Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Sefton Lab Councillor declare 'year zero' and accept no responsibilities for 'before JC'

'Year zero' was declared by a Labour councillor at the Sefton Council meeting last week. Everything 'before JC' , as he put it they did not accept responsibility for. With JC all was made new and the world began again. We had the usual rants about how evil and wicked the Lib Dems were for agreeing to reduce the deficit. I thought it appropriate to point out the 2010  Labour manifesto proposed cuts more swingeing than those actually carried out by the Coalition. The Labour councillor did not dispute that. It simply didn't matter because it was 'before JC ' Which is rather silly because certainly the first Blair government was the most progressive of my lifetime.

I felt sorry for the Labour Councillors who were elected before JC. They had endorsed and stoutly defended the every Labour government.  They had defended the Iraq war. The Sefton Labour MP's voted for the war. The councillors refused to criticise the failure to regulate the banks, the failure to increase the stock of social housing (in fact the wretched Coalition landed up with a bigger increase in the number of social housing after 5 years than Labour did after 13). Not only did they support PFI schemes they carried them out. The over-reliance on the financial services sector, the absence of an industrial strategy and the continuing decline of manufacturing all went on without a whimper of objection. The increased centralisation and London centric bias in their administration was unchallenged. The list goes on. All were defended by the Labour party in Sefton Council. I have lost count of the number of times the then Labour Leader (now MP for Bootle) supported the Iraq war.

Of course, there is precedent for Year Zero. It was declared in Cambodia in April 1975, by the Khmer Rouge, it was an analogy to the Year One of the French Revolutionary Calendar. During the French Revolution, after the abolition of the French monarchy (September 20, 1792), the National Convention instituted a new calendar and declared the beginning of the Year I and as Lady Bracknell remarked 'I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to?' The Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom Penh was rapidly followed by a series of drastic revolutionary de-industrialization policies resulting in a death toll that vastly exceeded that of the French Reign of Terror.

Post JC the situation is not as revolutionary as they seem to imagine. The independent and respected Institute of Fiscal Studies did an analysis of the Labour party's manifesto:

Labour got some sums wrong

Labour put out some costings alongside the manifesto, which purported to show how every spending promise would be paid for.
The IFS says the sums don’t add up. The projections are too optimistic on how much money will be raised by various taxes, and Labour have made basic accounting errors too, like quoting the wrong official figures for estimated revenue.

Business taxes don’t just squeeze the rich

Labour say they want to raise more money from a rise in corporation tax than from income tax. But squeezing big business hurts other taxpayers too: millions of pension fundholders who own shares in firms, workers whose wages might be cut and consumers who face higher prices.

Labour would cut inequality…

Labour’s plans “are likely to reduce inequality”. Under Jeremy Corbyn, those with the highest incomes would lose the most.
But changes to taxes and benefits proposed by the Lib Dems would be the most generous to people on the lowest incomes.

… but won’t reverse benefit cuts

Despite railing against Tory welfare cuts over the years, Labour do not plan to reverse most planned cuts to working-age benefits.
Again, the Lib Dems say they would go further than Labour – reversing cuts to child tax credit and the plan to freeze most benefit rates.

The biggest problem for Labour is JC's clear commitment to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. As left-wing economists like Paul Krugman, Danny Blanchflower and even Yanis Varoufacis have all made clear JC policy on Europe will hurt British jobs and  prosperity . JC must know some of the reasons he trots out for leaving the single market are baloney but still he persists. It is worth reading Lab MEP Richard Corbett on the topic.

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