Monday, 10 August 2015

Corbyn Won't Run the Country But He Can Still Ruin It

I’ve seen a few times in social media that a win for Jeremy Corbyn would be of no consequence politically as he’ll never be Prime Minister. I agree to a point that Corbyn as Labour leader would render the Labour Party unelectable to National Government but there’s the rub, unelectable to National Government.
Jeremy Corbyn’s nomination is already having a marked and lasting effect on the Labour leadership campaign. Take Andy Burnham, seen as the front runner at the beginning of the campaign. He was the Labour Secretary of State who championed private sector provision in the NHS, recently admitted the Mansion Tax policy was wrong and oversaw a reduction in public spending when, as Chief Secretary to Treasury, he was responsible for the 2007 comprehensive spending review. There is no doubting his centre left credentials but he’s no Jeremy Corbyn … until now. The whole leadership contest has lurched to the left. Andy Burnham has now reversed his decision on the Welfare Bill and will oppose it, will oppose military action against IS and beats the rail nationalisation drum so loud you’d think he’d replaced the drummer in his favourite band, The Courteeners. With the notable exception of Liz Kendall who to her credit has been consistent throughout, whoever wins the leadership battle will be voted in on a mandate that has lurched to the left. If, as the polls suggest, Jeremy Corbyn wins then this is not good news for the country. Those of a certain age will have first-hand memories of the chaos caused by hard left councils. The hard left’s ability to politicise everything they touch was first evident with the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) in 1983 after Ken Livingston took over the Greater London Council. Originally a force for good Ken Livingston replaced the incumbent moderate Labour leader of ILEA with a left wing Union activist and it became a tool for the left to politicise education. Costs, all borne by the London tax payer, spiralled out of control.  Political in-fighting at ILEA marred its last years of existence until, unfit for purpose, it was scrapped. At the height of Conservative power, with landslide majorities David Cameron can only dream about, Militant Labour activists were running Councils. They spent money so profligately that local residents were being forced to pay higher and higher council tax (or domestic rates as it was). Forced to set a fair budget through Central Government enforced rate capping the most militant councils made redundancies, cut services and the local people suffered. The most militant of all, Liverpool City Council, refused to set a legal budget until the very last moment and as a result of their protest were rewarded with £20million of extra public funding. This was against a backdrop of a Labour Leader who did not support them and eventually expelled them from the party. In a Corbyn led Labour party militant led councils will have the leader’s wholehearted support. Measures in parliament to curb the excesses of militant local government will not be as easy to pass with David Cameron’s wafer thin majority. With her commanding majority in the Westminster even Margaret Thatcher struggled. Militant activists who have been swarming back to the Labour party will eventually get into positions of influence on local councils. Even Militant-in-Chief and 1980’s Liverpool Deputy Leader, Derek Hatton, re-joined the Labour Party only days after the General Election to “have a say in the way the party is going”.  This time he and his militant comrades would not be expelled and instead would be actively encouraged by their firebrand leader. While Government complains and the hard left revel in their new found influence it is the normal hardworking people who have the misfortune to live in a militant dominated council that will suffer. This is more relevant now than ever before. I live in Andy Burnham's constituency in Greater Manchester and with George Osborne's Northern Powerhouse going full steam ahead Devo-Manc will soon give control of transport, education, planning and even the NHS to a directly elected mayor. In this Labour dominated County a Corbyn led Labour party could well give us a a hard left leader. We will suffer both in the pocket and in life choices. A hard left council will never support Free Schools, will put every obstacle in their way and strangle them at birth. A hard left council will never support private sector involvement in care for the most vulnerable, stifling expertise and experience so badly needed in local services. A hard left council will never support entrepreneurial young businesses stunting growth and employment prospects for thousands. Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have to become Prime Minster to be devastating to the UK so I will not be one of those voting for him to become leader, I’ll play no part in anything that can doom so many to a life of left wing self-destruction.

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