Jeremy Corbyn did well in the general election, confounding his critics. In the immediate aftermath, he presented Labour’s defeat as a famous personal victory. The Tories have helped him get away with it, of course, in the weeks since, by being quite exceptionally useless.
Now the Tory high command is so terrified of being out of touch with younger voters that for its next trick it is setting up a parliamentary smash (with the DUP) on transgender rights, in which it will presumably end up having to rely on Labour support to force through measures about which there is likely to be deep public scepticism. In this way, yet again, policy and events flow in a direction dictated by Jeremy Corbyn, Marxist menace, fan of Hugo Chavez and supporter of the IRA.
Not that any of that past record seems to matter to those among a new generation of voters who have concluded that the trouble with history is that it is all in the past and its lessons can thus be discounted. No, ignore the lessons of history and you risk revisiting the failures of the past. The sins of socialism will become very much apparent, and shockingly contemporary, if this bunch of Corbynite scoundrels ever get in and start doing what the hard left does during the resulting run for the exits on the economy. You think McDonnell (fan of Lenin and Trotsky) and assorted hoods will be able to resist “emergency measures” such as capital controls, theft and mass nationalisation? Wake up.
Corbyn is not getting it all his own way, however. There is potential trouble in paradise it seems, on the question of student fees and debt.
A pledge to scrap fees, costed in the short term at a whopping £11.2bn, helped win Corbyn the support of younger voters at the general election. Others youngsters were irked at the injustice of the housing bubble, and their own inability to get on the ladder. But fees were the totem.
Towards the end of the campaign an excited Corbyn went further. He would “deal” with total student debt, he said. The impression given by him and Corbynistas was that the £11.2bn was simply a down payment on the elimination of student debt in its entirety.
Now, after the election, that pledge has been downgraded by Corbyn into an “aspiration.” Beware the word “aspiration” in politics. It means “not a chance”. Think of it this way. I aspire to own a vineyard just outside Bordeaux in 2030 and to join the Rolling Stones, but that doesn’t mean either thing is going to happen.
Hilariously – honestly, the bloke is beyond parody – Corbyn now admits in an interview with Andrew Marr at the weekend that when he said during the campaign he would deal with the entire student debt, he did not know how much it would cost to wipe out. The answer is around £100bn. What’s £100bn between friends? One hundred billion here, one hundred billion there, and soon you’re talking a real trillion.
In a rational environment, this sophistry and charlatanry would surely make youngsters take another look at Corbyn and wonder if they had been fooled at the election and duped into believing him. Indeed, isn’t Corbyn’s pious pitch – that he is not like all the other politicians – revealed to be utter tosh?
In Won’t Get Fooled Again, The Who’s 1971 post-1960s masterpiece about disillusion and revolutionary con artists, one of the best lines goes as follows:
“And the parting on the left, is now parting on the right. And the beards have all grown longer overnight.”
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It closes with an enduring observation:
“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”
Corbynism is a new version of an old story, in which the revolutionary charlatan gets people excited and then stitches them up when he has what he wants.
But what do The Who know? They’re old. Ancient history. And what can history ever teach us? A lot, in the case of Corbyn. His brand of economics results in disaster and misery, as is demonstrated whenever it is tried. Furthermore, he is a late-flowering narcissist in love with the adoration and the applause of the crowds at rallies. Don’t trust him one bit.