Monday, January 27, 2014

The Owen Jones manifesto

Owen Jones has produced his own manifesto:

1) A statutory living wage, with immediate effect, for large businesses and the  public sector, and phased  in for small and medium  businesses over a five-year Parliament. 
When has an incomes policy ever worked?  The simple way to increase pay for the lowest paid is to stop immigration and incomes must rise as labour becomes scarce.  But as we know, the Labour party is addicted to immigration.

2) Resolve the housing crisis by regulating private rents...
Another policy from the 1970s that has been discredited - if landlords cannot make a profit from letting they will simply take their properties off the market (the goal of most of them is capital appreciation rather than rental income).

and lifting the cap on councils to let them build hundreds of thousands of houses...
With what?  Higher Council tax?  Or are we going to trust splurging lefty councils to run up municipal debts until their administrations crash (Neil Kinnock voice:  "A Labour council, a LABOUR council scuttling around in taxis handing out redundancy notices...").

3) A 50 per cent tax on all earnings above £100,000 – or the top 2 per cent of earners...
Yes, let's tax the rich until the pips squeak, after all it worked for Denis Healey (didn't it?).

4) An all-out campaign to recoup the £25bn worth of tax avoided by the wealthiest each year...
Yeah, as if no-one has ever tried to stop tax avoidance before.  What is wrong with the public sector employees in HM Revenue & Customs that they cannot get on top of this.  Why does even Owen Jones have to criticise the public sector employees who are letting £25 billion slip through their fingers?

5) Publicly run, accountable local banks. 
Nationalise the banks and let the public sector run them.  The public sector has a track record of success right?  Or better still let's have co-operative banks with the cronies of the Reverend Flowers on the board.

6) An industrial strategy... based on an active state that intervenes in the economy...
Government can pick the winners!  We could even try growing ground nuts in East Africa.  And never mind if the ventures fail - the state has a million ways of covering up the evidence.

7) Publicly owned rail and energy, democratically run by consumers and workers. 
Public utilities run by workers' councils?  And what if the interests of consumers and workers do not match?  How soon before the bullying unions force them into compliance?

8) A new charter of workers’ rights fit for the 21st century. 
This sounds like James Callaghan's Social Compact (or Social Contract as it later became). 

9) A universal childcare system that would pay for itself...
If it can pay for itself why does the state need to get involved?

So much for the Owen Jones manifesto.

How depressing this all is.  Bankrupt of ideas, the left can only regurgitate the failed policies of the past.  As Enoch Powell would say, this is a dog returning to its vomit.

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