How should Conservatives respond to the success of Jeremy Corbyn?

I do not favour condescension or a triumphant blast of how wrong Labour has been, should Mr Corbyn prove victorious. We need to recognise that Mr Corbyn speaks for an important minority, and need to understand why the things he says are both popular to his audience and in some cases may make some sense to a wider group of voters. We need also to recognise that even if Mr Corbyn finally fails to secure the job of Leader, he has changed the Labour party by challenging the ” left of centrist” cynicism of Blair/Brown politics and by driving all his opponents leftwards as conventionally defined.

It is easy as a Conservative to disagree with the old and discredited parts of Mr Corbyn’s creed. He wants higher tax rates on the rich, which would mean less tax revenue, not more. He wants to nationalise large chunks of industry that has been privatised. We do not have the money to do that, and when they were nationalised they were riddled with troubles. Working for a nationalised industry was one of the best ways to lose your job, and the customers usually got a raw deal. He wants to undermine private rented housing, which will make the housing problems worse. He does not seem to understand that the main part of the railways is already nationalised and performing very badly as a result.

Mr Corbyn has issued three major more modern challenges to past Labour leaders and to the wider political nation. He thinks it would be wrong to continue with more wars and bombings in the Middle East. I agree we have fought too many wars in the last twenty years and need to be more circumspect in future. He wishes to oppose austerity. I agree that our aim should be prosperity, not austerity, though I disagree with his understanding that austerity is all about public spending.He also seems unaware that real public spending has risen, not fallen, in recent years. He wants to remove nuclear weapons and take us out of NATO. I disagree, but accept this is could be an argument to re-run in the post Cold War world we now live in.

I want the Conservatives to be the anti austerity party, showing how strong private sector led growth, more and better paid jobs and wider ownership are the way forward.

Mr Corbyn’s tunes of anti austerity and anti war can be attractive, which is why he is doing so well in his party’s contest. Conservatives should take him seriously. We need to repeat the arguments against nationalisation, bigger government and higher tax rates, where we have the best case and considerable popular support. These Corbyn policies help create a poorer country, not a successful economy. When it comes to the issue of the Middle East we need to be more careful. He is not all wrong. As for austerity, we want prosperity, which also requires working smarter and better in the public sector to get the deficit down.


  1. Margaret Brandreth-J
    August 12, 2015

    We were a more cohesive Country when more was nationalised. GB has been fragmented by the private sector interfering with steady growth and stability. The private sector has seen opportunities to make businesses and create jobs for solicitors who take over what they do not understand. If nationalised industries were failing and it was an easy way to lose jobs then that premise should have been adhered to so that the existing structure did not come tumbling down .The management should lose their jobs or be redeployed if things are not going well.

    1. bluedog
      August 12, 2015

      M B-J says, ‘We were a more cohesive Country when more was nationalised.’ You clearly don’t remember the winter of discontent. By the time the trade unions had captured the nationalised industries the country was polarised to a greater degree than at anytime since the Civil War. Backed covertly by our enemy the Soviet Union, the TUC leadership seemed determined to wreck the British economy in the interests of ever greater collectivism on their terms. Union feather-bedding successfully destroyed every industry that they controlled. Hence today’s largely service economy.

      1. Anonymous
        August 12, 2015

        Bluedog – More jobs were lost abroad after the Thatcher reforms, including among bewildered Tory voters who had voted in several Tory governments, embraced privatisation, rejected unionism and who had made themselves as competitive as they could.

        This constant outsourcing (still ongoing) was viewed as a betrayal and – with the ERM fiasco – is what got Tony Blair into office.

        The Thatcher reforms were half complete as they did not tackle welfarism, this increased during the period. Ironically our mining regions are now subsidised more than they ever were – even though there are no longer any mines and no longer any miners.

        We still have subsidised work too, with in-work top ups and subsidised unemployment. Unfortunately (by means of our EU membership) our welfare and our NHS is available to the whole world.

        Now we have an overwhelming mass immigration problem which our government can do very little about.

      2. Jerry
        August 12, 2015

        bluedog; “You clearly don’t remember the winter of discontent.

        Well I do, and agree with @MB-J, I also remember Ted Heaths 1973-4 Three Day Week, and I still agree with @MB-J…

        1. libertarian
          August 12, 2015


          I’m glad you agree with Margaret it just proves that you really can’t be taken seriously on anything.

          Remind us Jerry why won’t you answer a simple question? Why do you abuse others on here but are afraid to tell us, why Jerry?

        2. Edward2
          August 12, 2015

          The three day week was just a rehearsal.

    2. Franksalmon
      August 12, 2015

      Governments can’t run industries just as they can’t run supermarkets. They underinvest or over invest, invest in the wrong things and ultimately become self serving Luddites. Look at the NHS and network rail and go back to British Steel and the coal industry…….

      1. Anonymous
        August 12, 2015

        Why was Railtrack renationalised ? Was it because it was performing too well ?

        Network Rail does a lot of its work through privatised sub-contracting. Many of the mistakes are made by contractors who are competing in a fully open market – crane hire companies, electrical contractors, civil engineering firms.

        The work done is on existing infrastructure with few diversionary routes available – keeping the traffic moving through and around sites is difficult.

        Nearly all of the work is refurbishment rather than new build. This is notoriously difficult to cost and is always vulnerable to unforseen problems and overruns. The extent of repair to a structure cannot be fully known until the real digging starts.

      2. Jerry
        August 12, 2015

        @Franksalmon; “Governments can’t run industries just as they can’t run supermarkets.”

        “Governments”, in other words politicos, can’t run the country either, that is why it is entrusted to the civil service. But if you are correct how did Thatcher manage to fatten up the nationalised industries for privatisation (such as happened with BT, BL, the utilities etc.), according to your logic they would still all be basket cases which no institutional or private investor would risk a single penny in. So yes governments run industries, by employing the correct people – after all the Civil Service and MOD must be the two biggest ‘industries’ in the UK , or are you going to suggest that they should all be privatised too, perhaps you would…

        1. libertarian
          August 12, 2015


          The NHS held a boat race against a Japanese crew and after Japan won by a mile, a working party found the winners had 18 people rowing and one steering while the NHS had eighteen steering and one rowing. So the NHS spent £5 million on management consultants, forming a restructured crew of 4 assistant steering managers;3 deputy managers and a director of steering services. The rower was given an incentive to row harder. They held another race and lost by 2 miles. So the NHS fired the rower for poor performance,sold the boat and used the proceeds to pay a bonus to the director of steering services

        2. outsider
          August 12, 2015

          Yes Jerry, some state state industries were fattened up by raising prices or otherwise exploiting monopoly before privatisation. At British Airways, new managers transformed the marketing. British Gas was consistently well run under Sir Denis Rooke.

          Taken across the board, however, we were never as good at running our state industries as France. Cannot be sure why. Too political perhaps. My hunch, however is that it was because every state industry management was shadowed by a dedicated group of departmental civil servants who thought themselves superior to mere managers and second guessed them at every turn. Rooke was successful in part because he ate civil servants for lunch.

          In France, there was, and probably still is greater movement between civil service and management and therefore more mutual respect and co-operation.

          For a brief period, when the drive for privatisation produced a commonality of aim between the Treasury and state industry boards, results were much better. Because of the cultural differences, however, I cannot see a new generation of UK state industries being handled better than the last.

    3. oldtimer
      August 12, 2015

      Nationalistaion usually mean monopoly. Monopoly usually means stagnation. Stagnation usually means decline. The post war history of UK nationalisations reflects this pattern.

      By contrast private sector businesses usually face competition. Competition usually forces change, or you die. Competition usually spurs growth. The casualty rate among private sector businesses, for those that risk money in them and those that seek to manage them is very high. If you doubt that I suggest you study the outcomes for start up businesses – 20% failure rates are not unusual. And big companies will fail too if they do not adapt and change. If you doubt that ask someone who once worked for Kodak.

      1. Jerry
        August 12, 2015

        @ oldtimer; “Nationalistaion usually mean monopoly.”

        Privatisation can also mean the creation of an effective total or partial (private) monopoly – domestic water and waste water being the most obvious. Other than for investors what difference is there for the consumer between a government regulated (not for profit) quarterly bill and a government appointed regulator setting the tariff for the quarterly bill? Don’t even start on the supposed competitive pricing between rivals.

        Oh and just look at what de-regulated ‘competition’ has and is doing to the UK dairy industry… 🙁

        1. libertarian
          August 12, 2015


          You are right monopolies never work in the private sector or the public sector. Thats why nationalisation is such a bad bad idea.

          1. Jerry
            August 13, 2015

            @libertarian; Utter nonsense, nationalised industries do not need to make a profit other than what needs to be made for 100% reinvestment, so there is no motive to abuse the customer. True, there is also no motive to look after the customer, but that can and does happen in a private monopolies too.

          2. Edward2
            August 13, 2015

            With the Railways, under nationalisation their profits were often taken back into Govt and spent on other projects leaving them chronically starved of investment.
            With the steel industry and coal industry and car indusrty millions were wasted propping up the loss making bits which were in politically sensitive areas instead of investing in the profitable bits and closing the old plants and pits down gradually.

            reply. What profits? The railways always needed subsidies as pre subsidy they were heavily loss making

          3. Jerry
            August 13, 2015

            @JR reply; I suspect Edward might actually be thinking of the GPO/RM…

          4. libertarian
            August 15, 2015


            Once again demonstrating a total lack of knowledge

            All nationalised industries attempt to make a profit, if you knew the first thing ( which you don’t) about business you would know that profit is an excess of income over outgoings.

            In order to invest in the business, in order to grow, in order to hire more people in order to pay more wages you HAVE to make a profit.

            No business Jerry NO business EVER set out to abuse the customer your confusing that with the nationalised industries like oh I don’t know the London Tube for instance

            Nationalised industries ALWAYS abuse the customer as there is absolutely no incentive to do otherwise , thats the problem with monopolies as I said.

            Jerry why don’t you go and read a book about the basics of business?

      2. libertarian
        August 12, 2015

        Old Timer

        Absolutely spot on .

    4. Richard1
      August 12, 2015

      Perhaps you are too young to remember the 1970s? We were not very cohesive then and the economy was anything but steady.

    5. Mitchel
      August 12, 2015

      @Margaret Brandreth-J”We were a more cohesive country when more was nationalised”.As nationalisation on a large scale took took place in the aftermath of WWII,I would say that feeling of togetherness was co-incidental – the hangover from the great joint enterprise of national survival and victory,not due to nationalisation.The great industrial disputes of the 1970s (mostly in the state-owned sector)did not portray a sense of national cohesion to me.

      1. Jerry
        August 12, 2015

        @Mitchel; “As nationalisation on a large scale took took place in the aftermath of WWII,I would say that feeling of togetherness was co-incidental”

        A fair point, but MB-J is correct all the same, something that has been lost that hasn’t been in other countries, the UK now knows the value of everything but seems to understand the worth of nothing, including what is meant by “society”.

        1. libertarian
          August 12, 2015


          Tell you what old bean how about you stop your bleating, whining and carping and actually do what you lecture others to do. Provide some facts or evidence or figures to substantiate the garbage you post

          Remind us Jerry what job do you do?

          ( ps I miss Bazman, at least he was worth debating with)

        2. Edward2
          August 12, 2015

          Nostalgia cannot replace improved standards of living.
          Jerry, I think you are like those that think summers were always hotter in years long gone.

          1. Jerry
            August 13, 2015

            Edward2; “Nostalgia cannot replace improved standards of living”

            Indeed, so why does so many capitalists like you want to turn the clock back to the 1800s?… Duh!

          2. Edward2
            August 13, 2015

            I look forward to a future of improved opportunities and a better standard of living for everyone through a democratic free market mixed economy.
            Who on Earth wants to go back to 1800?

    6. petermartin2001
      August 12, 2015

      We need to understand what ‘nationalisation’ entails. The railways, together with some 20% of the total economy, were originally nationalised in the post war period by the Attlee Labour Government.

      It wasn’t nationalisation without compensation, though, as happened in Eastern Europe under Communist governments. The country was in dire financial straits at the time as a result of the war effort, so how could it all be afforded?

      It was essentially a balance sheet exercise. The government created stock, British Transport Stock, paying 3% p.a. This was the calculated figure the shareholders of the railways earned from their shares. There was criticism at the time about the generosity of the terms. Government dividends on issued stock were guaranteed. The continued profitability of the railways, which generated share dividends, wasn’t guaranteed.

      So there’s a leftist argument as well as a rightist argument against the nationalisation of industries in this way. Personally I’d be against wholesale renationalisations but also against any more privatisations – if there’s anything left to privatise. The city dealers made far too much money out of the privatisation of the Royal Mail. It’s too late, though, to undo that now.

      If it were ever renationalised the same people would no doubt make far too much money all over again! So, its best to leave things as they are for now, with the exception of railway franchises which could be nationalised for nothing at the end of the leases. It would be better to perhaps keep a mixture of each type of franchise for performance comparisons.

      1. Margaret Brandreth-J
        August 12, 2015

        Absolute nonsense; there is discontent where there are people competing for money..Change and the ridiculous way it is introduced as progress to attempt to give credence to their way of working to get the money out of it sickens me. If something is broken fix it ; don’t pull it down.
        Also the over use of the word ‘ clear ‘elucidates that clarity is not used but rather included as clumsy simple verbage.

        1. libertarian
          August 12, 2015

          Margaret Brandreth -J

          Absolute and total tosh .

          Try Soviet Russia , present day Cuba and Venezuela where there is no money to compete for and explain why they aren’t the happiest people on Earth

          1. Jerry
            August 13, 2015

            @libertarian; Absolute and total tosh .

            The UK worked very well the UK between 1945 and 1970, yes it was a little choppy at times, but do remind me how many times the economy tanked between 1979 and 1997 alone, complete with negative equity, rampant unemployment (levels not seen since the 1930s), rampant interest rates etc…

          2. Edward2
            August 13, 2015

            Tosh and even more tosh than your usual tosh Jerry.

          3. Jerry
            August 13, 2015

            @Edward2; Tosh you say? Best you tell that to the 3 million plus people who found themselves long-term unemployed [1] in the 1980s that they just imagined it, best tell those who had their houses repossessed due to being able to service high interest rates and/or negative equity that they just imagined it…

            The only tosh is you denial of historical facts Edward.

            [1] or simply decided to remove themselves from the official figures due to not bothering to claim UB, either because their family (parents or spouse, rich aunt) could afford to keep them, because they simply went into the grey economy, working for cash in hand or of course went into a life of crime

          4. libertarian
            August 15, 2015


            Do get a history book son

            IN 1945 we had lost a huge number of our young people to war. Large parts of our cities had been devastated . We had rationing right up to the next war. We imported 1,000’s of workers from the Caribbean. We had nearly full employment because our population got decimated.

            The major nationalisation was the coal mines , guess who bought the era of prosperity to an end Jerry? Oh that would be it greedy nationalised industry workers demanding 43% pay rises. Oh and then what happened in the 1960’s Jerry? How many coal mines and ship yards to Labour have to close? Remember what I told you about nationalised industries causing job losses. Where do you think the root cause of the 3 million eventual unemployed were Jerry

    7. libertarian
      August 12, 2015

      Margaret Brandreth-J

      Well thats funny Margaret because the factory I worked in was closed down and we all lost our jobs when a nationalised industry went out on strike demanding a 43% thats FORTY THREE % pay rise. Our factory /industry was unable to cope with the strike. In the area I was in in the early 1970’s there were 9 factories in operation ( all private companies ) By the end of the 70’s and endless nationalised industry strikes, power shortages, 3 day weeks, devaluing the pound and the winter of discontent. There was just 1 factory left.

      Cohesion , don’t make me laugh .

      One thing that astounds me when people call for nationalisation of industries is they never factor in the huge job losses. If theres only one organisation doing a thing you need far fewer workers.

      1. Margaret Brandreth-J
        August 12, 2015

        Well perhaps you should compare it to the private sector where in the NHS where wards have been sold off , businesses started which have all failed and people lost their jobs.
        I note that you have replied in your usual rude way , I don’t know why you bother, that chip is weighing you down

        1. alan jutson
          August 13, 2015


          These so called businesses you speak of are not usually independent at all, they simply run contracts under the terms set for them by the NHS.

          Spare a thought as to why the NHS thought fit to set them up in the first place.
          A recent private company pulled out of its contract with the NHS because it was proving too popular with patients, and was being refused additional funding, to treat additional patients than it was originally contracted to do.

          Sometimes for political purposes, some contracts are designed in such a way, as to make failure almost inevitable.

          1. Jerry
            August 13, 2015

            @alan jutson; “they simply run contracts under the terms set for them by the NHS.”

            So why not just allow the NHS to run the services and thus cut out any middle company that is expecting to make a profit, even if only on a spreadsheet to give employment for yet more accountants at the DfH to have something to study?

            “Spare a thought as to why the NHS thought fit to set them up in the first place.”

            Why? Because the DfH have told them to do so!

            “A recent private company pulled out of its contract with the NHS because it was proving too popular with patients, and was being refused additional funding, to treat additional patients than it was originally contracted to do.”

            Why couldn’t this private company raise the funding themselves, after all they want to take the profit out of the service, otherwise why do they bother?

          2. alan jutson
            August 14, 2015


            “Why not just allow the NHS to run the services….”

            Probably because they thought a private company would do it better and at less cost.

            Suggest you ask Mr Blair the question not me, I did not handle the contracts.

            “Why couldn’t the private company raise the funding themselves…….”

            They did for the initial set up, then when they increased production (efficiency) with more patient treatment numbers the government refused to pay for that extra treatment.
            Would you work for nothing ?

          3. Jerry
            August 14, 2015

            @alan jutson; “They did for the initial set up, then when they increased production (efficiency) with more patient treatment numbers the government refused to pay for that extra treatment.”

            Sounds like they might have actually stepped outside of the terms of their contract, then got upset when the NHS/government refused to pay for the extra work.

            “Would you work for nothing ?”

            Of course not, but nor would I expect to get paid for providing a service that has not been agreed, that is why there is a contract after all, so that all parties (should) know exactly what is required.

            Oh and don’t start complaining about the NHS limiting health care due to this as that is what come from public spending cuts etc.

        2. libertarian
          August 13, 2015

          Margaret Brandreth-J

          I don’t have a chip, I just get annoyed with people like you that can’t see past the end of your own nose.

          The private sector is far far far larger and more diverse that the handful of poor companies operating in the NHS.

          For what its worth I don’t think privatising the NHS is any more of a solution than a fully public service. The problem is the size, scale and organisation of its systems. It needs to be broken up.

          You need to stop making generalising statements if your entire contribution is just about the NHS

      2. Jerry
        August 13, 2015

        @libertarian; “on strike demanding a 43%”

        But 43% of not a lot was still going to be not a lot…

        “Our factory /industry was unable to cope with the strike. In the area I was in in the early 1970’s there were 9 factories in operation ( all private companies )

        Of course it could have ‘coped’, the owners chose not to, putting their needs (as investors etc.) before your need to work. Why didn’t they start making another type of product, why did they allow themselves to be so reliant on a single customer/product line? Strikes in another company did not cause the complacency that ultimately caused the problems at the company you worked for.

        “One thing that astounds me when people call for nationalisation of industries is they never factor in the huge job losses.”

        Nonsense, quite the opposite, which is actually one of the real problems with state control, but seeing that the state either has to use tax income to fund such over manning or pay JSA and Housing Benefits etc. plus deal with the effects/aftermath of disaffected youth and others who feel they have no hope and thus think that you and I should not enjoy products of our own employment/wealth and thus the country has spikes in crimes against property etc.

        1. libertarian
          August 13, 2015


          Thanks for another lesson in your I know nothing about business series

          43% is in fact a huge pay demand and it was demanded by people who were already earning 3.1% above the average UK wage

          I worked in a family owned paper mill .

          It was coal fired, the lack of coal caused the business to fail. It went bust, having been in business for 200 years

          I won’t tell you what happened to the owner as its not nice and you weren’t to know.

          Please tell us what you would produce in a coal fired paper mill with no coal and no electricity 3 days per week?


          I suggest you read one of our hosts early reports into the loss of jobs due to nationalisation.

          Anyone with a braincell can work out that operating with only 1 organisation will always employ less people than multiple organisations.

          Your chuff about welfare is completely immaterial

          You know what I’m going to ask Jerry are you EVER going to find the courage to answer.

          You clearly don’t work in business as you don’t even have a basic understanding , my guess is a Borough Council

          1. Jerry
            August 13, 2015

            @libertarian; 43% is in fact a huge pay demand and it was demanded by people who were already earning 3.1% above the average UK wage”

            So we are not talking about the 1972 NUM strike then, as by then miners were actually something like 3.1% behind average manufacturing wages. So you must be talking about the 1974 strike, and we all know that was not really about wanting a huge pay increase, although that was the official excuse.

            But if you thought that miners were being so over paid for the job they did then perhaps you should have got a job on the coal face, after all the working conditions were so good, there being no danger, no life long health issues either (what we now refer to CWP) – so why didn’t you, after all you say the money was so good?… Hmm.

            “It was coal fired, the lack of coal caused the business to fail. It went bust, having been in business for 200 years”

            That story is more a condemnation of the UK banking industry than unions, of course the company might have been basically finished anyway, as many older paper mills were in the early 1970s…

            “I suggest you read one of our hosts early reports into the loss of jobs due to nationalisation.”

            Indeed and perhaps you should read the works of Mr K. Marx, as to why capitalism fails! :~)

            “Your chuff about welfare is completely immaterial “

            Only to those who think a decent society to live in is irrelevant.

          2. libertarian
            August 15, 2015


            No I was there I know when I’m talking about

            Thanks for your marxist drivel. As it happens there were 3 coal mines in Kent where I was working too, they were nationalised so that didn’t hire many people. The fact that the job I was doing in paper mill was equally as dangerous, uncomfortable and horrible as mining is neither here nor there.

            The mill going bust had nothing what so ever to do with banks.

            It was entirely caused by striking nationalised workers.

            Everywhere at all times, under all circumstances in all countries socialism fails and is replaced with capitalism. ALWAYS

        2. Jerry
          August 13, 2015

          @Jerry; Oh and yes, before someone suggests my comment above is pure socialism, surely sometimes it is better for the state to pay people to dig holes so that another group can come along and fill them in afterwards, rather than allow socially disaffected people to sit at home or in groups to brewed about ‘how unfair life is’, of course it would be even better if the state paid such people to build the odd Dam, highway or what ever. Otherwise I guess then that F.D.Roosevelt was a raving socialist in the 1930s…

          1. Edward2
            August 13, 2015

            Decent targeted investment by the State can be good for the economy eg building roads or ports or bridges etc, but most State investment is poorly chosen and often ends over budget and way past its expected finish time.

            To invest budget surpluses mighf be OK but when the State is borrowing and defict spending the investment is not so beneficial.
            And to do it just to create artificial temporary jobs is always a mistake

          2. stred
            August 14, 2015

            Also Jerry,
            I am in Switzerland, staying in a flat next to a railway station, where there are lots of linked separate destination trains going off in order to maximise capacity. You said this could not be done owing to braking distances. Real trains, of course, are not the same as your Hornby Dublo.
            Another interesting thing here is that they have kept their trolley buses, instead of dismantling them, and so they don’t have to invent new ways of storing electricity for buses in the latest clean air supposedly high death zones.

          3. Jerry
            August 14, 2015

            @Edward2; “to do it just to create artificial temporary jobs is always a mistake”

            But even under capitalism, especially under capitalism most, if not all jobs are temporary (I suspect that less than 1% of the UK population has what can be called a ‘Job for Life’)…

            @stred; If the signalling system (and other infrastructure) is designed for longer trains, faster trains or what ever then of course it is possible! What I actually said, in that debate weeks ago, was that it isn’t possible just to add extra carriages to trains in the UK without making those changes. Oh and multi-destination trains have been the norm in the UK for well over a 100 years, as has the splitting of such trains at intermediate stations. As for your “Hornby Dublo” comment, indeed people like you do unfortunately think that the real railways can be operated a your childhood toy was because that is the extent to your actual knowledge and understanding of the real thing. 🙁

          4. Edward2
            August 14, 2015

            Not true Jerry, stats show private sector jobs last for many years even if individuals move on
            The jobs are sustained long term.
            But lame duck state jobs survive as long as State subsididies continue.

          5. Jerry
            August 14, 2015

            @Edward2; Contradict yourself why not!

            You seem to want it both ways, private jobs last for ever but then they don’t because people leave (are made redundant or are sacked). Then people employed directly or indirectly by the state have jobs for life, what some might refer to the gravy-train, but then they don’t because you claim the work is “lame duck” and thus won’t last.

          6. libertarian
            August 15, 2015


            have you ever been to the UK? I ask because you don’t seem to have much of a grasp.

            We have the highest number of people in employment that we’ve ever had. 47% of them work for SME’s ( less than 50 staff). Who the hell in their right mind would want to do the same job for life in the 21st century?

            You don’t seem to have a grasp of a job existing outside its incumbent . Its called progression, learning, growth, aspiration.

            Sorry Jerry, you’ve let the cat out of the bag you are an old style schoolboy/student marxist. Do grow up

  2. Lifelogic
    August 12, 2015

    How should they respond? They should rejoice that Labour have made themselves even more irrelevant.

    Then they should undo the socialist nonsense that flows from Osborne. The absurd over/double taxation of landlord interest, the absurd levels of turnover/stamp duty tax on property, the insanity of governments deciding of wage levels without having a clue about the businesses in question, the absurd tax borrow and piss down the drain policies, the idiotic greencrap & expensive energy agenda, the insane complexity of the tax system and the endless stream of daft regulations.

    Then we have the nonsense of open borders while making landlords and employers part of the border agency. What do they want these homeless & illegal immigrants to do? Just to augment the crime figures I suppose.

    Oh and they could ask the police to investigate current burglaries rather then Ted Heath and thought crimes.

    Not that I ever liked Ted Heath, far too close to Cameron and Osborne with his love of the EU and failed socialist economic agenda and daft pay controls.

    In short they should do what works for the economy and stop endlessly pissing money down the drain, lower taxes and sort out education and health care and get out of the EU.

    Why have Cameron & Osborne, despite their expensive educations, such a poor grasp of economics, logic and history?

    1. Lifelogic
      August 12, 2015

      Just their socialist genes I suppose, often incubated I find by an over cosseted, rich boy, public school, Oxford PPE, upbringing. Get some Norman Tebbit, David Davis types in power.

      They are far more in touch with real World at it actually works at the coal face.

      1. WillH
        August 12, 2015

        Yes, just the sort of people we need, the public schoolboys are useless. Just wonder how many Tebbit/Davis types get selected as candidates now to become MPs under the present hierarchy, might be difficult to find many people with much sense.

        1. libertarian
          August 12, 2015

          Will H

          Richard Branson was a public school boy

          1. stred
            August 14, 2015

            I was a public schoolboy and can’t think of much useful that I learned there. I learned languages on holiday, most science by buying teach yourself books, and design and contruction by self build and work in an office during holidays. etc ed

            Reply Maybe learning to read, write and do some maths helped.

        2. Richard1
          August 12, 2015

          This sort of inverted snobbery is a waste of time. Margaret Thatcher’s inspiration and mentor was Sir Keith Joseph, Bt, an Old Harrovian.

          1. Lifelogic
            August 13, 2015

            Clearly it is a generalisation as indeed it must be. Major and Heath were both complete disasters despite their backgrounds. But surely someone with a comfortable/rich/public school background is rather likely to be less in touch with the real world and challenges most people face.

            Just as someone who has never had children usually has far less understanding of the challenges or parenting for example.

          2. libertarian
            August 16, 2015


            Sorry I don’t see how and on what basis you reach that conclusion. There are plenty of ex public school pupils who have made very successful lives in very many different fields.

            Your assumption that most public school kids are from rich families is not entirely correct in my experience.

            I went to a state secondary school and I know loads of idle, stupid, ignorant layabouts , their experiences of that doesn’t seem to lead to them being able to solve societies problems.

  3. APL
    August 12, 2015

    Margaret Brandreth-J: “We were a more cohesive Country when more was nationalised.”

    Naturally, I disagree.

    1. lifelogic
      August 12, 2015

      Hardly, we had Heaths three day week.

  4. bluedog
    August 12, 2015

    Understanding the analysis behind Corbyn’s Middle East policy and its flaws is of critical importance in defeating other misconceived policies that Corbyn advances. His ME policy is a handy metaphor for other follies.

    The principal problem in the Middle East is two-fold. Firstly there is a war going on between the Sunni and the Shia. Secondly there is a separate war going on between the irredentist and chauvinist stream of Islam, exemplified by the Taliban and more recently Al-Qaeda and ISIL on the one hand and the moderate version of Islam on the other hand. Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and the minor Gulf states represent this more moderate strain, and Obama’s Iran policy is undoubtedly designed to add non-Arab Iran to this moderate group. It remains to be seen if Obama succeeds.

    This complexity appears to completely elude Corbyn, who appears to view the entire Middle East conflict through the sole prism of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. It seems beyond the comprehension of Corbyn and the rest of the Left to appreciate that the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda in other parts of the ME completely ignored that dispute. Instead, fuelled by the Wahhabism exported by Saudi Arabia, much of the Islamic world has been offered legitimacy for a return to feudal religiosity that is the antithesis of the secular modernity that Corbynites promote. The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is simply a sideshow in this clash of cultures within Islam.

    It seems important in the context of this apparent positioning to press Corbyn publicly for his view on BDS. Does he really prefer the stagnation of feudal Islam to the innovation and creativity of democratic Israel? If Corbyn answers, Yes, there is no hope for the UK under his leadership – he will seek an equally stagnant and regressive society here.

    1. forthurst
      August 12, 2015

      All very interesting, however, the present cycle of wars in the middle east was initiated by the neocons’ war on Iraq and their subsequent promotion of civil war in Syria by support of the ‘moderate’ opposition. Please remind to which brand of Islam, Sunni/Shi’ite, moderate/extreme the neocons belong together with to which moderate/extreme Sunni/Shi’ite state in the ME they give their undivided loyalty?

      1. outsider
        August 12, 2015

        That is interesting too Forthurst.
        Fundamentally, however, the Left’s foreign policy, not just in the Middle East, has long been based on three simple principles:
        American policy aims and influence are always wrong and are the enemy.
        Friends of America (certainly outside Nato) are therefore bad people and also the enemy.
        America’s enemies are therefore either our friends or at least probably decent people who are misunderstood.

  5. JoeSoap
    August 12, 2015

    Let’s look at this a different way.

    Corbyn’s ideas fall outside those of the LibLabCon cartel, and therefore almost by default many of them are to be welcomed.

    -He would be unlikely to prop up failed banks, to pay their hapless managers millions whether they stay or leave.
    -He isn’t dogmatically pro-EU. He has an open mind on the possibility of us leaving and is basically pro- us retaining our sovereignty
    -As you say, he won’t doggedly follow American policy
    -He will favour the small company /SME versus the monolith on principle. He is unlikely to let those corporates who transfer tax liabilities and assets overseas to save tax get away with this as lightly as they have done this past 20 years. One can envisage a pro-British business ethic.
    -As you say he won’t lightly take us in to foreign wars

    OK, a lot of his economics is totally wrong, but like Thatcher before him, his heart is in the right place, which is a massive contrast to Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron and all their cronies.

    because his ideas fall outside those of the cosy cabal.

    1. LondonBob
      August 12, 2015

      All the Labour candidates opinions on the economy, social policy and immigration are wrong, Corbyn’s fault is that he does not hide them like Blair did. His opinions however on foreign policy are very much welcome. Mildly Eurosceptic, with a principled antiwar stance. Foreign policy is a debate the establishment refuses to have as they know that they are well out of step with public opinion. Personally I greatly welcome Corbyn and hopefully his stance on foreign policy will greatly embolden those Conservatives like myself who would like to return to a foreign policy firmly based on the national interest, cognizant of our limitations and with as much regard to ethical principles as possible.
      The current Conservative leadership is beginning to look very isolated in their slavish devotion to neocon principles that see us subordinate our interests to those of others. A bit more reflection on the musings of Enoch Powell or Lord Salisbury on foreign policy would be welcome.

    2. Mitchel
      August 12, 2015

      I would bear in mind Oswald Spengler’s quote from “Decline of the West” (1945):”There is no proletarian,not even a communist,movement that has not operated in the interests of money,in the direction indicated by money and,for the time being permitted by money-and that without the idealists among its leaders having the slightest suspicion of the fact”.

      It was as true of Old Labour as Blairite Labour as,indeed,the Bolsheviks….so stay calm and carry on!

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    August 12, 2015

    Mr Corbyn’s version of socialism appeals to two types, the envious feckless and the disenchanted. Capitalism can not address the desires of the former but the latter requires a fair playing field where access to social mobility and reward is open to all. If it is not we may as well have a command economy.

    The Conservative need to reintroduce the relationship with risk and reward, failing ventures must fail and not be propped up by low interest rates (including the housing market which appears to be the ultimate failing venture) and government bail out.

    Most of the outcomes Mr Corbyn is seeking could be achieved by upskilling our own population and drastically cutting immigration. Simple but effective.

  7. Narrow Shoulders
    August 12, 2015

    We need to repeat the arguments against nationalisation, bigger government and higher tax rates

    How is the 80/20 deficit reduction plan coming along?

    Bonfire of the quangos and fewer ministers anyone?

    1. Lifelogic
      August 13, 2015

      Tax borrow and piss down the drain continues a pace. Bloated, misdirected and incompetent government everywhere you care to look.

  8. Loddon
    August 12, 2015

    Privatisation of many industries is appropriate but has been a disaster for the British public in the Energy and Water industries. Most of these companies are now foreign owned and their primary interest is in maximising their profits NOT in looking after the public interests of lowest possible prices and long term strategic planning.

    Ironically our major Energy suppliers are now owned by foreign nationalised industries and operated in the long term interests of French and German taxpayers. The combination of foreign owned monopolistic industries in which competitive pressures have failed to drive down consumer prices with weak and ineffective regulation continues to allow exploitation of British consumers and risks to the long term security of our energy supply.

    While nationalisation may not be the answer to this unsatisfactory situation the current lack of effective competition between the giant foreign owned companies is not the answer either. We need to find another solution to give us back an industrial supply system that we as a country can trust.

  9. Iain Gill
    August 12, 2015

    I think a large part of his attraction is that he is not keeping his comments to the politically correct group bubble think views of the core of our political class these days. I don’t agree with him on lots of policy but I would much prefer to have more politicians saying what they really think than behaving in the duplicitous way they do these days. So in lots of ways I wish him luck.
    For me Blair/Brown/Cameron/Osbourne are far too similar, it doesn’t feel like we have a proper representative democracy which reflects the real views of the people, or even understands the real views of the people. Indeed the political bubble, in which I include the BBC, has decided things very much against the will of the people and continues to look down on the majority view of the population.
    On trains he is partly correct, I wouldn’t have bothered reletting the East Coast franchise when it was doing so well in public ownership (those managers deserve a medal), I don’t think the way trains were privatised was very effective, and should be restructured. And so on.
    On private tenants he is partly correct, the way private landlords have been given big windfall gains on the back of the state manipulating house prices ever higher is exceptional and I would have no problem taxing them till the pips squeak, or using some of it to benefit the tenants with discounted right to buy or similar. None of the main parties have proper thought through policies addressing the problems of those in private rented accommodation who in this country have the least secure tenure and lowest standards of property maintenance of any major developed country. Speaking to the private tenants being abused is an obvious thing to do and in many ways will gain him support.
    If you want to fight him you need better answers to the problems of the private tenants, railways, and so on, and you need to allow your own side to speak their own mind and be more representative too.

    1. JoeSoap
      August 12, 2015

      You are correct.
      For a while people live off the false promises, then they sense they are being conned, then they know they are.
      We have reached the time when people won’t listen any more to the Cameron/Blair type rhetoric and are looking for serious ideas which work.

  10. Roy Grainger
    August 12, 2015

    You are right to be cautious John. It is not entirely clear that a significant part of the electorate as a whole would not be attracted by his message, especially the young (of course that’s why he wants the voting age reduced to 16). Nationalisation of the railways/utilities is a superficially attractive idea to those not old enough to remember what it was like (what it was like can be seen on the London Underground currently with highly-paid staff going on strike at will). Likewise a top tax rate of 75% has some appeal to the naïve. Of less appeal is Corbyn’s ambivalent attitude over the years to terrorists and war criminals and other unsavoury characters (IRA, Hamas, Chavez, Putin. Milosevic) and this should be pointed out repeatedly if he wins.

  11. Ian wragg
    August 12, 2015

    Privatisation has meant that the majority of our infrastructure has been sold off to foreign countries and in some cases governments. This means we subsidise foreign consumers as prices are generally higher in the UK.
    With the power industry we have to buy expensive foreign windmills and then pay an exorbitant subsidy to operate them. No wonder the EU is seen as a Franco German racket. They make the rules and we pay for them.
    Corbyn is on to a winner although I dislike socialism.

    1. Roy Grainger
      August 12, 2015

      Last time I checked our energy prices were not particularly high compared with the rest of the EU, they were about average.

  12. alte fritz
    August 12, 2015

    Part of Mr Corbyn’s appeal is to those who are too young to remember the 70’s, in effect anyone under 55. Another part is his appeal to the part of us which has become accustomed to and likes a permanently growing state. Yet another appeal is to the hard left which is always with us.

    So he is not to be derided or ignored. There are arguments to be won.

  13. petermartin2001
    August 12, 2015

    “…though I disagree with his understanding that austerity is all about public spending.”

    Jeremy Corbyn would disagree with that too. I expect he’ll be on record as opposing the increase in VAT and some other taxes. Taxes are just as important as spending.

    For a net importing country like the UK, austerity is about the difference between taxation revenue and government spending. For a country like Germany, which is a big net exporter it would still be possible to have economic austerity even if there were no difference at all. Especially as Germans are big savers and don’t spend those euros which flood into their country.

    “As for austerity, we want prosperity, which also requires working smarter and better in the public sector to get the deficit down.”

    Why would reducing the governments deficit bring about prosperity? There’d be less money entering the economy due to government spending and more leaving due to Government taxation. That can only work if concerted action is taken to balance up UK’s trade. That would mean that more money would come into the economy from export sales and less left to pay for imports.

    If there was a return to Government surplus, and incidentally surpluses are usually short in duration and are not the historic norm, there would be a deficit in the non-Government accounts. So we need to remember that promising a Govt surplus, which sounds good, is exactly the same as promising a non-Government deficit, which doesn’t sound good at all!

    Reply Increasing productivity is the way to raise living standards, and public sector productivity stagnated under Labour

    1. petermartin2001
      August 12, 2015

      Reply to Reply,

      That’s true. An economy with highly productive workers will always have a higher output than an economy with less productive workers. That’s just as true for the public sector as it is for the private sector. Simply if we are more productive we can do more things.

      But, those who argue that this is all there is to it are making the same mistake the Germans are making in Greece. If the money flows that I mentioned in my first post are ignored, and we suck out too much money from the economy in an attempt to ‘balance the budget’, we end up with recession and high levels of unemployment.

      There’s no-one more unproductive than an unemployed worker.

    2. Edward2
      August 12, 2015

      “Why would reducing the governments deficit bring about prosperity?”
      For the Government, it would mean less borrowing and so less interest being paid out, meaning easier funding of investment projects.
      For us it would mean a reduced taxation burden on us, leaving more money in our pockets to spend or save or invest as we see fit.
      More jobs would result more profitable economic activity by saving spending or investing by the people freed from a high tax, high cost, low standard of living society.
      Less Government is good as is less deficit and debt.

      Your point about the terrible result of a Government surplus assumes that surplus would not be used to invest in projects to improve the economy further or to reduce our tax burden further in a continually virtuous circle
      You seem to come at economics from the standpoint of accountancy rather than human behaviour.

      1. petermartin2001
        August 12, 2015

        You’re right about the need for lower taxation. But, conventional theory would predict this would lead a higher deficit, would it not? I would argue that lower taxation would leave more money in the economy, so increasing economic activity which in turn would create more taxation revenue as you suggest. So any increase in the govts deficit would not be easy to calculate.

        Interest rates, at least in the short term, are largely decided by a committee of the supposedly independent BoE. The costs of interest payments aren’t paid out of taxation revenue unless there’s a conscious decision to pay them this way. They aren’t huge. Just about at at all time low. Savers don’t get much interest. I don’t believe we should begrudge them what they do get.

        Human behaviour is an interesting point. I couldn’t agree more. Conventional economists have what they refer to as the theory of ‘rational expectations’. If real people behaved in the way mainstream economists expect them to, then maybe we wouldn’t have crashes like in 2008. Maybe the eurozone would work perfectly well as all prices and wages self adjusted to what their computer models say they should be.

        Real people, though, behave in the way they consider to be “rational”. So if the price of bread falls they don’t necessarily eat more bread. They perhaps consider that they don’t need to eat any more bread. A trivial example, maybe, but it illustrates the problem. So I would argue that economists should always check their models against reality. Their models didn’t predict 30% unemployment in Greece for example. Their assumptions need to be reviewed.

        Accountancy is one area of economics where precise calculations can be made. It’s just arithmetic after all. It’s not the be all of economics, agreed, but it is neglected by the mainstream. It’s simple enough to understand and leads to some interesting insights. For example, one insight is that a surplus cannot be used for spending on projects. Otherwise it would not be a surplus.

        “Less government is good” is a perfectly valid political point of view. The mistake, though, usually made is to confuse the size of government with the size of the govt’s deficit. They are separate issues. Germany , for example, has a low deficit, or even a surplus, but a large government, expressed as a percentage of GDP. The USA has a large deficit but a smaller government.

        You need to have a bit of a think about this. Pushing for a smaller deficit creates the economic conditions which has led to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain and Syriza in Greece. In other words, it leads people to demand larger government as a solution to their economic problems.

        1. Edward2
          August 13, 2015

          By small State I mean a State that borrows much less and returns money to the private sector by lower taxes rather than the Greek trap of enforced recession created by the combination of fixed exchange rate, higher taxes and delfationary economic policies.

          I dont see why lower taxes produces a higher deficit.
          Its all about budgets and affordability.
          We have a mixed economy I just think the mix is wrong and the State needs to be a tad smaller.

          1. petermartin2001
            August 13, 2015


            I’m pleased to read that you doubt the connection between the level of taxes and the deficit. But, we both know that VAT was raised supposedly to raise revenue and reduce the deficit. So, not everyone thinks like us!

            Sure, you may prefer a smaller state, and I may be happy with the size of the one we have but, whatever our differing views, it should be possible to achieve a measure of agreement on how the economy works so we all know what our political options are.

          2. Edward2
            August 14, 2015

            Understanding how the economy works and gaining agreement between the large number economistsvarious theories is the holy grail Peter.

  14. Lifelogic
    August 12, 2015

    Also Corbyn, despite his absurd quack economics, is sound on the pointless wars. Furthermore his brother is sound on the global warming/CO2 devil gas religion/exaggerations and the absurd met office propaganda unit. With their garbage in garbage out & their £100 million + of wasted super computers.

    What is the point of the Met Office?

    1. petermartin2001
      August 12, 2015

      I doubt if Labour is quite as receptive to the ideas Piers Corbyn as it is to Jeremy Corbyn’s. But, if Jeremy wins, can I put you down as a Labour voter at the next election? Assuming he’s still on good personal terms with Piers, of course?

    2. Hefner
      August 16, 2015

      Sorry to be so late …
      Does the Daily Telegraph, so climate sceptic, buy its weather forecasts from Piers Corbyn? No, they are sensible, they get the forecasts they publish daily from Accuweather, a company that creates its forecasts for any spot over the Earth combining/adjusting the information from the major weather centres (US NCEP, UK Met Office, Japan Met Service, ECMWF).
      Could this indicate that the DT considers Piers Corbyn’s “forecasts” as just simply irrelevant?

  15. Cliff. Wokingham.
    August 12, 2015

    I think Mr Corbyn’s apparant success shows that the Labour Party’s core vote is large and still supports the policies and ideals which Labour had pre Blair.

    I suspect there is an even larger number of people who support true Conservative policies and ideals which we had pre coalition and pre Cameron and I would suggest that this was evidenced by the rise in the UKIP vote at the last election and the rejection of Labour.

    Just as Mr Corbyn will take Labour to the left if he’s successful, I hope our next leader takes the party towards our host’s version of Conservatism and away from the leftie, liberal brand we have now under Mr Cameron.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      August 12, 2015

      A very good answer to how Conservatives should respond.

      Return to core principles.

    2. Lifelogic
      August 12, 2015

      Perhaps give the voting system for MPs and the import of marginal’s you do have to sound a bit lefty on some issues near elections. The problem with Cameron and Osborne is they enact lefty nonsense even when they have a majority. Tax borrow, piss down the drain, expensive energy and over regulation and central control of everything. Thus they damage the economy and their chances next time.

  16. Bill
    August 12, 2015

    A good post.

    My memory of nationalisation is of constant strikes, overmanning and over-mighty union reps only interested in sectional gain: government can take a view about the whole population, which is why parliament not the TUC should make and enforce law.

  17. alan jutson
    August 12, 2015

    You are right John, but not only should the Conservative Party be worried.

    The Greek people elected a government which said it would kick against austerity, because they bought into the promise.
    Proof if any was needed, that you can bribe the people with simple words.

    60 years ago most people expected to live within their means, they believed that to get on and improve your lot you had to either work harder for longer, or get promotion.
    The Welfare State was in its early stages, and was designed only to help those who could not help themselves.
    Rents were often controlled, and if you wanted to purchase your own home you had to save up a reasonable deposit to prove you were prudent, and your mortgage was based upon a simple low earnings multiple.

    Then came the mindset revolution of the late 60’s with reasonably full employment, where you could leave a job in the morning, and get another better paid one in the afternoon.
    Self employment grew, as did Hire Purchase contracts, larger earnings multiples for Mortgages, and of course the use of Credit Cards.
    For many the mantra was, why save and wait, I can have it now, the good times will last forever.
    We even had 125% mortgages so that furniture, carpets, appliances and even holidays could be funded with a simple house purchase and mortgage.

    So many were fooled and drawn into this deluge of cash and credit, that it for some became a right to have everything you wanted.
    Further extended credit and a relaxation of the welfare rules seemed to guarantee the live above your income lifestyle, with credit card companies automatically increasing peoples credit to silly amounts without even asking.
    Multiple credit cards then became the norm as people spent more and more and could transfer debt without cost for a limited period of time before they ran out of credit card companies to use.
    Unfortunately that mindset is still about, those parents children, and their children’s children, have been bought up to believe you can have it, even if you cannot pay for it, because that is your right.

    Now we have a complicated and very generous welfare system, not just designed for those who cannot help themselves, but also for many others who can, and just like the Nationalised industries of old, it is poorly supervised and managed, so is forever short of money, due to wastage and poor decision making.

    In short millions of people have completely lost touch with reality, Mr Corbyn will appeal to those people, because his message is music to their ears.

    We should be very worried indeed if Mr Corbyn is elected leader of the Labour Party, as that is but just one simple stage away from running and decimating the economy, and the Country.

  18. mickc
    August 12, 2015

    The key word in your column is “cynicism”.

    Corbyn presents as believing in what he says, and saying what he believes. Kendall also does, but Cooper and Burnham say what they think their audience want to hear.

    Also the media are rubbishing Corbyn so much, that it is counterproductive. It actually looks like the Establishment out to get the outsider.

    Further, many of the privatised utilities are seen as predatory, sod the customer businesses with no competition. That being the case, where is the argument against nationalisation?

    Corbyn’s foreign policy comments also make sense. Russia poses no threat to the UK, or indeed Europe, but the sanctions the US has imposed have damaged the EU but helped the US, whose trade with Russia has actually increased.

    Corbyn presents the possibility of a real Opposition, not a slight variation on the same old theme.

    No, I don’t want a Corbyn government, I want a Tory one. But currently we have Blair Mark 2.

    1. lifelogic
      August 12, 2015

      Blair two indeed but Al least the MPs stopped some of Cameron’s misguided & idiotic warmongering.

  19. agricola
    August 12, 2015

    All you say is correct in Para 1. Jeremy Corbyn could be something of a novelty in politics, a man who appears to say what he believes and gives straight answers when questioned. The fact that some of his answers do not add up does not detract from their sincerity when given.

    Some of his aims may have credit, but I doubt his means of achieving them. This does not mean that everything the conservatives stand for is laudable and beyond criticism. He may if elected pose you some difficult questions that require carefully drafted and credible answers.

    His views on defence and NATO I find dangerous. How will he be viewed by our intelligence service and government when information of a delicate nature needs to be shared, as a safe pair of hands, I doubt it.

    Austerity has become a buzz word, highly emotive with qualities beyond it’s original meaning. I translate it as living within ones means. Most of us have to but government does not seem to recognise the concept, though they try to make all the right noises. The deficit is merely a directional indicator whereas the real problem is the debt. The debt minus the PFI commitment and the unfunded pension commitment was last admitted at about £1.5 Trillion. Then there is PFI at around £2 to 3 Billion and pensions at an estimated £5.o Trillion. My answer to the pension problem is that the pension fund for universal retirement should be paid into a ring fenced fund and be managed for investment, not the robbing Peter to pay Paul system we have. My answer to the public service pension is that it should be a contributory one outside public accounts. This would give Jeremy a head of steam.

    1. mickc
      August 12, 2015

      My difficulty with the “intelligence services” is quite simply that they have become arms of the political machine. They provide whatever “answer” the government of the day wish them to….and that answer has led to the Iraq war and much loss of personal freedoms. The intelligence services must be treated with extreme suspicion, and oversight should be by independent minded MPs, not placemen like Malcolm Rifkind.

      Similar suspicions attach to NATO, which since the end of the Cold War has merely become an organisation for enforcing US foreign policy. Indeed the last Secretary General, Rasmussen, excelled in making statements which he must have known were untrue, particularly about Russia. He is now, of course, handsomely paid by Goldman Sachs.

      Organisations whose raison d’etre has gone, should be wound up, not allowed to self select their new purpose to prolong themselves.

  20. Shieldsman
    August 12, 2015

    Talk of re-nationalizing Railways and Electricity must appeal to the Unions and Labour movement.
    In both cases the Privatization was rather botched and the present varied ownership creates problems for Government.
    With the railways the taxpayer has become responsible for maintenance and upgrading of the track.
    With Electricity the DECC instructs the GRID whom to buy from and negotiates the unit price to be paid for new generating capacity.
    In neither case does the Customer get a good deal, having to pay over the odds.

  21. Richard1
    August 12, 2015

    Very politely put, and of course if Mr Corbyn wins he will have to be treated with due respect – although let’s remember it’s a tiny minority of virulently left wing people – Labour Party activists – who are electing him. I find it extraordinary that with all the evidence of the utter failure of the sorts of policies Mr Corbyn espouses there is still significant support for them. Mind you, how different is he really from Mr Burnham and Ms Cooper, both of whom also bleat on about public spending and opposition to welfare as Mr Corbyn does?

  22. Liz
    August 12, 2015

    Things don’t always work out the way predicted in politics – the recent General Election being a recent example. Nobody in the “Westminster village” thouht Jeremy Corbyn stood a chance (certainly not many of the Labour MPs who supported him) and now he is in with a strong chance of winning the leadership. if dodgy polls can be believed The Conservatives should not be too pleased as he may be more of a threat than they imagine.

  23. Vanessa
    August 12, 2015

    It is not what Jeremy Corbyn says but how he comes across. He is a very believable politician and does not talk in the usual sentences which mean nothing, say nothing and are lies anyway that we are used to. He comes across as someone who has convictions and speaks as the normal man in the street – a refreshing change for all of us.

    On the other side of the coin, most of his supporters, I think, are too young to remember or understand the consequences of his policies which would be a disaster. Britain was the “sick man of Europe” in the ’70s when we went into the EEC because we lived in a country where everything was nationalised. It did not make us rich.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 12, 2015

      Exactly people have been overdosed with with politicians vacuous drivel, serial ratting and the rest.

    2. stred
      August 14, 2015

      A lot of Jerry Corbyn’s new supporters are Russel Brand types who have ideas which would make traditional communists wince. They are so ignorant of reality that they don’t even realise they are communists. Other supporters are Torys who wan’t another Michael Foot to pillory.

  24. Mitchel
    August 12, 2015

    Concerns about NATO’s role-indeed raison d’etre- after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the abandonment of communist ideology by its successor states are not restricted to the left.Crucially important as a defensive alliance during the Cold War,it seems to have subsequently become another self-serving,self-perpetuating elite and instrument of aggressive US foreign policy.

  25. CdBrux
    August 12, 2015

    Mr Corbyn, like Ed Miliband before him to some extent, is actually quite good at highlighting many concerns that resonate with quite a few people from a sense of unjustness of large corporations being able to manage their tax (entirely lawfully, though this of course is not mentioned) in a way the small entrepreneur cannot, a shortage of housing pushing up house & rent prices (and I assume also housing benefits) a lot, energy prices, social mobility, etc…

    Unfortunately he offers easy sounding and what most here would recognise as quite wrong solutions to these concerns. In turn this means many dismiss him lock stock and barrel, but that is dangerous as this is then interpreted as dismissing the concern and not the solution and this loses the ability for the centre-right to be listened to.

    What Conservatives need to do is clearly show and explain how a more free market based approach, with sensible checks where needed, can solve the concerns he raises and crucially by doing so also show that those concerns are understood and important to the centre-right and not just the far left. It is also important to realise the first response will be “well we’ve tried that for the last xx years and it hasn’t worked so it’s clearly time for a change”. The centre-right must be ready with patient and non patronising answers to that.

    The approach adopted vs UKIP by both major parties of basically insulting them clearly didn’t work, as should have been pretty obvious. This must not be repeated should Corbyn become Labour leader.

    Interesting times!

  26. Bert Young
    August 12, 2015

    Corbyn is not good news to the Conservatives because his election to the leadership of Labour may create a wave of outspoken dissent in the ranks of the Conservatives . A confident feeling of ” now we have no real challenge to face ” can create splits of opinion and the reason to stick together .

    Corbyn -an extreme socialist , would want to take us back to those times of social unrest driving out enterprise and individualism . Organisations that have established themselves in this country would move away to those places where taxes and development were welcomed . His dream of creating an equal society would ultimately fail as it has done in those countries who chose to adopt a capitalistic approach instead . The world has moved on as the speed of communication has grown . Socialism in its extreme form has died a natural death .

  27. Kenneth
    August 12, 2015

    The problem with left wing arguments is that they are wrong.

    This is why they resort to platitudes:

    “We disagree with austerity”
    “We want peace and not war”

    Who doesn’t?

    They might as well shout: “We want the sun to rise every morning”

    Beyond the slogans there is failure. When they try to implement these policies they always go wrong. The world is littered with examples such as France or Venezuela.

    To talk of austerity in the UK is an insult to the people living under such regimes such as Venezuela who are suffering real austerity.

    And so it will prove with the left wing policies of the current Conservative government with their wage controls and ties with the extremist eu.

    We should react to Corbyn by having proper Conservative policies in place for the good of our people. Right now there is little sign of this.

  28. Mike Stallard
    August 12, 2015

    I think it was first proved on this site that Austerity was not happening – and you did this, Mr Redwood, several years ago too, to my great surprise. But you were right then and you are right now.We are not in the Euro like Greece, so we can adapt.

    What is this “Austerity” about then if it is not happening?
    I think the Unions are mainly white collar people paid by the government in one way or another. The Big Government of the Labour years is being cut back – thank heavens – and the Unions are therefore shouting. It is their parrot cry. And guess where Labour’s money comes from?
    “Austerity” can easily be disguised as “care for the vulnerable” too. Which appeals to all the people who are members of the Client State so encouraged and deliberately swelled by Mr Brown. Or the State employees who face the dole.
    Like the “Bedroom Tax” and “Tory Cuts” it is not true. But – hey who cares if it wins elections!

  29. Anonymous
    August 12, 2015

    There are a few basic things that the Tories could do that would blow Labour off the map for good.

    Paying attention to an important small minority is not what you’ve been elected to do.

    I don’t understand why we need to be talking about the state of the Labour party either when there are far more urgent matters at the moment.

    August 12, 2015

    Fear. Is how Conservatives should respond to the success of Mr Corbyn. The Right-wingers in the Labour Party, overwhelmingly dwelling in the Parliamentary Labour Party and other paid posts, have been cuckoos in the Left’s nest, parasites upon the bedrock rubber-stamped votes gained many decades ago when Labour meant Labour ( at least in British terms )

    Fear for the Conservatives because those “Right-wingers” may join the Tory Party. They are but professional politicians generally speaking, actually devoid of personal belief or commitment to any cause whatsoever. At the moment they are sold on the idea that “The Middle Ground” is where the Labour Party should be. Not because they can then get elected and do Many a Splendored Thing in line with their deep felt principles and beliefs but merely to get elected. Get the job of MP.Yes there are no doubt some who do not fit in this generalisation. Just as there are no doubt some members of the Conservative Party who do.

    The bedrock vote in Conservative and Labour Areas appears to be crumbling. Mr Corbyn seems to actually believe in what he says. Belief-Politicians and The Cause are known to work in politics. People who would perhaps be against such ideas can be swept into a maelstrom and actually vote for them. The late Mrs Thatcher is said by some to have been such a politician.

    As for nationalisation not working. Many voters have not personally experienced it. Not all who did, prefer capitalism. Some consider it in a typical British way of being the lesser of two evils.
    I feel it is true to say that the nationalised railway here was bad in many ways. But affordable …by all. Same with the bus service. With the added advantage over capitalism that the bus service actually existed.

    It must be understood by all Conservatives and everyone right of “The Middle Ground” that in the case of the Chicken and the Egg and what came first… it was Capitalism and not Socialism which came first. Das Kapital is heavy to read at the best of times. It would never have been read at all if Capitalism had in every instance worked. People are listening to Mr Corbyn. Conservatives have done or are doing something wrong.

    Reply My first major campaign in politics was to introduce competition and private capital into nationalised industries in the 1970s and early 1980s. The figures I researched showed nationalisation meant more risk of job loss, higher prices and faster price rises, and less investment in new technology. (Public Enterprise in Crisis. and other books)

      August 12, 2015

      OK you’ve made a sale.At least when I figure out one online retailer’s pricing.

  31. A different Simon
    August 12, 2015

    The next leader of the Conservative party, George Osborne , seems to have got in a pre-emptive strike by increasing the costs of employing people .

    As with Corbyn , there is no thought of whether these costs can be passed on to customers or whether the jobs/businesses will go to the wall .

    Osborne’s eyes seem fixed on becoming Prime Minister in 2020 and if that means he has to price the UK out of the global market then so be it .

    I could not believe he jacked up the insurance premium tax in the budget .

    What was the point of that ? Insurance is a socially useful product required by everyone . Outrageous .

    Corbyn does say things which need to be heard which have not had an airing for a long time ; e.g. the plight of ordinary people .

    Corbyn did voluntary service overseas and then worked as a union organiser so is not a normal person himself if the criteria includes having done a proper job .

    1. outsider
      August 12, 2015

      Dear ADS, Perhaps Mr Osborne really is a Socialist, as some comments on Mr Redwood’s blog somewhat unconvincingly claim. Under Marxist theory, if you remember. insurance is not a “socially useful product” but a parasitic bourgeois excrescence that exists only because of private property and wastes valuable resources.

      1. A different Simon
        August 13, 2015

        Up to a point Marx would be right about insurance in a worldwide Marxist system .

        However , I suspect people’s behaviour would deteriorate if they thought the collective would absorb their mistakes and negligence and that they themselves would not face a penalty like increased premiums .

        One could interpret that attitude towards insurance as an attempt to relax personal responsibility i.e. treat people like children in the hope that they will remain children .

        This would be consistent with the rumours that Marx was sponsored by the global banking cabal to come up with a social system for the little people – collectivism .

        I haven’t read Marx but would one day love to .

        Underwriting is perhaps the only part of the London financial services industry to demonstrate propriety and hold it’s head above the cesspit of market rigging , rate rigging and money laundering .

        It baffles why Osborne got such an easy ride over hikes in the insurance premium tax .

  32. Tad Davison
    August 12, 2015

    ‘When it comes to the issue of the Middle East we need to be more careful. He is not all wrong. ‘

    Good to hear you say that John. If only your leader would listen to your wise counsel. He worries me, he really does.


    1. alan jutson
      August 12, 2015


      “…If only your leader would listen to your wise counsel. He worries me, he really does”

      He worries many of us Tad, given he seems to have a poor record of choosing people for advice, and appears very poor at any sort of negotiation.

      He also appears to be rather careless with taxpayers money, it would seem every time he ventures into the big wide World he seems to give away millions, even billions to other Nations for some sort of scheme or another.

  33. Lifelogic
    August 12, 2015

    Meanwhile while Osborne thinks he can decided minimum wages but unemployment is already starting to rise even with interest rates at 1/2% and Osborne’s idiotic & largely socialist comand economy economics has not even started yet.

    Cut taxes, cut daft over regulation, cut bloated government waste, simplify taxes, sort out the EU relationship, control the borders and cut energy prices. Thus putting the UK on the right track to keep Corbyn (or any other lefty dope) out in 2020. Being Corbyn light is not the way to go.

  34. agricola
    August 12, 2015

    I have been trying to understand why Germany has been so desperate to keep Greece within the Euro and for that matter the EU. It is all to do with how much Germany is owed and not likely to see again should Greece Grexit.

    On the face of it , up front so to speak , Germany has contributed about Eu. 90 Billion to the Greek economy, but this is only what you see of the iceberg. The below water bit is what we in the UK might call Export Guarantees. To further German exports to Greece , the German Central Bank has covered German manufacturers, or put another way, paid them about Eu 100 Billion for goods they have sold to Greek clients. Said Greek clients have paid the Greek Central bank Eu 100 Billion for those goods, but the Greek Central bank has apparently not paid the German Central Bank possibly because it has more pressing demands for it’s funds. This is why I think the Germans were desperate to avoid a Grexit.

    This is apparently only the tip of an even bigger iceberg, that of the PIIGS (Portugal Italy, Ireland, Greece Spain). Though I would think that with the exception of Greece the other PIIGS countries have a better chance of repaying their Central Bank debts to the German Central Bank, it amounts in all to EU 531 Billion.

    Unlike after WW2 when Germany was given vast sums of money via the Marshall Plan and immunity from paying reparations for all the death and damage Nazi Germany had done to it’s European neighbours, the current Germany has forgotten all this and expects payment on the nail for any money it lends within a currency union where the successful are supposed to look after the less successful. I do not excuse Greece’s profligate running of her economy, but think that Germany has responsibilities she is avoiding within the monetary union she has in part created.

    1. Mitchel
      August 12, 2015

      @Agricola: “I have been trying to understand why Germany has been has been so desperate to keep Greece within the Euro and for that matter the EU”.The whole western neo-liberal financial system has become one vast ponzi scheme,nobody must be allowed to leave(neither Greece,nor ourselves) while new additions must be constantly be made(Russia with its vast resources and low level of indebtedness is the great prize) and no competing system will be allowed to flourish lest the whole thing collapses.

    2. petermartin2001
      August 12, 2015

      “I have been trying to understand why Germany has been so desperate to keep Greece within the Euro and for that matter the EU”

      OK. Let’s consider what would have happened if Greece had left and defaulted on its debt. At a stroke it would have been free of its accumulated national debt and could have started issuing the New Drachma or whatever the Greeks wanted to call the new currency. The chances are that the Greek economy would have started to improve after an initial period of turmoil.

      The rest of the eurozone would have had to pick up the tab. They’d have to honour those euros that had been either kept as cash or transferred to German banks.

      Then Spain, Ireland, Portugal and maybe Italy could have followed. Every time a country leaves, the rest of the eurozone has to pick up the tab. The last one left ie Germany would be left with the entire bill for everyone else, especially if the euros had been transferred to German banks.

      There’d be trillions of euros involved. If that prospect doesn’t scare the Germans, it should!

  35. JJE
    August 12, 2015

    I see it reported that Wikileaks are crowdfunding a reward for anyone who leaks details of the EU/US trade talks – the TTIP.
    It seems odd that this is being conducted in such secrecy, does it not? As we are always being told when the state pries into our private affairs, if they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear.
    Then I see that David Cameron has pledged to “put a rocket booster” behind the talks and I know we are in trouble.

    There is another issue here where Mr. Corbyn is much more likely to have my support than Mr. Cameron.

    Reply The talks are entirely handled by the EU because trade is an EU competence. They do provide updates on their website from time to time – just the kind of thing our MEPs ought to be shouting about.

  36. Grumpy Goat
    August 12, 2015

    Totally in agreement. Although I think we yet be fighting more wars soon. ISIS has to be dealt with. Putin may yet do something stupid in Europe.

  37. Jerry
    August 12, 2015

    “We need to recognise that Mr Corbyn speaks for an important minority,”

    You hope they will still be a minority come 2020 (or when ever)!

    Trouble is, in 1975 many thought that Thatcher, her policies and supporters were “important minority”, and had the following election been held in 1977 or ’78 there might [1] never have been Thatcherism. The Tories won in 1979 because of circumstances (the winter of discontent and miss reporting by the MSM of comment made by Mr Callaghan) and then remained in power until ’97 because the Labour party imploded, New Labour won in 1997 because of circumstances and then remained in power until 2010 because the Tory party imploded.

    “We need also to recognise that even if Mr Corbyn finally fails to secure the job of Leader, he has changed the Labour party by challenging the ” left of centrist” cynicism of Blair/Brown politics and by driving all his opponents leftwards as conventionally defined.

    Labour lost in 2015 because many considered them either Tory lite or not left-wing enough so simply voted for other parties that had the more pure message/policies. Most notably in Scotland, but UKIP also seems to have gained from the traditional left-wing opposition to the EU in England.

    “He does not seem to understand that the main part of the railways is already nationalised and performing very badly as a result.”

    Utter tosh, the main parts of the railways is still in private hands, the TOCs. Would you claim that it was the DfT and/or the Highways Agencies at fault if the various private bus operators offered such a dire service and sky high ticket prices?! Network Rail is to the railway industry what the Highways Agencies are to the private omnibus companies.

    “We need to repeat the arguments against nationalisation, bigger government and higher tax rates, where we have the best case and considerable popular support.”

    “TINA” has died, more than likely because anyone with internet access can now de-construct the political spin, perhaps that is why Corbyn is doing so well, he speaks from the heart, not a crib-sheet provided by a focus groups whose sound-bites de-construct once put into the services of Google etc…

    [1] indeed reports suggested that she herself felt that the party and her campaign was not ready

    1. libertarian
      August 12, 2015


      What do you do for a living? Why are you afraid to tell us?

      By the way your post lacks facts, references, evidence or any form of reality. Remind us why you screech at LL and others about facts but consistently rant without recourse to any yourself. Is it because lefties like you don’t need evidence ,you just know?

    2. Edward2
      August 12, 2015

      “the main parts of the railways is still in private hands”
      Railtrack is the main part and gets the largest handout from the state.

    3. outsider
      August 12, 2015

      Dear Jerry,
      Mr Cameron did finally win an election. He did so by fighting firmly on the centre ground and that needs to be acknowledged. I fancy that Labour lost because its team was generally thought to have been less competent in the recent past and likely to be less competent if it won. If you are all trying to fight for the self-defined centre ground, perceived or actual competence is bound to be a critical factor.

      The rise of Ukip, the Greens and now Mr Corbyn’s Left, suggests that this US-inspired campaigning has had its day and that, for many millions of electors, much of the “centre ground” is no longer what Lord Tebbit calls “the common ground”.
      No doubt people will argue about what the “common ground” among rich/poor, North/South, young/old, private/public actually is, but that is what an Opposition should focus on if it wants to win the next election other than by default. Mr Miliband did once talk of “One Nation Labour” but that turned out to be no more than a smart slogan was not thought through.

      1. CdBrux
        August 13, 2015

        “No doubt people will argue about what the “common ground” among rich/poor, North/South, young/old, private/public actually is”

        I think that common ground is getting much much smaller and what remains of it is possibly quite close to where Cameron is. Many people seem to view the ‘common ground’ as being where they themselves are, be they a Corbynite, Farageist (?) etc… or if they do recognise it’s not with them then it’s only a matter of time until the electorate come round to their way of thinking.

        With internet forums it is ever easier to find a reasonably sized group of people who think the way you do on certain topics. You hear those voices therefore much more than others, in particular if you don’t read around opposing points of view, and can convince yourself far more people share your opinion than is actually the case.

        1. outsider
          August 13, 2015

          You may be right CDB but I will have a go at four “common ground” positions:
          1)Tax-funded health service, free at point of need (all parties on common ground).
          2) No inessential foreign adventures (party stances unclear)
          3)Less Europe and more ability to control our own affairs (Conservatives, rhetorically at least, and Mr Corbyn on common ground, but not existing Labour, Lib Dems, Greens or Ukip).
          4) Serious action to address worsening housing shortage (Ukip and Greens on common ground but not Labour, Conservatives or Lib Dems).

          1. CdBrux
            August 14, 2015

            A fair start I would say. I think also a desire to see a more level playing field between the large corporations and small businesses and a desire to see less politicians with increasing accountability (I think this is one point where Corbyn could find some common ground with the more libertarian right, such as Carswell).

      2. Jerry
        August 14, 2015

        @outsider; “Mr Cameron did finally win an election. He did so by fighting firmly on the centre ground and that needs to be acknowledged.”

        Centre-right perhaps, certainly not the political centre.

  38. agricola
    August 12, 2015

    Speculate for a moment on what might happen if Jeremy Corbyn were elected leader of the labour party. It would be a party of much narrower appeal than the Blairite Labour party. So what happens to the electorate that once voted for New Labour. It is left without an anchor, adrift and open to offers.

    There are always the Lib /Dems. They might appeal to some of the Hampstead/ Notting Hill elite of the Labour party, but neither they nor the Corbyn labour party are likely to recognise the needs of an abandoned electorate. Neither of them can address the erosion of sovereignty to the EU and it’s unbridled consequence of unlimited immigration. Not to mention all the other problems of belonging to the EU. In essence Corbyn and the Lib/Dems see themselves as belonging to their sort of people who run the EU. Corbyn could attract a few core socialists in Scotland from the SNP, particularly when the SNP have to deal with the reality of the power they seek.

    The disenfranchised , until now Labour voter will look more closely at UKIP where many of his fellow voters have already drifted. UKIP have unequivocal answers to the iniquities of the EU and appeal to labour voters who live much closer to the consequences of uncontrolled immigration, and the inability to deport foreign criminals and even worse foreign terrorists . Jeremy’s arrival at the head of a sterilised ,purer form of Labour could benefit the fortunes of UKIP to an immeasurable extent.

    Reply The latest poll shows Conservatives up to 40% and ukip down to 10%

    1. agricola
      August 12, 2015

      Reply to Reply

      Who can believe polls after the last election. I for one have little faith in their purity or integrity. Wait until there is something really substantive to vote about, but even then I look upon them as a political tool of persuasion as much as an indication of voting intent. I am more interested in how your party manage your conference. Will there be a free and open debate on the floor concerning our future with the EU or will it be another backslapping fest. To what extent will Cameron explain himself and this bizarre love affaire he has with the EU. Will you , Daniel Hannan ,and Bill Cash to name but three, be allowed to stand up and shred the case for staying in the EU.

    2. Jerry
      August 13, 2015

      @agricola; “Speculate for a moment on what might happen if Jeremy Corbyn were elected leader of the labour party. It would be a party of much narrower appeal than the Blairite Labour party”

      But would it be of much narrower appeal, I think you are over estimating the numbers of floating voters between a Blairite Labour party and the Tory party, these lost voters might be more than made up for, from people returning from those (still sitting on hands) LibDem voter, the Greens, the SNP, even left-wing europhobes returning from ‘better than nothing’ support of UKIP [1], not to mention the large numbers of disaffected non-voters and those from protest parties such as the SLP (should Clause Four be brought back, of course).

      “The disenfranchised , until now Labour voter will look more closely at UKIP where many of his fellow voters have already drifted.”

      To understand why the Labour party, and people like Corbyn within, are pro the EU one needs to understand the fall-out from Tory policies in the 1980s and policy comments made in the late 1980s by the then EC Commission president Jacques Delors with regards workers/socail rights being upheld by the EC (now EU). Until then the Labour party was still campaigning for the reigning-in of super-national EEC powers etc, if not a Brexit, as in 1983. A ‘Corbynite’ left-wing government would have no real need for such Delors style protection policies, indeed current EU policies might well become a burden upon their ability to carry out their policies, meaning that Labour party could again become a Eurosceptic/phobic party which will almost certainly further damage UKIP.

      [1] the biggest blunder Ed Miliband (and the Blairites) made, not offering an In/Out referendum on our EU membership…

  39. Edward2
    August 12, 2015

    I think Mr Corbyn is popular simple because the other candidates are so poor.

    1. Jerry
      August 13, 2015

      @Edward2; “because the other candidates are so poor”

      Totally agree, for once, but with the added suggestion that this includes the other main-stream parties and the current government, hence why the Labour Party has seen both full and partial memberships increase so dramatically/alarmingly (depending on ones point of view), most of whom will not be those attempting to do damage to a political rival, since Mr Corbyn entered the leadership contest.

      1. Edward2
        August 13, 2015

        I’m very happy for Mr Corbyn to become leader.
        Its time we had a proper debate on policies and some radical elements in UK politics.
        Too many MPs alter their policies and opinions just to suit the voters and we know Mr Corbyn will stick to his views even if the majority of voters probably will not vote for him at a general election..
        Mind you he might persuade them that he is right.
        Exciting times ahead.

  40. Peter Stroud
    August 12, 2015

    I really cannot see how some of Corbyn’s policies could be implemented without some recourse to forceful persuasion. Some, such as the control of the rented sector, and the complete re nationalisation of the railways, will be prohibitively expensive, unless forced through without compensation.

    1. Jerry
      August 13, 2015

      Peter Stroud; “re nationalisation of the railways, will be prohibitively expensive”

      Not at all, there is already a ‘nationalised’ holding TOC that becomes a carrier of last resort should there be no franchise holder, so any expired franchises (or any franchise that is handed back) thus routes and services not put out for re-franchising would simply becomes a part of that carrier of last resort, combine both that TOC and NR into a single entity and rename it “British Railways” and you have the beginnings of a nationalised railways system (perhaps also transferring back those railway related responsibilities distributed upon the abolition of BRB (Residuary) Ltd in 2013) – if a Corbyn lead government wanted to start forcing the issue then it just needs to make the TOCs stand by their full franchise commitments, with ever tighter -safety related- regulation, an almost impossible (economically speaking) task for any TOC, even the ROSCO’s, if faced with having to finance the full and total replacement of all rolling stock over say 15 years old etc…!

      Not that I would agree with such an approach, just saying. Thus hardly a penny needs to be spend in the actual re nationalisation of the railways, but I suspect that most TOCs etc.would choose to sit down and negotiate a realistic financial settlement given their otherwise likely fate.

      Reply On the contrary. The state would need to buy up the rolling stock and engines from the ROSCOs at considerable cost, and would need to subsidise the TOCs more than under current arrangements judging by past nationalised experience.

      1. CdBrux
        August 14, 2015

        I am convinced nationalisation is not the right way to go, however we must also recognise that for many franchises there seems to be little input from the franchisee themselves (notable exceptions such as Chiltern who have a very long franchise). DfT specify quite closely a lot of the requirements, I suspect in response to MP’s lobbying for their constituents so government is a very significant player in running the railways anyway! I do think there is a case that local transport operates on a model as in London where the operators run a concession for a fee as I understand. For longer distances a way to allow more open access operators in needs to be found.

        The main charges against privitisation is that:
        1. More total subsidy now (to NR & TOC’s) than before. The counter to this must be we compare apples and oranges and per passenger it is much down.
        2. The profit margin now taken by the operators / ROSCO’s should be invested back, not to mention the legal fees and incremental management structures from having several organisations involved.

        Overall rail nationalisation seems a popular idea (letting franchises run out), putting aside the rolling stock (you could leave existing rolling stock with ROSCO’s and procure new directly as is sometimes done anyway) this should not need up front cash.

        It needs a clear argument to address those concerns and maybe some action to show the organisational aspects are being streamlined. After all the McNulty report shows UK rail is up to 40% more costly than on the continent and I think Chris Grayling admitted when in opposition that, if doing it again, “we wouldn’t have privatised the railways in the same way”

      2. Jerry
        August 14, 2015

        @JR reply; “The state would need to buy up the rolling stock “

        The only question would what that (fair) price is, and how much of a “fire sale” it would turn into.

        “judging by past nationalised experience.”

        As I’ve said before, I would prefer a “Big Four” (1923-1947) style consolidation as a solution, but given a choice between a continuation of the utter omni-shambles we have had since the 1990s privatisation and re-nationalisation then the latter wins hands down. The current shambles is still costing the national economy a small fortune, just that ‘tax payers’ now pay in a more direct way, so that it doesn’t show up on the Chancellors books.

        1. Edward2
          August 14, 2015

          You live in a starry eyed virual reality of the past Jerry.
          Move forward, its now 2015.
          Why think policies from 1923 will benefit this modern age?

          1. Jerry
            August 15, 2015

            @Edwasrd2; “You live in a starry eyed virual reality of the past Jerry.”

            I’m nothing like you Edward, unlike you I see history as providing answers or at least insight, you just see it as facts from the past that need to be kept under lock and key for fear that they might prove your “new Jerusalem” politically idolised, blue-skies thinking, wrong… Seeing that you claim to have no wish to return to the 1800s.

            “Why think policies from 1923 will benefit this modern age?”

            Historical facts. Something you obviously do not understand, because you (seem to) have no real knowledge of the railway system other than what you read in the right wing MSM. Also had Labour not won the election in 1945 there would have been on “British Railways”, we would still have the GWR, LMS, LNER and SR companies, almost certainly and successfully, operating our railway system to this day, and that system would be the modernised system we have today too, not those pre-war preserved museum pieces you probably think about when someone starts talking about how the railways were operated between 1923 and 1947.

          2. libertarian
            August 16, 2015


            Here we go again

            Your quote “Something you obviously do not understand, because you (seem to) have no real knowledge of the railway system ”

            Please provide some evidence that you do have an understanding and where you came by that experience.

            So far you tell us you’re and expert in TV transmission systems, Railways, F1 Racing business and you’re an Engineer working with secret projects.

            The fact that you think that a pre wwaII railway system will work in the 21st century tells us a lot about your thinking skills

  41. Ron Green
    August 12, 2015

    I’m slightly surprised to see that you are rightly condemning the idea of nationalisation yet at the same time the Conservative Party is allowing the effective nationalisation of buses in Cornwall and it would appear anywhere else in England that local authorities want a new toy to play with, and no doubt wreck. Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire plus Nottingham and Derby with their N2D2 plan.

    Could you explain why nationalising bus operation by allowing authroites to set franchises is being driven by a Tory government. Let’s face it whether it be Stage Coach or small independents, they are all better than the National Bus Company ever was. I know the London model is often quoted, but it’s £2.9m per day subsidy is not going to matched is it?

    No doubt some foreign outfit will suicide bid the small competion from their routes operated for years then hold the authorities to ransom when there’s no choice for them down the line. East Coast Main Line ring any bells? GNER outbid by National Express.

    Who’d have thought the 2015 election result would bring about nationalisation?

  42. David McDonagh
    August 12, 2015

    I agree with Margaret that we were way more a settled as a UK nation in the 1940s than maybe before or since.

    The war had trained us as masochists and so that 1947 winter was severe and also newly nationalised coal was in very short supply nevertheless we were less in discontent then than in the milder winter of 1978 but then there was more malice in that later 1970s winter than in the very naïve days of the 1940s.

    We always should know better than we do, I guess, but it is odd to see that Corbyn still has not done his economics homework, such as old timer and lifelogic above have.

    Will he win? It will be fun if he does; and he is not the only backward one for we have Leanne Wood in Wales and Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland who both are still with how Mrs Webb was all her life, and in her teens she wrote in her diary [before 1900!] that she just could not comprehend economics.

    The irony is that their nationalisation politics increased post-war austerity worse than it was even in the war for rather than to oppose it, as they imagine it might; and for us all to now adopt statism in their version then we would soon dwarf 2007/8 as a big problem for the UK.

    1. Jerry
      August 13, 2015

      @David McDonagh; [the shortages of the mid and late 1940s] As if the shortage or working age men (even women), and/or raw materials was not a problem, that caused just the same issues for private companies as it did for the newly nationalised ones.

      “We always should know better than we do, I guess, but it is odd to see that Corbyn still has not done his economics homework, such as old timer and lifelogic above have. “

      But the simple repeating the manta of TINA is not “doing ones economics homework”, the critical appraisal of economic theory is, be that the opinions of such people as Marx, Keynes and indeed (and especially given the 2007-8 failings) Friedman is.

  43. acorn
    August 12, 2015

    For me, the delineating factor between the Osborne mob and the Corbyn mob is, which one understands the basic macroeconomic ident, that is:-

    One man’s spending is another man’s income. If all the private sector “men” stop spending, the public sector “men” have to increase their spending, otherwise the economy contracts. If the public sector welches on this obligation, by some religious-like affinity to an erroneous ideology, it shall be called “neo-liberal austerity”.

    The unrelenting deficit terrorists, who don’t understand what has been going on, were at it again. Like an old gramophone record stuck in a worn out groove they chanted their mantras about record debt levels and how best to cut the deficit. They appear to be stuck in a pre-1971 monetary system as well; and, haven’t yet caught up with the fact that times have changed. We have CDs, DVDs, MP3s and a fiat monetary system.

    Research has shown conclusively in the past that those who undergo mainstream economics training are more selfish, less co-operative, less honest and less generous than other groups. These insidious qualities are reinforced and strengthen over the course of their undergraduate years.

    There has also been conjecture about the political role played by conservative economists – that is, that they provide authority for the industrial and financial elites to lobby politicians to introduce policy regimes that create the conditions whereby these groups can appropriate an ever increasing share of real income.

    They have been used to perpetuate the myth that the “business cycle” was dead and hence governments should have limited involvement in the “market economy” which was promoted as being self-regulating and capable of maximising wealth creation for the benefit of everyone.

    It was clear that this was always a sham and ideologically based rather than ground in any theoretical legitimacy or evidence-based standing. (All extracts from Prof’ Bill Mitchell’s blog; who, with a little luck and judgement, will be asked to be economic advisor to Mr Corbyn.)

  44. bigneil
    August 12, 2015

    Worried about Corbyn’s success? Surely you should be more worried about your own party’s lies. Promises and pledges made as election vote collectors – instantly reneged on after the election. Blatant non- effective action to stop all the criminals and vandals in Calais fighting their way here to be rewarded with free lives on the taxpayer. Millions more on their way to complete the destruction- social, cultural and financial – of this nation, which your two-faced leader is intent on helping to happen. There must be very many people who voted for your party that already sorely regret their action.

  45. matthu
    August 12, 2015

    OT, but as The Telegraph reports:

    The new inheritance tax system, which offers a tax-free allowance of up to £1m for those who own their own home, is one of the most over-engineered tax proposals I have ever seen.

    It needs radical simplification.

    I thought tax simplification had always been a tenet of Conservatism? What happened?

  46. outsider
    August 13, 2015

    UK atomic power stations are effectively state-owned Marcia. It is just that they are owned by the French government rather than the British. Trust you are reassured.

    1. CdBrux
      August 14, 2015

      I would trust the French to operate to high H&S standards, more concerned about the Chinese!

  47. A different Simon
    August 13, 2015

    Mercia ,

    Did I read correctly that you “want us to shut down all our nuclear plants” ?

    The Germans have replaced their nuclear with lignite coal .

    What are you proposing to replace ours with ?

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