in his mid-twenties told me that he would be voting for the first time in his life because he felt that Corbyn was honest and had good intentions for the country. A few days later, he said: “I’ve seen bits of the manifesto now and think it’s great, but I want to know how Jezza is planning on costing it all.”
What I found most frustrating about this is that my first-time voter friend had found the Labour manifesto appealing but had then dismissed it, using a phrase that I had heard being used by the Beeb earlier that day.
Why, but why, is the ‘costing’ of the Tory manifesto not being scrutinised to the same extent?
This is particularly annoying because I unreservedly think that Labour has put forward a more coherent economic plan than the Tories. And, I will tell you why.
Jez’s Labour has never claimed it’s just going to borrow money, pay to raise living standards and hope it all works out for the best. Firstly, as he keeps reminding us, he has showed where the money will come from every step of the way. Labour’s not only done this, but as I want to argue, come up with a long-term economic growth strategy too.
At the end of the day, in any modern commercial state, it all comes down to tax. A large, growing economy has more wealth, which can be used to pay for the assets that guarantee a basic living standard for all citizens. One of Labour’s most sensible proposals is to start investing in British entrepreneurs and so stimulate economic growth.
If government cash is made available to potential business owners, even just as low-or-no-interest loans, then you’re more likely to have more potential wealth-creators taking risks, starting enterprises and making jobs for the rest of us. Investment makes growth, which in turn raises employment. With more people in work, there’s more people whose income can be taxed to pay for the original government investment and other state initiatives.
Say I want to build and sell a new type of solar-panelled motor that I know how to manufacture, but can’t afford to make. If the government steps in and gives me the cash I need to pay for the parts, I can make it without worrying about high-interest bank repayments and make a profit on the sale. Now, I have got a taste for it. So, I go out and make more. Only this time it’s too much work for one person. What do I do? I hire someone to give me a hand. Eventually: my business is growing, I have paid the government back and I have made five, six, seven, twenty jobs for people living in and around the local community.
My example of solar-panelled cars is purely hypothetical because I’m no scientist. But Jez’s national investment fund would make something like this completely possible.
Fair do’s, but where does the money come from for a Jezza government to invest in these innovators and small-business-sorts in the first place?
It is a fact that Britain holds the world’s fifth largest economy. It should almost be without question that there is an overabundance of untapped wealth in this country that can be used to make an investment fund like the one I just described. So, we just need to get the ball rolling by taxing the individual billionaires and market-strangling corporations that already exist in the UK.
Inject a bit of fuel into the tank and off it goes.
“Ah,” heckles someone at the back, “higher taxes on the rich just scare away the talented.”
Well, in response, I’d simply state that this idea is a bit of a neoliberal myth with little factual basis.
For one thing, only the very, very stupid would start up a company and then decide to close-shop because of a change in government policy. There’s less capital to be lost by paying your taxes then by turning tail and running away. Who on earth would want to leave home and start-again, when there’s a living to be made locally?
What’s more, those too rich to feel unchallenged clearly enjoy a positon that they shouldn’t. Yeah, it’s undemocratic when one organisation gets to choose who in a community gets a wage and who doesn’t. But do the wealthiest coffee places even produce the best, cheapest coffee or are they just stopping those that do from getting to the top because their riches are so entrenched?
“Ah,” heckles the same fella, “but you’ve forgotten that Corbyn is a socialist that wants to nationalise the railways and bring us back into the past.”
In reality, it’s a little more complicated than that.
We can all agree that there are essential services that we all need in order to live. Water. Gas. Electricity. We could probably include transport in that list. But these same essential services are also needed to allow businesses to flourish.
For argument’s sake, if Britain just put these essential services into public ownership then we would benefit up-and-coming or already-established entrepreneurs just as much as families. Everybody needs electric and everybody needs to get from a-to-b sometimes. Since we know this is true, why not take the fat-cat element out of the equation and stop private companies making huge sums of money without bothering to provide a decent commodity in the first place.
Make, for instance, cheaper, more accessible trains and businesses can jump from London to Manchester more easily. This way, they can grow and spread their profits from community-to-community.
This is what Jezza’s Labour is offering.
Investment. Growth. More jobs. More wealth. And, therefore, more money to spend on making Britain better. More money to pay for the investment in the first place. More money to spend on our kids’ education, grandparents’ care and those that are in need along the way.
What are the Tories offering?
Vote for Conservative and you’re voting for less prosperity. The self-described defenders of free trade and capitalism have failed on their own terms. The Tories have offered nothing but cuts to public services, made tempting by shaky, untrustworthy promises of lower taxation. Cameron and May have taken Britain down the road of austerity for ideological reasons and not because of economic necessities. The Tories fear making elites paying their fair share or collecting unpaid taxes because it would alienate their party bankrollers. It’s only the establishment, like the Tories’ chums in City finance that have gained from them punishing the rest of us with austerity.
The reward of their greed and short-sightedness has been slow growth, the creation of unsteady, unstable jobs and widespread poverty.
If given the opportunity, it’s completely possible that May would walk away from the European leaders around the Brexit negotiating table as she has threatened to do if she doesn’t get whatever it is that she wants from them. Should she be allowed this, Britain could lose vast amounts of trade with its closest neighbours.
If this happens, do you really think the rest of the world will be queuing up outside our door? Isn’t it more likely, that other states would seek to out-compete us and take advantage of our uncertain global position?
Jez’s team understands this. That’s why his Brexit agenda prioritises securing jobs and mutually beneficial trade relations with Europe.
A vote for May is a vote for half-baked economic planning and an uncertain future. A vote for Jezza is a vote for growth in the interest of the many, not the few.