Friday, 19 May 2017

The Economist on Labour

The Economist is no fan of May Toryism: she has the opposite of the magazine's socially-liberal, economically-conservative leanings. But it is finding little to like in Labour either, and enjoying itself rather more in doing so. Here are three examples.

1. On the manifesto: "Kaufman recalled that one of the left-wingers in 1983 wanted to get a policy on puppy-farming into the [1983] manifesto, but this was too much detail even for Tony Benn. But there it is, on page 94 of “For the Many, not the Few” [i.e., the 2017 Labour manifesto] —the pledge to “prohibit the third-party sale of puppies.” At least Mr Corbyn’s Labour party will go down fighting for what they believe in." Not interested in puppies? Well, "on page 89 Labour pledges to expand the role of the Grocers Code Adjudicator, while on page 112 the party promises to “protect the right to a nomadic way of life”. All, again, in no particular order. The vital Benedict Cumberbatch/Eddie Redmayne issue, of there being too many toffs in the theatre, appears on page 92." (Actually, it's a good example of Labour's policies being more popular than its leadership. I would like to protect the right to a nomadic way of life too, and they are onto something with the upper-middle classes colonising the arts. But really!)

2. "Labour is not so much an organised political party as a blood-soaked battleground between two warring factions: the far-left faction, led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and including acolytes such as Dianne Abbot and Emily Thornberry, and “moderate” Labour. “Moderate” Labour [includes] Yvette Cooper, the moderate wing’s current leader and wife of Gordon Brown’s right-hand man, Ed Balls, Stephen Kinnock, the son of the party’s former leader, Neil Kinnock and Hillary Benn, the son of the left’s former champion, Tony Benn ... [Moderates were hoping that] Yvette Cooper [...] would lead the party and the likes of Mr Kinnock and Mr Benn would act as able lieutenants." (From here.) It was unnecessary to point out that the alternative to the far-left is a group of people who are related, by blood or marriage, to other former Labour politicians. But you can see why they made the point.

3. Last but not least, this headline on a story about Labour's economic programme: "Old McDonnell has a plan. He eyes IOUs".

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