What exactly is the left wing leadership challenger offering?by Prospect Team / August 7, 2015 / Leave a comment
It’s been over two weeks since a shock YouGov poll put left-winger Jeremy Corbyn in first place for the Labour leadership, and since then he’s vied with Andy Burnham for the position of bookies’ favourite. In the meantime, he’s spoken to adoring crowds from Liverpool to Camden and been nominated for the role by more Constituency Labour Parties than any of his rivals.
At the same time, Corbyn has accompanied the groundswell in his support by unveiling an extensive policy programme, pitched as an anti-austerity, alternative vision for Britain, and dubbed “Corbynomics.” Key pledges include the establishment of a national investment bank, dramatic expansion of free education, and a large-scale housebuilding project.
We asked our expert panel what they thought of his offerings.
Economics: Pure soapbox
George Magnus—economist and senior advisor to UBS
Jeremy Corbyn’s “The Economy in 2020” is a robust rebuttal of George Osborne’s economic strategy, including of austerity as the lodestone of deficit reduction, to be replaced by higher taxes on companies and the better off and public sector-led economic growth.
But the centrepiece of the new strategy is pure soapbox; economic amateurism. The Bank of England’s mandate for monetary policy and financial stability and regulation would be broadened to include investment in large scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects. This has been called “People’s Quantitative Easing.” And tax justice policies would raise £120bn by clamping down on tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax debt unpaid.
The strategy lacks credibility and is dangerously inexpert.We are being asked to believe in a tax fantasy, while the Bank of England underwrites deficit financing for any purpose, including re-nationalisation.
Education: noble, but Naïve
Laura McInerney—Editor of Schools Week
“Free lifelong education” is an easy sell. People like free, and they believe in the power of education as a redemptive tool. It’s why we all cry at the end of Billy Elliot. Jeremy Corbyn’s promise to make a “national education service”—where people can access school, further education and higher education for free—is noble, but naïve.
Not only does free education rely on a corporation tax hike which may push businesses overseas, but it doesn’t appear to have any limits. What’s to stop an aristocrat with a trust fund from spending the rest of their…