Monday, August 10, 2015

Fisking the top 20 denialist memes

Some responses to John Rentoul's ironic "Top 20 Memes of Corbynite Denialism":

He was joking, but a lot of these ideas have indeed been put forward, so here are my thoughts on them. And this is not just relevant to today. When there is next a change in government, we're going to have the mirror images to some of these ideas put forward on the right - and the mirror image responses will also apply.

  1. 76 per cent didn’t vote Tory.
      - on that basis, 80% didn't vote Labour either

  2. Ed Miliband wasn’t left-wing at all, let alone too left-wing.
      - depends on your definition of left-wing

  3. Tony Blair lost 4 million votes.
      - but he did win three elections

  4. Ed Miliband won more votes in England than Blair did in 2005.
      - so did Michael Howard and it didn't do him much good either

  5. Nobody wants the first past the post system.
      - but when they had a chance to change it more than two thirds of the 19 million people who voted chose not to do so

  6. Millions of non-voters would vote Labour if armed with a bold programme.
      - and when they don't you'll just say it wasn't bold enough

  7. The SNP’s success proves a left-wing programme would be popular.
      - in Scotland, possibly, but I'm wouldn't bet my house even on that

  8. Labour would have won if it hadn’t been for the right-wing media.
      - gosh, yes, it's so obvious that the BBC, Channel 4, Guardian, and Mirror really love the Conservatives and that there was no news channel giving publicity to an alternative view ...

  9. Greece proves neolizards and their austerity agenda secretly control this country.
      -  think JR was just joking here so I won't attempt a response

10. If you offer people a Tory-lite party they'll vote for the real thing.
      - it is difficult to have a rational argument about this one. If we agreed on who was left or right you could point to election results as evidence, but since the people who believe the above meme also tend to think Labour leaders like Michael Foot and Ed Miliband were "Tory-lite" ...

11. Anybody could've beaten the Tories in 1997.
      - not  quite anyone, only someone who wasn't even more unpopular.

12. Labour lost in 1983 only because of the Falklands war/SDP defections.
      - a manifesto which a Labour front-bencher called "the longest suicide note in history" might also have had something to do with it ...

13. Harold Wilson was a better election winner than Blair (argued by Corbyn himself).
      - Wilson was the only other Labour leader besides Blair to win more than one decent majority and one of only four in the party's entire history to win any general elections at all. But of course, while he was PM the same sort of socialist who are now backing Corbyn hated Harold Wilson nearly as much as they now detest Blair, and for extremely similar reasons

14. Blair won only because the Conservatives were having a breakdown
      - ROFL

15. The Tories attack Corbyn because they are afraid of him.
      - "Please throw me in the briar patch, Brer Fox"

16. If the centre ground is the key to winning elections, Nick Clegg would be prime minister.
      - to win you need both appeal to the centre ground and credibility. The one part of Ed Miliband's strategy which was completely successful was to destroy Nick Clegg's, with quite a bit of help from the DPM himself.

17. Opinion polls show that nationalising the Royal Mail, railways and energy companies is popular.
     - radical policies can appear popular but won't get you elected if they confirm negative stereotypes about you: see my post on thinking outside the Overton window box.

18. There’s £50bn in uncollected tax.
     - Osborne's just thrown massively increased resources at HMRC to crack down on failure to pay tax. He presumably does think there may have been scope to raise more money that way. But even if there is £50 billion in unclaimed tax today you can bet there won't be anything remotely like that much available by the time of the 2020 election after HMRC has had to prove they achieved something with the extra money George has just given them.
19. Many UKIP voters are basically left-wing working-class voters crying out for a radical alternative.
     - if you look at where their vote appears to have come from, there is some evidence that a lot of left of centre working-class voters backed UKIP in May. The problem for the hard left is that it does not necessarily follow that the kind of radicalism they are crying out for is the kind of solution Corbyn is offering.

20. Jeremy Corbyn offers hope.
     - hope to the Conservatives of their best chance for 15 years in power ?


Jim said...

I like the top one best, both are very true, 76% of eligible voters did not vote for the Conservative Party, 80% did not vote for the Labour Party, Yet we end up with an authoritative Government, and the only opposition that is ever heard are the Labour Party.

This is why we need The Harrogate Agenda.

One party being Dreadful and the other being worse will only wash for so long, and to be honest, im surprised so many people did go last time, I think the chance of a referendum, and the prospect of Ed Milliband sealed that one, but, as I say, its not something that can be depended on endlessly.

As you often, Quite correctly, point out when i go on and on about deficit reduction and government debt limits, "governments have more room to manoeuvre than a family or individual does, but its not infinite"

I think the same thing is looking likely with the current political system in general.

Jim said...

Number 18 - there is £50Bn in uncollected tax.

is there? where is it? - and why is it?

do you mean all those people who are having bailif's knocking on doors to collect council tax, simply because they cant afford to pay that sort of rate? You know that council tax areas are the number 1 cause for people contacting the CAB with debt issues. So the answer to reducing the amount of unpaid tax is of course to "REDUCE THE TAX RATE" then people can afford and would also be more willing to pay it, especially if coucils adopt a policy of VALUE FOR MONEY.

you cant referring to larger companies who use the rules of the single market to pay taxes in say Lichenstein, something that they are very very allowed to do, so you cant be, as its not missing tax.

Chris Whiteside said...

On your first point - we do need better than that, and that is why I am not one of those Conservatives who is hoping for a Corbyn win. We need someone good enough to keep the government on their toes so that Conservatives have to be good enough to beat a serious challenge and are not in danger of relaxing because they think they have an opponent they can beat easily.

On your second, point, just to make clear, I am not saying there is £50 billion in unclaimed tax, I don't think John Rentoul is either. I don't claim to know how much more tax revenue you could get by tightening up.

The point JR is making is that some Corbyn supporters throw this claim around when you ask how you could pay for left-wong policies.

The point I was making is that even if they are right today - about which I have my doubts - George Osborne has just thrown a vast increase in resources at HMRC for the specific purpose of tightening up on tax fraud, unpaid tax, etc.

So all the "low hanging fruit" from this source will have been gathered by the time of the next election.

Agree with you entirely that if tax rates are too high you will have more trouble collecting it.