Labour Party

Socialism: What If The Labour Party Had Won?

Even though the Conservative Party won a comfortable majority in the December 2019 UK General Election, it’s still worth talking about what life would have been like under Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist Labour Party.

What would happen when the economic policies of nationalisation, massive spending and capital controls started yielding truly negative results? Would the Labour Party move towards the centre ground of politics again, or double down on more state ownership?

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Election Results 2019 – Who and what were the real winners?

It’s results day 2019!

In this episode, we discuss the UK General Election results. We look at statistics, trends, vote share and debate who, & what, were the real winners and losers this time around.

We may be relieved, but is the result actually bittersweet?

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General Election 2019 and the Current State of British Politics

It’s that time again! It’s polling day tomorrow, so we couldn’t record anything but a General Election special.

We discuss the latest YouGov MRP (whatever that stands for…), trends amongst other polls and the state of the current crop of political parties.

Just how close do we think the result will be? Will we be heading for a strong Tory majority? Or will we face another hung parliament? Are we really in a time of unprecedented political turmoil?

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Democracy, Libertarianism and the Trouble with Voting

Recorded straight after the last edition, we follow on with a discussion on the problems of our democratic system and whether we only have a choice of the “least worst” from here on in.

We talk about whether voting matters in a “safe seat”, and whether we have been unwittingly encouraging others to vote on twitter by pointing out how dangerous the Labour Party policies are.

Should Nic hold his nose and vote Tory to stop the Communists? Where do you draw the line with Socialism? Should you always vote for the least Socialist party?

We discuss all of this, and a hypothetical Libertarian Party that would have the power to dismantle all of it…if only they were voted in.

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The Leftwards Drift of UK Politics

In this episode we analyse the manifestos of all major UK parties. And the Greens.

Andrew reached for the short straw this week when he had to read all parties’ manifestos for the upcoming UK General Election on December 12th.

Why are they all so similar? Why is it so hard to tell the difference, these days? Is any party doing anything new?

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Proroguing Parliament: What does it really mean for Brexit?

As predicted, Boris Johnson has decided to end the current parliamentary session (the longest in modern times), and trigger a new Queen’s Speech. Remainists are naturally going crazy, and talking of constitutional outrage.

But what does it actually mean for Brexit on 31 October? Is there time for fast-tracked, Bercow-enabled law that would either revoke Article 50, extend the deadline, or somehow prevent a “no deal”? What about passing a law that would stop prorogation itself? Is there even time left now in the parliamentary session?

We discuss all this and the finer details of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, and whether Boris has pulled a blinder.

Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/14/enacted

House of Commons Library Briefing Paper on Prorogation – https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8589

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Reaction to the Labour Party split

It finally happened. More than 3 years after Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party and became Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, 7 Labour MPs have formally left the Labour Party and formed The Independent Group of MPs.

We discuss how they did it, what their motives might be, how they come across, and what it means for Labour, Conservatives, Brexit and more.

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Is Jeremy Corbyn the political genius he’s being made out to be?

When it looked like Jeremy Corbyn would win the Labour leadership election in 2015, pundits and commentators were essentially speechless.

Sure, they could point to the Momentum movement, and a desire by members to try something different. They could easily identify the new leadership election rules and allowing £3 “members” to vote as having a huge and unexpected impact.

But essentially no one knew what to make of him.

I think most people were genuinely shocked when, after the general hilarity that he had actually won, the reality of having John McDonnell as shadow chancellor sunk in.

But still, the prevailing view at the time was that this must be the gift that it seemed to be to the Conservative Party.

And in the short term it was. For all his faults, David Cameron was at ease against Corbyn at the despatch box. It was merely sport to each week point out the attempted coups, the splits and the absurdity that the Labour Party had become.

Dressing improperly, not singing the national anthem and having no idea how to handle the media (Seamus I don’t think this is a good idea…) all fed into a comfortable narrative that Jeremy Corbyn and the new Labour leadership just weren’t credible.

And let’s be clear this is excluding all mentions of the IRA, anti-semitism, and dangerous socialist policies.

But then came the EU referendum and subsequently Theresa May.

JC was virtually silent during the campaign. As was TM. Both I think for different reasons.

JC, a long time advocate of leaving the EU, realised he would alienate his party if he came out in favour of leave.

TM, in one of her more canny political moments, realised that this thing could go both ways, and better not to piss off the leavers in case there was a chance to grab the throne.

She was right. And the staggering fumbling of the Tory Brexiteers ensured she became leader and Prime Minister.

Fast forward one disastrous general election (for the Tories at least) and a failed EU withdrawal negotiation and the politics of the UK couldn’t be more different.

If Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party could be accused of being consistent it would be in their inconsistency, in particular with EU policy.

At first it was highlighted as gaff by the media. Hang on, didn’t that shadow minister say the exact opposite of what Corbyn said yesterday?

Wait, Corbyn has now contradicted what he said last week.

And so it continued.

Now after months and months of this, commentators are starting to say that this is Corbyn’s genius. That he is actually a smooth political operator.

6 impossible tests. What a trap he’s laid.

By being all things to all people he has become the every-person leader. A man of all the policies.

Agreeing with everyone and disagreeing with the Tories.

We know he never thought he’d ever get this far. We know it’s McDonnell that we should be really worried about ever coming close to power.

And it doesn’t take a political genius to see that every move they make is about seeking power, at any cost.

But I’m reminded of the Soviet Union in the Cold War, when there was a genuine nuclear arms race between them and the west.

Western intelligence agencies could only find derelict and old missile silos. But how could this be when the rhetoric was that they had the most powerful arsenal in the world?

The intelligence agencies of the day concluded that the Russians were being so clever that they had indeed developed better weapons and the ability to make the other side think they hadn’t.

Ironically this hardened the resolve of America and its allies as they rushed to develop counter technologies to win the arms race.

History showed us that this was essentially unnecessary. The silos and missiles were exactly as they seemed. Dilapidated and under maintained. No match for their opponents.

So is Jeremy Corbyn wearing the Emperors new clothes? Political observers seem to think he has not only tapped into the current zeitgeist but is using his savvy political skills in a way that must be sheer genius.

Who else would come across as so untrustworthy and inconsistent. He must know something we don’t know.

The concern is that they are right. Not because he’s principled and just, but because the electorate will somehow be sucked in.

But I still can’t bring myself to believe that it isn’t anything other than Labour Party incompetence.

The 2017 election was a shock to me, having accurately predicted the previous 4 elections. I trusted the people to make the right decision.

Now I’m not so sure. I want to believe that the voters will, if presented with a Socialist Labour Party, will reject it, and we’ll all go back to saying how politically inept the whole experience was.

But with Theresa May at the helm of an increasingly interventionist Conservative Party, botching Brexit, with no credible free market, Liberal alternative in sight, I fear voters will waver, as I am, as to whether to vote at all.

And if voters become non-voters, then this absurdity, no matter how intentional, may yet be proved successful.