PETER OBORNE: Now we know the carnage Corbyn would wreak if he gets the keys to No 10
Theresa May, in her final weeks as Prime Minister, is leaving a hideous and debilitating legacy to her successor. Unwittingly, she has made a Jeremy Corbyn government seem more likely.
That is a terrible result of her failure over Brexit and is quite an extraordinary achievement considering some of the policies that the Labour leader espouses.
Most calamitously, a desperate Mrs May invited him to join Brexit talks and thus elevated his status to a level where the public have begun to see him as a man of influence on the national stage.
Yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn patronised Theresa May in a letter to her, saying he had pulled out of the talks due to the ‘increasing weakness and instability’ of the Conservative government
Even a blind man could have told her such talks were bound to fail. Mrs May is diminished by their failure. Mr Corbyn’s image is enhanced.
The truth is that a cunning Mr Corbyn outmanoeuvred her at every turn. He only joined the talks to prove the Prime Minister was dependent on Labour’s support and to use this leverage to humiliate her and make a general election more likely, sooner rather than later.
Yesterday, Mr Corbyn patronised her in a letter to her, saying he had pulled out of the talks due to the ‘increasing weakness and instability’ of the Conservative government.
There is much truth in his withering denunciation. Labour, led by a man written off for so long by so many — including by several of his own MPs — is now the bookies’ favourite to be the party with most Commons seats at the next general election.
Possibly relying on the support of Scottish Nationalists, Labour could easily be in power by the end of this year, if not sooner.
Consider this scenario. Mrs May quits early next month and a new Tory leader is installed by late summer. Her replacement (probably Boris Johnson) would find it just as hard to push through Brexit and therefore could be forced to call a general election.
With the Tories’ popularity plummeting and party wounds from the leadership contest still raw, Mr Corbyn would present himself to voters as a force for stability.
If elected prime minister, he would introduce a swathe of hard-Left policies that he has championed ever since cutting his political teeth as a young man on a Trade Union Studies course at North London Polytechnic. Whatever his faults, Mr Corbyn’s supporters believe in what they see as his authenticity. He’s never made a secret of his socialist principles and support for what he considers fairness and equality.
So we would have a Labour government nationalising energy, water, the rail firms and Royal Mail, raising taxes for the higher paid, increasing pay for teenagers, scrapping university tuition and investing billions of pounds in public services.
Even a blind man could have told her such talks were bound to fail. Mrs May is diminished by their failure. Mr Corbyn’s image is enhanced
Be in no doubt: a Corbyn government would try to bring about a fundamental transformation of Britain’s society and economy.
As the 69-year-old inches closer to No 10, we’ve had an insight over the past week into what he would do as Prime Minister. I’m afraid the prospect is terrifying.
First, Labour has promised to raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour and to extend that to those under 18. Currently, the minimum for youngsters is £4.35 an hour.
This policy is a brazen bid to woo young voters — just like the promise to scrap college tuition fees, which it has been estimated would cost taxpayers £8 billion a year.
Employers across the country are convinced not only that Labour’s minimum wage policy risks putting small firms out of business, but also that it is flawed in principle.
Young people need to learn on the job and, through no fault of their own, they’re not worth £10 an hour. As night follows day, it would result in a surge in youth unemployment.
Professor Len Shackleton, of the Right-leaning Institute of Economic Affairs, has warned: ‘Such a rate hike could raise youth unemployment to levels comparable with those in continental Europe.’ In Greece, the rate is around 39 per cent and in Spain it’s 34 per cent.
Another example of Labour’s economic naivety was Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey’s misunderstanding of the expected knock-on effects of her plans for the State to buy back the National Grid.
She accused energy companies of ‘operating the grid to rip customers off, line the pockets of the rich and not invest properly in renewable energy’.
The truth is that under state ownership, energy was more expensive and there were more power cuts. To all but the most blinkered ideologue, it’s obvious that energy privatisation has done good rather than harm.
Also, where would a Labour government find the billions to buy back these companies, and how on earth would MPs be qualified to assess their value for the buy-back?
What’s more, John McDonnell, the Shadown Chancellor, has said that these companies will be bought back at ‘market rates’.
This sounds like theft to me, as National Grid shareholders would be most unlikely to get fair compensation for their assets, currently worth £64 billion. Indeed, the City took fright at Labour’s plans to renationalise utility firms and leave millions of pension savers out of pocket. In just one day this week, £965 million was wiped off National Grid’s value.
Whatever Labour claims, it won’t be the rich who suffer, but millions of elderly because their pension funds would be severely hit.
Consider this scenario. Mrs May quits early next month and a new Tory leader is installed by late summer. Her replacement (probably Boris Johnson) would find it just as hard to push through Brexit and therefore could be forced to call a general election
Since so many of the shareholdings in British energy companies are thought to come from overseas, much-needed foreign investment will be driven out of the British economy.
In general, the danger is that a Corbyn government would go on a public spending binge at a time when tax revenues collapsed because many businesses might decide to quit Britain.
Inevitably, this would lead to more unemployment and spiralling national debt.
Whatever the faults of Mrs May’s Government, she can boast a solid record of economic achievement. Employment is at record levels, while the deficit (the difference between what the Government spends and what it receives) is falling and growth has been sustained. The signs are that Mr Corbyn would wreck all this.
Very dangerous times undoubtedly lie ahead.
The Tory Party must cease tearing itself to shreds — and, instead, aim its fire on the man who could wreak great damage to Britain.
A stain on Britain’s moral integrity
Almost a year has passed since the Government promised a decision about whether to begin an independent judge-led inquiry into deeply disturbing evidence that British intelligence agencies repeatedly colluded with torture.
The worst allegations date back to the Tony Blair government, when we now know for sure that Britain colluded with America in the brutal ill-treatment of post-9/11 terror suspects.
Nine years ago, when he became prime minister, David Cameron said he was ‘determined to get to the bottom of what happened’ and ordered a judge-led inquiry under Sir Peter Gibson. Despite an interim report, nothing happened.
Yesterday, the United Nations Committee Against Torture lost patience. It demanded that Britain should ‘establish without further delay an inquiry on alleged acts of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held overseas committed by, at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of British officials’. This is very embarrassing for the Government, and we lose all moral authority if it covers up offences our men and women are accused of committing.
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