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The polls have been consistently disastrous for the Labour Party for some time now. Surely things can only get better? The Labour leadership are probably not big D:Ream fans but nonetheless decided to try and improve their fortunes with a relaunch for the New Year. So, should we expect a “new and improved”, reinvigorated Labour? Not when they are led by people who haven’t had a new idea in thirty years and are so clueless that they can’t tell when an idea is so bad that even floating it to measure opinion is inevitably going to be a PR disaster.
On Tuesday morning, apparently looking to feed on the resentment and frustrations of British society – like our own answer to Trump – Corbyn proposed a salary cap to crack down on those dreadful rich and successful people we all hate so much. For a start, the appallingly handled communication of this vague proposal is a reminder, as if we needed one, of just how muddled and incompetent Corbyn is politically.
Speaking on the BBC Today programme, Corbyn said: “I can’t put a figure on it and I don’t want to at the moment.” Cue a synchronised facepalm from Labour MPs across the country, knowing full well that they would be asked for an estimated figure in every subsequent interview and made to look foolish. He simultaneously managed to make himself appear uncertain and the policy itself seem like an ill thought out vague idea from the big red book of neo-Communist drivel.
Then, after taking a hammering from every direction – from the free market right to left wing economists that have previously advised his team – Corbyn had heavily diluted the policy by the afternoon. Now the policy would only apply to companies awarded government contracts, and it will be a 20-1 ratio rather than an outright limit.
The very fact that a salary cap was considered shows that a Corbyn premiership would be far more economically catastrophic than anything threatened by the erratic game show host about to take the reins across the Atlantic. His loyalists won’t accept that, for that might cause reflection on their own bad ideas, but the rapid backtracking exposes Corbyn as so utterly clueless and befuddled that one has to wonder if eventually even his most loyal supporters might abandon him.
In just one day he U-turned on free movement (again) and U-turned on his bold policy to tackle income inequality, which was actually based on a falsehood anyway. To justify his salary cap, Corbyn said:
“The point I’m trying to make is that we have the worst levels of income disparity of most of the OECD countries in this country. It is getting worse. And corporation tax is part of it. If we want to live in a more egalitarian society, and fund our public services, we cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality.”
Is income disparity getting worse? No, Jeremy just didn’t bother to check the facts. ONS data released yesterday actually showed that inequality is falling, again. Real incomes for the poorest fifth of households increased by £700 last year, with incomes in the richest households falling £1,000. The latest OECD data shows that between 2007 and 2014 incomes for low-income workers increased 10 per cent while the income of the highest fell by eight per cent. The World Bank’s Gini index, a measure of wealth distribution, shows that income inequality in the UK fell between 2004 and 2012.
Post-truth left-wing politics eh?
The data is actually irrelevant because policy ideas such as these are driven purely by ideology. The Labour leader is a Socialist dogmatist who thinks you can fundamentally alter human nature to fit his rigid idea of what a society should be and how people should behave. Never mind that everywhere his archaic ideas have been tried they have been proven economically and socially disastrous.
This policy did not need floating in the public sphere to test the reaction; beyond the confines of the socialist bubble, it is obvious why this policy would harm the economy. It would incentivize the richest to leave the UK, depriving the state of their tax contributions. It doesn’t matter that the policy was dropped; we know that a Corbynite UK would be a talent repellent.
At a time when so many are wondering how we can facilitate the creation of a “British Google”, the Labour Party is proposing policies that will ensure that never happens. We need to make Britain an even better place to set up and run a business, which will create jobs and increase tax revenue. Instead, the leader of the opposition, who hasn’t changed any of his political opinions since the 70s, wants to do the time warp again.
Jeremy Corbyn wants to stoke resentment of the rich, still palpable because of the great bank bailout swizz of 2008, by perpetuating wrongheaded ideas about the salary of executives. Talented and experienced chief executives can drive the success or failure of their company, so they are paid accordingly. The decisions they make affect every part of the company from top to bottom, if they guide the company to success it means it will thrive, expand, employ more people and pay more tax.
Consider how important the decisions at the top will be in the coming years for firms like Marks and Spencer and Tesco. After several bad years, they need a better strategy and better leadership; it can be make or break. This is why corporations are right to pay what it takes to attract top talent, and of course we want the best business leaders in Britain, right?
Corbyn and his band of merry reds think not. They want state enforced equality, which only leads to misery for the poor, the destruction of the middle class and the wealthy running to the life boats. A different route to the same destination as crony capitalism.
This ill-fated Labour relaunch has only served to remind us that they have no idea how to harness aspiration and talent to increase prosperity, just when we need it the most. To top it all off they are breathtakingly ineffectual when we need strong leadership. The “rebooted” Jeremy Corbyn, Corbyn mark 2 if you will, is even more inept than the old one.
Ben Kelly is an Executive Director of Conservatives for Liberty.