How will the Corbynite revolution be funded?

Idealism can be dangerous and it is not always a virtue; especially in the mind of stubborn old school socialist who has barely altered his rigid ideology in forty years. So while thousands of socialists, idealists and naïve Lefties pin their hopes on Jeremy Corbyn and see only the benevolence in his many promises; they fail to understand the superficiality of his pledges, the hollowness behind his policy ideas. They fail to consider the actual, real-life consequences of a Corbyn manifesto and question whether a long-time admirer of Venezuelan socialism can really lead Britain into a better place. And, of course, they don’t take a moment to question the numbers.

That is to say, not only would the Corbyn manifesto pledges fail to achieve what they set out to achieve, and have a whole terrible myriad of unintended (but not unpredictable) negative consequences; it would be utterly devastating to our national finances. That is what will be abundantly clear to the majority of the British public. They don’t need a deep understanding of politics; they don’t need to consider too deeply how his policies might work; they don’t even need to be good at maths. It is plain to see that Corbyn is pledging a gargantuan spending spree. That’s why the public will inevitably defy Corbyn’s deluded belief that he can lead an anti-austerity popular movement all the way to Downing Street and reject his socialist fantasies.

When he announced his manifesto he promised a £500 billion investment fund, a million new homes (including half a million council houses), universal childcare, the renationalisation of the railways and more publicly-controlled bus services. A gigantic taxpayer investment drive to rebuild Britain, marvellous. Investment at this time of uncertainty will raise growth, but that will not be enough to fund Corbyn’s spending pledges.

When asked how it will all be funded he is full of the kind of vagueness which is hardly likely to heal Labour’s tattered reputation on fiscal responsibility. “You pay for it through an expanding economy and driving down tax evasion,” he said. Adding that “we are not proposing cuts in top rate of taxation or corporate rates of taxation”. This is undergraduate politics. Lots of promises and ideas but no sense of economic reality.

The reality is that the only way to pay for it would be to run up a very large budget deficit and rise taxes significantly across the board; taxing every single one of us, and every business, more and squeezing the rich until the pips squeak and leave the country. Chasing out the rich might please Corbynites, but encouraging capital flight is not good for the Exchequer and dire for the economy.

Corbyn was coy on what taxes he would raise and what he meant by his pledge to “reconfigure the tax system”, with a tightening of corporation tax reliefs and restoring headline tax rates to 2010 levels being the only announcements thus far. Now, we are years away from an election campaign, but a credible opposition needs some credible policies and numbers to back them up.

Corybn’s vagueness won’t harm his support amongst his hardcore loyalist members who will likely sweep him to victory in the leadership race, but it will be suicidal in 2020. When it gets serious he will have the IFS test to contend with and, more importantly, a sceptical British public who have come to know what it means when a socialist promises to spend, spend, spend their way to the sunlit uplands.

Ben is the Conservatives for Liberty Online Director.  Follow him on Twitter: @TheScepticIsle

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The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty