Tag: Jeremy Corbyn (Page 1 of 2)

Corbyn’s Conundrum: Maduro and Marxism

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, is far from the saintly figure that his millions of supporters think he is, an image that he has cultivated over the years.

The man behind the twinkly-eyed mask has once again been revealed to have a gaping hole where a moral center should be. His support for violent revolutionary and terrorist groups that all share anti-Western or anti-British sentiments is documented and well-known. None of this is enough for his fans, who when presented with evidence of his lack of moral character react the same way Trump’s fans do, with hoots of derision, shouts of fake news and complaints of the Labour and wider British establishment’s right-wing bias.

However, when evidence of Corbyn’s moral emptiness is right before their eyes, his supporters still choose not to see who he really is.

Following years of worsening privations suffered by the citizens of Venezuela, as their government’s experiment with socialism has unfolded in the humanitarian catastrophe that these experiments always do, Corbyn has refused to condemn Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

This, despite the fact that Maduro recently claimed victory in a referendum that bestowed on him dictatorial powers that allowed him to rewrite the constitution. The vote was a sham and was treated as such by the opposition, who boycotted it.

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The curious world of Owen Jones and British socialism

Owen Jones is one of the most successful writers in Britain yet he does not actually like writing. “I never wanted to be a writer,” he has written, “I don’t particularly enjoy writing, in lots of ways I’m not a very good writer.” The honesty is endearing. Still, how grim to see one of our most renowned columnists admit that writing is “a means to an end”. Where is the love of language that inspired such commentators as Mencken, Waugh, Hitchens and Cockburn? What does it say about the reading public that a man for whom writing is a mere propaganda tool has reached such heights?

Jones appeared almost from nowhere, with a slim, fresh-faced appearance and cheerful, down-to-Earth style that earned him a following above that of wordier, angrier leftist commentators. His books Chavs and The Establishment became bestsellers and he is one of if not the biggest attraction of The Guardian with his videos and columns.

The honesty that I mentioned is real and admirable. The problem is that it exposes weaknesses that – well – are not.

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UKGE2017: Tory night of fiasco

Britain went to the polls on Thursday, June 8, 2017, and received a hung Parliament in return. Prime Minister Theresa May had called the snap election back in April, in order to shore up what she saw as her lack of legitimacy due to her having slipped into the role of Prime Minister almost de facto following the six-way shootout after the Brexit decision in 2016, which led to then PM David Cameron resigning.

Initially, the polls showed that the Tories had an astonishing 20-24 point lead over the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. The Tories were seen as the party that would deliver Brexit in a ‘strong and stable’ manner, and May seemed like a safe pair of hands with which she would lead the country through the undoubtedly turbulent years ahead. Meanwhile, the Labour Party was led by a man who’d never held a senior ministerial position before and had had a nasty habit of being overly friendly with terrorists, theocratic regimes and Marxist revolutionary governments, all of which ought to have sunk his electoral hopes without much of a trace.

Indeed, this was what looked like the most likely outcome. And then came the disaster of the Tory manifesto release, with its messy roll-out, uncosted nature, vague promises and various pledges to remove provisions for elderly people through what became known as the ‘Dementia tax’. The so-called Dementia tax was an effort to address the spiralling costs of social care in modern Britain and mandated that older people with assets of £100,000 or over, for example in property, could use those to pay for their care. The downside was that many people would then be unable to leave anything in an inheritance to their descendants.

To say this did not go down well was an understatement. 

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UKGE2017: Corbyn provides hope for the future

“For the many, not the few”.  A motto that almost half the country clang onto, some of which are people living in destitute, encased in the vicious circle of poverty which the Conservative party has contrived. The hope that Jeremy Corbyn had beamed from his manifesto benefited British people who were most in need, and a way out to break the cycle and an opportunity to get themselves back on their feet.

Under the 90’s Tory government, with John Major at the helm, I was a kid living on the tenth floor flat in one of East London’s many council estates, which were constantly featured on the 6 O’clock news for whatever crime had been committed. I was raised by a lone parent, my miracle mother, whom not only managed to survive on such a small amount of money, (we had £15 a week for food) but had to endure the constant abuse and degradation from MPs and the tabloids for being a single parent (obviously a choice she freely made…. Oh wait…) and we were all engulfed in the same vicious circle that the Tories had created; punished for not working, but no help or opportunity available to get out there at work. Childcare was a fortune, adult education was limited and the lack of working rights made working mothers life impossible to balance.

Then in 1997 Labour was voted in, and despite the questionable decisions Tony Blair made in regards to the wars we were plunged into, that government did a lot for my family and my childhood. My mother wasn’t siting in our 2 bedroom flat in Leyton enjoying being on benefits, scrimping and saving and struggling everyday while enduring hatred. When the opportunity arose thanks to changes Labour made, she went out and studied law. Then when Cameron was voted in, it again affected my adult life. Shockingly diagnosed with multiply lifelong conditions, which cause pain, fatigue and mobility issues at a mere 24 years old, I was unable to work, and was left to fend for myself. The austerity cuts killed people with disability, the stress made me want to kill myself. The stress that the cuts caused was unbearable, more unbearable then the constant pain I was in. I didn’t ask for this. As a person who had worked since she was 16 years old and studied, I did not see my life trapped in another Tory snag,

Like my mother I got myself out of that circle, but with no help from the people who serve us.

Today, after years of unnecessary austerity, the top earners paying less tax than me, disastrous campaigns from May and Corbyn taking the polls by storm, we still have the conservatives leading by vote. Me and every other labour voter are asking ourselves, why? 

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Where (rarely) even Jeremy Corbyn is right…

With British politics reaching its crescendo and the Labour party narrowing Tory lead to five points, it is time for some home truth. Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech where he alleged to have claimed that terrorism in Britain is a direct response to British foreign policy. The result was as you expect from liberal media. From false accusations to blatant lying, to character assassination, Corbyn was portrayed as a combination of Gandhi and Laden. As pacifist and apologist as Gandhi, as vicious and Islamist as Laden. He was portrayed as being incompetent and conniving and dangerous at the same time.

 

Except, none of that is even remotely true. I am no great fan of either Corbyn or May, and I find both of them disingenuous, but for the sake of balance, Corbyn deserves credit where he is right. His claim that his words were twisted and misrepresented makes sense. And frankly, I have never seen two points, which in recent days, I have found myself quietly agreeing with the Labour party and Corbyn himself. For all his faults, let’s hear him out and let’s have the truth out in public. 

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Labour’s manifesto and Marxism’s rotten heart

After the shambolic leak of Labour’s draft manifesto, Comrade Corbyn launched the party’s manifesto to the public in Bradford on May 17, to rapturous applause from the party faithful. As one would expect from Corbyn and his team’s track record as apparently cuddly socialists, it’s an incoherent grab bag of policies designed to massively expand the role of the state in people’s everyday lives, supposedly in an aim to help people, all the while chipping further away at the now rather eroded foundations of freedom and liberty that British society was founded on.

Not only was the leak shambolic, but the big release was also as full of holes as Corbyn’s cardigans. His spending plans would cause the UK’s debt to explode by £250 billion (US$325 billion) and would see the government aiming to spend an extra £48.6 billion (US$63 billion) per year. Indeed, the chaotic nature of the unveiling was elevated to levels of parody by the fact that even though the manifesto – titled “For the Many, Not the Few” (ruin for the many, not Corbyn’s nomenklatura few) – claims to use an economic model entirely devised by world-leading economists, the policy of levying a tax on offshore company property actually relied in part on a database created by the current events and satire magazine Private Eye.

Policy proposals include free childcare for all 2-4 year olds; a fat-cat tax on city banks and the super-wealthy that would be worth 2.5% of incomes over £330,000 (US$428,000) and 5% of incomes over £500,000, and a raise in the corporate tax from 19% to 26%; nationalisation of the railways and water industries; re-nationalisation of the postal service; a new 45p tax threshold for incomes of £80,000 (US$104,000) a year and over and 50p on incomes of £123,000 and over, which would affect 1.3 million people who would end up paying £5,300 (US$6,900) more in tax. According to IFS estimates, the tax burden could increase to 37% by 2022 under a Labour government, dragging us back not the 1970’s but the 1950’s, when Britain was a bombed out shell living on debt and US subsidies. Labour says all its plans for spending, borrowing and taxing are fully costed, but as Matthew Lynn points out, this view seems to belong in another reality.

To conclude the economic arguments against the Labour manifesto, none of Corbyn’s sums add up. The Labour tax plans would actually bring in less tax revenue, and would only raise £20bn-£30bn, leaving a potential shortfall of £28.6 billion (US$37 billion), to be covered by guess what? More borrowing.

The fact is, higher tax rates and stifling economic intervention would lead to poorer economic growth, which in turn would result in lower revenue and adding to the shortfall. One can see how £250 billion more in debt suddenly looks frighteningly realistic.

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Hypothesis testing about the 2016 elections

As a political scientist, there’s nothing like testing theories. One of the prevalent theory is that in a Western liberal democracy, to win a general election, you have to be the closest candidate to the center. Ever since Reagan won over, with the Democrats flocking towards him, and Thatcher did the same in UK, it has never been proved wrong.

Recently, these two new charts came to my notice, from YouGov.

Parties leaders left right spectrum-01

Tony Blair man of the people-01

Since Blair, Labour never won the election, because the Tory candidate was closest to the center.

2016, is a unique year, in both UK and US, and it is perhaps the golden opportunity to find out, if this hypothesis is true. Corbyn is hard left and Trump is hard right. According to this hypothesis, they will never win, and in this case the candidates closer to center, Hillary Clinton in US, and Theresa May in UK will sweep the polls.

We shall find out if that theory is universally true.

Excited?

PODCAST: Let no one say Politics is boring…

Tweets that didn't age well.

Tweets that didn’t age well.

 

What a week, and it is not even Thursday!

I have written about politics since 2008, covered US, NZ, Indian, Fiji, and British elections, fair to say, I haven’t covered a week like this, as a columnist. And the week is not even over yet.

British politics just officially out Game of Throned, Game of Thrones.

CmM3S0KWIAAaDsDTo sum it up, Boris is out of Tory leadership as he realised, that he got outplayed by Michael Gove. For all his Roman scholarship, he never saw that coming. So, he is now dodging the bullet, putting himself in a kingmaker position, wait for Theresa May or Gove to come for his support, positioning himself for the ultimate leverage, and wait for the next person to clean up the mess. Boris lives to fight another day.

Michael Gove and Theresa May in, Labour is turmoil, and Brexit a fact, as Cameron wants India, China and US to replace EU investment and partnerships with UK.

And it’s not over yet! Listen to me here…and watch this space for more to come!

Why Sadiq Khan just might be the hero UK Labour needs right now

I was in London over the weekend, on the eve of Sadiq Khan’s victory, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Sadiq Khan, the son of Pakistani immigrants, charismatic, suave and secular, was elected the Mayor of London, after a grueling and ugly campaign against the former mayor Boris Johnson supported, Etonian Zac Goldsmith. Aristrocratic and uptight Goldsmith, started the campaign after accusing Khan of being an Islamist sympathizer. It wasn’t easy for Labour, being beset with internal squabbles and a bland leadership, which almost relegated the party to a sideshow and a mere spectator in the ongoing Brexit debate, where the biggest arguments are happening between and within the Tory ranks, between PM David Cameron who is supporting an In campaign, and the rebels led by Boris Johnson. Boris was also an extremely popular mayor, having overseen London turn to a financial capital of Europe beating Frankfurt, and host a tremendously successful Olympic games.

But Goldsmith, compared to the erudite Boris, was an obnoxious candidate, smug and cold and boorish, and that reflected in the campaign when he tried to gain on the xenophobic and anti-migrant sentiment with a streak of racism against Khan. It didn’t help the Tories as they are themselves in a civil war, and Goldsmith is in the Brexit rebel club, alongside Johnson, which means he didn’t have the full backing and support and groundwork help and effort from Tory volunteers.

In this toxic scenario, Sadiq Khan is a whiff of fresh air. Son of Pakistani immigrant of humble and modest origin, he is a brilliant speaker, and is considered an able administrator. He is also the modern pragmatic wing of Labour, and alongside Chuka Umunna and Liz Kendall, is considered as the future leadership contenders.

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Xi’s the Chinese Reagan: Cuttin taxes and lovin it! (Corbyn, Sanders, take note)

Two Sessions 2016: Structural reforms – technology boost and Tax cuts 

As the two sessions met, there are concrete signs of policies that are being formalized for the future direction of Chinese economy. The National committee (CPPCC) met to discuss the future of Chinese growth. Some formal goals were outlined at the outset. To communicate the economic future of China was one of them. Wang Guoqing, the spokesperson highlighted the need to raise tough questions, which will give the world an idea about the true economic conditions prevailing, and will help in dispelling myths about Chinese growth. As I wrote previously, it will be a session to underscore policies to highlight growth potentials, as that is the prime concern of Chinese policy makers now. Addressing the 6.9 percent growth, chairman Yu Zhengsheng mentioned that while it is still more than the entire world, except India perhaps, it is imperative that growth is stimulated and President Xi Jinping said that annual growth of at least 6.5 percent would be required to reach China’s goal to double its 2010 GDP and per capita income by 2020.

Some thought provoking proposals were debated and discussed, like using PV on rooftops, as a means to poverty alleviation. The idea was from Hanergy’s chairman Li Hejun, who said that it is the most potent way for areas without stable power supplies, or remote areas, and it is in line with the poverty eradication plan of the 13th five year plan. Another aspect that was focused was the promotion of a green shared development concept. This coordinated approach and green growth has been the focus for a few years now, considering China’s attempt at pollution control and develop clean energy.

However, two concepts struck me as the key of this year’s two sessions.

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