1. Tory ex-Chancellor Kenneth Clarke: “Don’t underestimate Jeremy Corbyn … he could win.”
Kenneth Clarke is a major figure in the Conservative Party (a former Chancellor, Home Secretary, Lord Chancellor, Justice Secretary, Education Secretary and Health Secretary).
As he told The Huffington Post:
“Don’t underestimate Jeremy Corbyn. He’s a nice guy.
“It’s not certain he will lose an election. Michael Foot, who stood on a much more left wing platform in 1983, was miles ahead before the election.
“If you have another recession or if the Conservative Government becomes very unpopular, he could win.
“In difficult times the party with the duty of government can become unpopular.
“He will be difficult to campaign against.”
Everywhere you look, they’re saying the same thing. Labour is in hock to the unions, not friendly enough to big business. In The Spectator, ally of the working man Nick Cohen demonises Unite’s Len McCluskey, the evil genius who controls Labour. In the Telegraph, resident Blairophile Dan Hodges stuffs his usual self-satisfied, evidence-free fluff down the reader’s throat. (Didn’t he tell us Ed Miliband would lose?) Equally untethered from evidence and sense, the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland tells Labour to stop worrying and embrace Blair. Continue reading
Some people are such sore losers. When a legitimate vote goes against them, they refuse to accept the result. When people say things they don’t like, they try and shut them down. Oh, they may preach democracy and free expression, but they’re soon intolerant of anyone with the nerve to disagree. You know who I’m talking about. I’m referring, of course, to our new government. Continue reading
1. Labour created the deficit by borrowing and spending too much
Nigel Farage: “Look, there’s no question that spending got completely out of control under Labour” (00:21:21)
David Cameron: “The Choice at this election is sticking with a plan that’s working – or going back to the debt, taxes, borrowing and spending that got us in this mess in the first place.” (00:06:10)
“if we go back to the tax, the waste, the spending and the debt, all the things that got us into a mess in the first place, we wouldn’t help working people; we’d hurt working people. That’s what Labour did last time, and we mustn’t let it happen again.” (00:11:55)
“Here’s the point, we’ve got to understand why the deficit matters and why we got here. And the problem and the real choice is with Ed Miliband, who still thinks the last Labour government didn’t tax too much, borrow too much and spend too much. And if you don’t understand the mistakes of the past, you can’t provide the leadership for the future.” (18:03)
“We won’t do it if we go back to the debt, the welfare, the spending and the taxes that got us into this mess in the first place.” (00:25:40) Continue reading
Perhaps the most bizarre assumption pervading last week’s seven-way leaders’ debate was that slashing public spending not only doesn’t harm the economy but actively strengthens it. The claim surfaced repeatedly, most often – and least surprisingly – from David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Continue reading
Perhaps the most surreal moment in Debunking Economics – Professor Steve Keen’s broadside against mainstream economic theory – comes when he proves that a functioning “free market” would require a “benevolent dictatorship”. In reality, the proof is not his: astonishingly, he takes it from “a neoclassical textbook … used in the training of virtually every American PhD student since the late 1990s”. According to conventional economic theory, we all buy more of something the cheaper it gets. To reach this conclusion, economists constructed a model of a single individual – Robinson Crusoe on his desert island – worked out that the theory holds (given some reductive assumptions about human behaviour), then extrapolated it to the whole of society. Hey presto! Continue reading
In The Black Power Mixtape – Swedish journalists’ portrait of the 1967-75 US struggle for black equality – civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael offers the following criticism of Martin Luther King:
“Dr. King’s policy was that nonviolence would achieve the gains for black people in the United States. His major assumption was that if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent will see your suffering and will be moved to change his heart. That’s very good. He only made one fallacious assumption: in order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.”
As a critique of non-violence in the civil rights struggle, this is debatable. But in the wake of Greece’s stand-off with the Eurogroup, Carmichael’s indictment of “an opponent without a conscience” acquires a peculiar resonance. Continue reading