On Friday the United Kingdom could have Marxist leaders for the first time in our history. It is an unlikely prospect, but inherent to our democracy is the uncertainty that choice represents. Some may think this remarkable after the great partnership of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and winning the Cold War.
Polling shows strong support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party among young voters. Corbyn (pictured) would choose as his finance minister John McDonnell, who has made his Marxist sympathies clear. Of course the Berlin Wall came down 27 years ago. For those born after it, or who were too young to remember it, the “solidarity” that Corbyn expressed for a totalitarian Communist regime might seem an obscure historical point.
Instead, some voters are attracted to all the free stuff being promised in Labour’s manifesto – fee child care, free college tuition, more welfare money, more NHS spending and so on. All the state controls to magically provide lower rents, lower prices and higher pay.
There has been a surreal discussion about the level of “costings” that Labour has offered. For instance, they have proposed increased Corporation Tax. Yet all the evidence is that increasing the Corporation Tax rate would result in reduced Corporation Tax revenue.
That is the reality of the modern, global economy. Unfortunately, it is not a reality that the media or the Conservatives have pushed the electorate to confront. The claim that tax hikes can automatically raise more money has not been greatly scrutinised.
There is an even more fundamental point about Labour’s entire economic programme. Corbynomics would impoverish the nation. We have seen around the world how hardline socialist measures have been followed by economic collapse. Corbyn’s election chief Andrew Murray has praised North Korea. That is a country where forced labour and starvation of political weapons of the regime.
There is Venezuela, the model that Corbyn wishes to follow, where socialism has led to food shortages and civil unrest. Zimbabwe shows what happens under widespread nationalisation and hyperinflation. Fidel Castro impoverished and enslaved Cuba. Yet Corbyn called Castro “a champion of social justice.”
How long would it take for Britain to be ruined under Corbyn? It is not as if the British public finances are in a terribly strong state as it is. The annual deficit has been falling, but more slowly than scheduled. Meanwhile, the National Debt escalates ever more dangerously. Remember – this has happened under a Conservative Government which has aimed for prudence, despite the noisy demands for a more indulgent approach.
Imagine if the next government took its feet off the brakes. A binge of state spending and borrowing would threaten bankruptcy. We could face the Greek scenario of cash machines refusing to pay out money and public sector staff being delayed in being paid their salaries.
Still, at least Corbyn has won the praise of Senator Bernie Sanders. “I have been very impressed by the campaign that he has been running and I wish him the very best,” said Sanders recently. This is hardly surprising but is certainly not reassuring. The two men are alike. Both spout rhetoric about helping the poor. Yet across the globe we can see the appalling poverty caused by the socialist policies they demand.