Daily Mail Comment

How has Labour come to this? 

In its first century of existence, the party often made grievous mistakes – and, yes, this paper has long been among its severest critics.

But during its time in office, Labour could also claim solid achievements in improving the lives of working people, the needy and the sick, earning loyalty in its heartlands and a seemingly permanent place in mainstream politics.

Yet under Jeremy Corbyn, elected thanks to Ed Miliband’s crass change in the leadership voting system, the party has abandoned its core supporters, becoming little more than a fanatical cult – likened by one of its own politicians to the Moonies.

Under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party has abandoned its core supporters

Under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party has abandoned its core supporters

Under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party has abandoned its core supporters

One glance at its 2017 manifesto (if anything, even more extreme, backward-looking and unrealistic than the draft leaked last week) shows how completely Corbyn’s Labour has cut itself adrift from the lives and aspirations of families on whose support it could once rely.

Put bluntly, the document is a blueprint for mass unemployment and national ruin. With its commitments to crippling tax increases and a huge expansion of state ownership and union power, it harks back 40 years to a time when similar policies were tried – and failed catastrophically.

The one kind thing that can be said about this manifesto for mayhem is that it correctly identifies many areas in which there are profound public concerns.

Yes, consumers are sick of being exploited by grasping banks, rail and utility firms – many of them foreign owned – whose bosses help themselves to colossal salaries out of all proportion to their performance.

Indisputably, the NHS is in crisis, there’s an acute shortage of affordable homes and families are feeling the pinch after the long squeeze on public sector pay.

Indeed, it is not hard to see why yesterday’s Marxist confection may appeal to Corbyn groupies, baying for class war.

Put bluntly, the document is a blueprint for mass unemployment and national ruin

Put bluntly, the document is a blueprint for mass unemployment and national ruin

Put bluntly, the document is a blueprint for mass unemployment and national ruin

But then most of his admirers seem to belong to a generation – drip-fed Left-wing propaganda by the education establishment – too young to remember the appalling inefficiency of nationalised industries. Nor are they wise enough to know that higher taxes can actually lower the yield for the Treasury – with the result that public services suffer and the poor are hit hardest.

As a programme for running a competitive and humane modern economy, yesterday’s manifesto makes no sense at all. But what better can anyone expect from a party whose IRA-supporting Shadow Chancellor lists among his recreations in Who’s Who: ‘Generally fermenting [sic] the overthrow of capitalism’?

In other words, the man who hopes to take control of the Treasury in less than four weeks is dedicated to destroying the system on which all our livelihoods depend. John McDonnell has even been open in his praise of Venezuela – once the richest country in South America, but now reduced by socialism to the poorest.

No wonder traditional Labour supporters, who would never before have dreamed of voting Tory, are turning increasingly to the only party with a realistic programme for leading the UK through Brexit and beyond.

John McDonnell has even been open in his praise of Venezuela – once the richest country in South America, but now reduced by socialism to the poorest

John McDonnell has even been open in his praise of Venezuela – once the richest country in South America, but now reduced by socialism to the poorest

John McDonnell has even been open in his praise of Venezuela – once the richest country in South America, but now reduced by socialism to the poorest

All of which gives Theresa May both a massive opportunity and a dilemma. By abandoning the mainstream, Labour has given her the chance to create a truly One Nation party, painting huge areas blue. The danger is she may move the Conservatives too far to the Left in her bid to achieve this.

Clearly, she is tempted to do so. Indeed this paper, though her greatest admirer, feels somewhat queasy about her promises on the minimum wage and workers’ representation on company boards.

This is why we hope her own manifesto will offer authentically Tory solutions to the problems identified by Labour.

History has proved repeatedly that Corbynism doesn’t work. This is her chance to show Conservatism does.

 

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