Co-Editor of Naked Politics
First past the post has always produced a ‘lesser of two evils’ incentive to vote against one party, rather than for another. This election is hammering that deficiency home, by forcing us to choose between two diabolical options: The po-faced incumbent with her much-maligned manifesto or a bumbling band of incompetent insurgents with questionable positions on the most important considerations of the day – namely Brexit, the economy, and national security. A vote for any other party, spoiling your ballot paper with a pornographic doodle, or finding something better to do with your time, will only serve to increase the chances of your least favourite party forming the next government. So, wotcha gonna do?
Corbyn’s cult following is adamant that their messiah offers real hope. The promise of ‘free’ stuff for the virtuous “many” with no negative consequences for all but the evil “few” is ever-so tempting. But a little scrutiny shows these ideals to be built on sand. It is intellectually dishonest for such a scale of electoral bribes to be offered without acknowledging that the wider economy will be adversely effected. Both today – through the highest ever level of peacetime taxation and by suppressing business activity – and for future generations – by exponentially increasing government debt with an additional £30bn of annual borrowing. And that’s before their un-costed state expansion programme, which promises to re-establish the socialist ‘sick man of Europe’ economy of the 1970’s.
The self-confessed Marxist Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, sought to put our minds at rest by claiming that there’ll be no need to increase borrowing, because they can simply “issue bonds instead”. So… borrowing then! An incomprehensibly vacuous comment that came within days of demonstrating that he has no idea what the current deficit is. Some of the extra borrowing could be off-set by the introduction of a ‘Garden Tax’, which could increase the tax burden by an average of £3,837 per family, potentially crashing the housing market in the process. In truth, any additional revenue raised from the pockets of ordinary working people, will only serve to reduce spending capacity elsewhere. Any remaining benefit to the treasury could easily be wiped out by lost revenue from other business-stifling proposals that are likely to reduce inward investment and therefore jobs, wages and living standards. It’s almost as if economic collapse is the ultimate goal, as part of McDonnell’s dream of bringing down capitalism, which perhaps explains the Communist Party’s ringing endorsement!
Until this morning (Wednesday), McDonnell wasn’t even the most incompetent member of the Shadow Cabinet. The repugnant racist, Diane Abbott, would have been in line to become Home Secretary by the end of the week, had we not been saved from that fate by a mystery “illness”. One does have to wonder whether it has anything to do with the series of car crash interviews featuring a combination of “brain fade” and outright lies? Does Abbott’s last minute dismissal demonstrate that Corbyn’s insistence on giving the top jobs to his mates regardless of how inept they are? Or, was his dearth of options the real problem, having received only 40 (17%) votes of confidence from his parliamentary colleagues when his leadership was called into question last year? Interestingly, the 172 that recognised his failings are now unscrupulously changing their argument from “don’t worry he’ll not get in” to “I support him wholeheartedly” depending on who they’re talking to on the doorstep.
All of this chaos is without getting embroiled in debate about the chequered history of the anti-West far-left personalities that have taken over the official opposition – on the IRA, Hamas & Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, anti-Semitism, protecting us from terrorists by allowing a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy, and our retaining a useful nuclear deterrent.
With all that in mind, voting Conservative should be a no-brainer for all but the most ardent Corbynistas. A safe pair of hands on the economy, just as we’re about to enter into the hugely important Brexit negotiations and significantly more competent when dealing with terrorism and wider security issues. But no! Despite starting with an seemingly unassailable lead in the polls, Theresa May has managed to replace her “strong and stable” image with that of a flip-flopping coward.
The Conservative Manifesto is deeply unpopular. While the lack of tax-payer funded giveaways could be commended on the grounds of prudence, the lack of financial clarity smacks of a disturbing combination of dishonesty and complacent arrogance. Plans around social care were poorly explained, leaving them open to criticism with the headline grabbing “dementia tax” misnomer. The more centrist policies around increasing NHS spending, adding worker representation on corporate boards, reducing immigration and employing an interventionist industrial strategy to protect jobs, have all been trumped by Labour’s even more populist approach.
Dispensing with economic liberty and the prosperity that it brings is an error, whether it buys a few extra votes of not; but it’s even worse if it doesn’t even do that. This electoral clumsiness was even more evident when the possibility of a free vote on fox hunting was re-tabled, despite there being no evidence of public support. So, it turns out that animal cruelty isn’t as popular as free everything with a cherry on top; who knew?
All of this made it increasingly important for Theresa May to step up and engage in the TV debates that could offer a platform to put herself forward as the capable leader that she professes to be. By failing to do so, Jeremy Corbyn, to his credit, managed to fill the void. She will argue that the “coalition of chaos” was there for all to see; but there’s no getting away from the fact that she wasn’t! Her reserved approach is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, last year – and we all know how that turned out! Where Corbyn calls to ‘Make Britain Socialist Again’, with baying crowds answering his question “Who’s gonna pay?” with a resounding “SOMEONE ELSE!” (in place of “ME-XI-CO”), Theresa May’s crowd-pleasing abilities are sadly lacking. So we are left with two terrible choices.
Where’s Monty Brewster when you need him? #noneoftheabove