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Ron Delnevo's Blog
Ron Delnevo's Blog
Blogs » Ron Delnevo's Blog

Jeremy Corbyn - Is He Electable?

Jeremy Corbyn is the new Labour leader.

Only seven words, but enough to get you committed only six months ago.

So the impossible can and does happen.

Thirty Five Labour MP's supported his name appearing on the ballot. The fact that many of them do not hold Mr Corbyns views is besides the point. He was given his chance and he seized it with both hands.

Most commentators describe Jeremy as a maverick but he has to be more than that. To be allowed to serve North Islington for 32 years, proves he must be a very good constituency MP. More than that, though some believe his views to be extreme, I have not heard a single person question his sincerity or integrity. 

In short, it seems clear that Jeremy Corbyn is an honest and decent man.

A good start, then.

Moving on to Mr Corbyns policies, most would judge them to be predictably Left Wing. 

Lets have a closer look, though, before applying too many convenient labels.

The Economy and Tax : austerity is not  acceptable to JC . He wants to print more money and spend it on projects likely to improve the lot of the "people". As well as powering-up the printing presses, he feels that higher taxes, along with more efficient collection of the same, can help fund his favoured projects. My Verdict : whilst I would agree that austerity should have been junked by 2012, all politicians talk about raising more money from taxes, but none recently have managed the trick through their own efforts. The UK runs at a budget deficit of around £100 Billion a year and has a National Debt of £1.5 Trillion ( and climbing). Nothing in Mr Corbyns policy statement convinces me that he can do what he wants to do WITHOUT increasing the National Debt. If you view that as a "bad thing", presumably you will not vote for a party he leads at a General Election.

Education : Jeremy Corbyn favours a National Education Service. He wants to bring Academies back under the control of Local Authorities. He will seek to abolish the charitable status of Public Schools. He would scrap University tuition fees and pay students grants again. He would pay for this by increasing National Insurance and increasing Corporation Tax by 2.5%. My Verdict: I do not support the Academy system. A poor and expensive idea. Happy to see them abolished. I would also support an end to tuition fees. The rest of his ideas I would not wish to see implemented. Tax increases should not be needed.

Housing: Mr Corbyn wants to see 125,000 plus new council houses a year. He also wants a range of controls on private landlords and no sales of council houses. He does, however, want to have right-to-buy for private tenants. My Verdict : council houses with heavily subsidised rents are not a good idea. Bluntly, they often become slums. Better to work with Housing Associations and others on co-ownership schemes. Councils should have a pool of houses for  emergency and short-term tenancies, not to exceed 3/5 years. Then funding requirements would be much more limited than envisaged by JC.

Immigration: Jeremy Corbyn seems to want unlimited immigration, based on what he views as good historic precedents. My Verdict : completely disagree on this one. There are potentially millions of North African and Middle East refugees. The likely cultural and economic impact is unacceptable. Reciprocal arrangements with our European partners are NOT the same issue.

Welfare : JC says nobody in UK should have to live in poverty. My Verdict : without knowing what minimum standards he has in mind, in my view, this is meaningless. If we allow poverty to become an ok life-style choice for a significant percentage of the population, it puts our society at risk. On the other hand, some of the policies of the current government are far too harsh. Striking a balance has eluded every UK government.

Defence : Mr Corbyn wants to withdraw from Nato and cancel the replacement of Trident. My Verdict : I disagree with both these ideas. If Nato needs changes, make them from within. As for nuclear weapons, it is naive to think diplomacy can end the need for them. It is not such weapons that have made the world unstable.

Public Ownership ; Jeremy Corbyn wants to renationalise the energy companies and railways. My Verdict : the cost would be huge, with no evidence that doing so would improve anything. There are very few examples of publicly owned organisations working well. I personally believe it SHOULD be possible but can provide little evidence of practical successes.

Europe : JC favours staying in and renegotiating where appropriate. My Verdict : fine, thanks!

Healthcare : a fully-funded NHS is promised. My Verdict : costing, please. Is this another £30 + Billion a year to be added to the National Debt?

Foreign Policy : Mr Corbyn has a great belief in diplomacy. Basically, if we all sit down at the table and be reasonable, we can solve any problem. My Verdict : trouble is, while some are sitting around the table, portraying themselves as being incredibly reasonable, others are causing mayhem, often funded by those at the table. Whatever JC likes to believe/hope, that isn't going to change anytime soon.

My Summary and Verdict : Jeremy Corbyn cannot be accused of being an original thinker. His traditional left-wing  ideas on education, health, poverty and public ownership, will sound good to some, but high absolute costs, affordability and concerns about service levels will leave many voters unconvinced. Similarly, his views on immigration, defence and foreign policy will be viewed by many as extremely naive. In short, JC is almost certainly unelectable. Only the remote possibility of a monumental scandal engulfing the current government allows use of the word "almost".

Sunday, 13th September 2015

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