Rod Liddle

Jeremy Corbyn won’t destroy Labour. But he might yet destroy the country

With only the slenderest tweaking of the national mood, it could conceivably happen

1 August 2015

9:00 AM

1 August 2015

9:00 AM

Imagine, for a moment, the following scenario. In 2016 Britain votes narrowly to remain within the European Union, despite the Prime Minister having achieved little in attempting to renegotiate the terms of our membership. The ‘out’ campaign — which was no longer led by a marginal party, Ukip, but by the majority of the parliamentary Labour party, under its new leader Jeremy Corbyn — came mightily close to securing our withdrawal, and thus, as it is put by proponents, our independence. Subsequently, Labour receives the same sort of bounce in the opinion polls as the SNP enjoyed following the equally close independence referendum in Scotland — helped by a continuing crisis in the eurozone and extravagant demands for the UK to do a bit more bailing out and take still more of the sub-Saharan immigrants who now constitute about 92 per cent of the population of Calais.

A year later, an infuriated British public sees its energy bills rise by three times the rate of inflation; the mood in favour of nationalising the utilities, as Corbyn demands, stands at 61 per cent in the latest opinion polls. In 2019 there is a government scandal — something perhaps involving drugs, whores and money — and yet the Conservatives are still just about ahead as the 2020 election campaign gets underway.

But only just about. About as just about ahead as they were in 2015, maybe a little less. In the end, the result is very similar to 2015, except that the government loses perhaps 20 or so seats on a 0.8 per cent swing. Labour gains 25, the SNP loses five. There was a strong Ukip vote in the south, especially the south-west, but its vote in the north collapsed.

As a consequence, Jeremy Corbyn is the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (although probably not that latter bit for much longer) and will rule with his Deputy Prime Minister, the hugely like-able SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon. Our Foreign Secretary is Lord Salmond of Linlithgow. ‘I supported Corbyn in his leadership bid because I wished there to be a serious debate in the party about tackling our budget deficit. I didn’t expect this to happen,’ says a plainly appalled Frank Field on the 10 May 2020 edition of the Today programme. ‘Christ help us all,’ he concludes.

You lot, or many of you lot, are too busy tied up with accountants sorting out your financial arrangements, or emigrating to the Czech Republic (top tax rate 15 per cent), to have heard Mr Field’s lengthy apologia for having supported Jezza. Because just around the corner is Chancellor Diane Abbott’s first budget, and the likely introduction of a top rate of income tax of 60 per cent — Corbyn yearns for 75 per cent, but bear with us, we will have to get there in stages, he tells his impatient, adolescent and plainly mentally ill supporters.

At Buckingham Palace, meanwhile, the Queen is trying to work out the menu place settings for the upcoming dinner in honour of Khaled Mashal, the leader of Hamas. Probably a vegetarian starter and halal chicken is the safest bet — and of course the Queen herself should be appropriately veiled. She will also have to prepare a menu for the forthcoming visit of various Irish people who have tried, in the past and with some success, to murder members of her family. Colcannon potatoes, I would reckon. And bacon. Don’t get the two menus confused, now.

Be careful what you wish for, please — for all of our sakes. The scenario I outlined above is not particularly outlandish — indeed, most of it is more likely to happen than not happen. I accept that it gets a bit surreal towards the end, but hell — with a Corbyn premier-ship it will be surreal, believe me. If you’ve never tried LSD, a Corbyn government would be a fairly decent simulacrum of the drug, especially the bit where you have to come down and suffer recurring flashbacks, like the one where you’re in Rampton and all of your fellow patients, and the nurses, are actually fish.

Those of you who wish for Mr Corbyn to become leader of the Labour party do so for one of three reasons: a) you think he would be a bloody brilliant Prime Minister, b) you want there to be a ‘proper debate’ in the Labour party (à la Frank Field, Margaret Beckett etc) or c) you are Tories and wish — as my colleague Toby Young put it — to consign Labour to electoral oblivion. All three reasons are patently absurd, but at least option a) has a certain berserk nobility to it. The other two are self–indulgent and a consequence of either hubris or schadenfreude.

Tory voters have been gulled by the opinion polls and the unexpected outright victory for Mr Cameron back in May, I think. A victory it was indeed, but it was not a victory by very much at all, when push comes to shove. In electoral terms we came within a whisker of a Miliband-SNP alliance government, and our justifiable gratitude at being spared such an appalling eventuality should not be allowed to spiral into a spurious feeling of impregnability. Because spurious it is — this is not 1982, even if, for Labour party members like myself, those similarities seem to abound. For a start, the Conservative party will not come anywhere close to achieving 44 per cent of the vote in 2020, as it did back then; knock 10 per cent off and you might be nearer the truth. The electoral map is more fissiparous, volatile; the voters less reliable in what one might reasonably expect them to do. A Corbyn victory in 2020 is far more likely, for all of these reasons, than a Michael Foot victory was in 1983.

You have to understand that it does not matter that he is mad, or at the least terminally deluded; events may ensure that such a judgment is forgotten. The Labour party will not be consigned to electoral oblivion if Corbyn becomes its leader. But the country will be consigned to oblivion if, with the slenderest tweaking of the national mood, he becomes Prime Minister.

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  • Shan

    What a strange article. It has no facts, no evidence, just name calling and wild fantasies.
    Yes, Corbyn is going to be the next Leader of Labour.
    Yes he is very likely to be the winner of the 2020 election.
    The rest seems to be a run of spiteful drivel that makes Corbyn’s own statements look very good by comparison.

    • OpenEurope

      Corbyn’s ideology is sad and deluded. His brand of marxist-socialism hasn’t worked anywhere in the world. Think Cuba, North Korea and the former communist states of Eastern Europe – or even Greece under Tsipras. It belongs to another age. But please vote for him. It will guarantee another Conservative win in 2020.

    • blandings

      “Yes he is very likely to be the winner of the 2020 election”

      Maybe. It will be enormously funny, if one is cynical enough, watching Comrade C and his munchkins wreack havoc up and down the country.

      As Mencken put it so well:
      “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

    • Keith Brown

      This is obviously a speculative essay on how things might conceivably turn out, written in Rod Liddle’s own inimitable and (nearly) always entertaining style. You call for facts and evidence as if you were reviewing an academic paper, or, more like it, some sort of legal case file. Have you got any idea how witless and humourless that makes you look?

    • Rbeastlondon

      ‘Yes he is very likely to be the winner of the 2020 election.’

      What are you on, man?

  • Gaz223

    Weird, so much Tory fear fantasy there.

    Why are people so scared of Corbyn? Is it because he has a chance of reigniting the left against right-wing dominance? Because he can answer straight questions? Because he is the cleanest political figure in British politics?

    Right wing are probably scared because they haven’t really got any scandal and he also doesn’t bite to baiting. Finally we can see what an ADULT does in politics rather than the CHILDREN who currently run the UK.

    • pp22pp

      People are scared of Corbyn because crazed ideologues like him have a track record of leaving misery and poverty in their wake. His ideas have been tried many times and they have always failed.

      • Gaz223

        Interestingly they failed once the Tories dismantled them. Though have you forgotten the fact that poverty is on the rise under Tory government (pretty much their second term), their austerity package is irresponsible and knee-jerk.

        Times have changed, the left has a bigger purpose than just whining nowadays. Also we are not going to go communist under Corbyn -.- again with the hyperbole. Be realistic.

        • pp22pp

          I remember the 70’s and the place was continuously on strike with the unions making a serious bid for political power. Callahan went to the IMF to beg for money and was turned away. Something had to give. I have now emigrated to New Zealand and New Zealand had a similar crisis in the 1980’s. There it was a Socialist PM (Lange) who dismantled the cradle to grave welfare state. He did it because he had no choice. New Zealand was broke and up to its eyes in debt. Poverty went through the roof.

          • Abie Vee

            Yes, our “socialists” bought into the Free-market/IMF voodoo economics too.
            Still you know what they say, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. At the moment it’s only the little countries going under… wait until Spain or Italy turns turtle. Ya-hoo… bring it on!

    • Baron

      Your sweeping generalisation between the Right and Left, Gaz223, fits badly both the past and the future, you may at least break it up into social and economic domains, the former has been tilting to the left whichever political outfit’s in power e.g. gay marriage, and as for the latter, cumryd Corbyn hasn’t got half a leg to stand on, just look at the Mandarin speakers, when they followed what he preaches over 1.5bn Chinese grazed to survive, after only twenty five years of vicious mercantile capitalism fewer than 0.5bn do. You what, want us to graze, too?

      • Gaz223

        Was I talking about communism? Seriously?

        We are entering an age where technology and automation will likely replace a lot of jobs, A LOT, so what do you propose we do? Hang on to outdated crap?

        In regards to how the left fits in, there is more social mobility in the left as fiscal freedom actually ends up being fiscal insecurity, thus lowering the actual social movement and social quality.

        The left would be best poised with nationalisation of a few key services to at least fullfill the basic requirements of security (the first 2 tiers of Maslow’s Hierarchy), the right wing is literally dragging us back to second revolution capitalism, which is failing fast.

        I don’t see why people are so aggressive about the concept of work being automated.

        • Frank

          You don’t seem to understand that one of Britain’s biggest problems is how to employ the segment of the population that can only do fairly simple manual labour – ie just the kind of job that can be and has been automated. The other part of manual labour has moved to lower cost centres abroad.
          As for nationalisation, do you really think that this will suddenly transform life for the above-mentioned segment of our population? Particularly given that most things which are nationalised become bureaucratic and incompetent.
          One answer would be to return to all rich families having huge numbers of indoors and external servants, or perhaps a very large standing army!!

          • Gaz223

            Or is there a need to employ people at that level at all once things are automated properly? Why is it people always go down the avenue that work is a necessity and people must be hired?

            There will always be left-behind parts of generations, i.e. the Miners, the difference is making sure they still have a livelihood and the resources for a dignified life, not condemn them to poverty or force them to work in another sector.

            In about 20 years time, I’d be surprised if half the jobs exist that do now.

            In regards to nationalisation being extra bureaucratic, well thats the public who has the blame for that, not to mention the NHS, for example, being bureaucratic because half of it is private and half of it is state-owned, this brings up tons of conflicts with data protection etc etc leading to more paperwork.

            Nationalisation isn’t actually THAT bad at all, consider water and energy. We shouldn’t ever privatise gas because that is going the way of the Do-do long-term. However electricity and water isn’t going anywhere and should be nationalised, e.g. when Solar becomes cheaper than oil around 2020 and fusion comes into play later on, do you really want a private agency charging you for profit rather than service?

            This is what the basics of nationalisation really comes to though, where is profit appropriate and necessary. Health, Social Services, Police, Fire Service, Council, Environmental and Water, later Energy and maybe the internet/telecoms, should never be run for profit, so why are certain aspects or entire aspects privatised for profit?

          • Frank

            Heavens, so “miners” must be protected from having to look for work in new industries (unlike the rest of humanity)?? Are you seriously proposing that all of the un-employed (because of their low skills base and the lack of appropriate jobs) should simply be left to rot on benefits?
            You are clearly too young to have known just how incompetent national industries were – this is why most of the population woke up and realised that having a choice of private suppliers of telephone, gas, electricity,etc, was fundamentally a very good thing.

          • Gaz223

            The difference is really that they could look for new work but they would be assured no poverty should they choose not to.

            Whether you like it or not over 40%+ of all jobs will be likely automated in the coming decades. Those jobs just will not be necessary and will not be replaced by other jobs so how would you propose we deal with that? Make jobs out of thin air? Or we could encourage higher education and innovation IF YOU WANT, if not then do as you like provided you don’t break the law. Currently you are working in a model that is incompatible with the way the world is moving. The sheer number of people eligible to work will simply be higher than the number of jobs necessary, we are already going that way, for example, when was the last time you saw a clerical job being advertised in a modern company?

            You are clearly too old to realise how things have changed and how nationalisation of certain industries will need to be nationalised to ensure neutrality of access once the internet of things gets fully kicking. Technology is simply making it not necessary to work and really easy/cheap for a government to provide said service that a council tax bill could cover it (e.g. solar energy).

            The actual arguments for privatisation are profit based, once you take away the need for profit what is there left?

  • greggbayesbrown

    Funny how the author makes mention of LSD use, as this sounds like the sort of complete collapse of logic and sanity one would associate with the ever-feared bad trip.

    Essentially, all this represents is a solid example of the Spectator brown nosing the rich and powerful and letting things like facts and evidence slide as it pursues the almighty God of profit.

    All this article actually achieves is galvinising support for Corbyn. People are sick of fantasies and being fed fear and being called mentally ill for simply rejecting the one neoliberal cold offering UK politics currently provides. If Corbyn wins, I fully expect that there would be a shift in political mood as people snap out of apathy and realise there’s something more durable and positive on the table. And, as hopes of Osborne 2020 go down the pipes, I genuinely hope this sort of churnalistic garbage gets flushed with it.

    • pp22pp

      He’s offering policies that have already been tried and have failed. He’s not new, he’s old tired and wrong.

      • greggbayesbrown

        I wouldn’t call what socialism has achieved in the past a failure. However, with stagnating wages since 1970, with previously public services blowing up in our faces, and with an inability to tackle the 2008 crisis which has just made the poor poorer without actually solving any of the problems which caused 2008, I’d call neoliberalism an unequivocal failure that has achieved absolutely nothing in 30 years other than making life for everybody but a chosen select few harder.

        • pp22pp

          Corbyn’s friends gave us the Ukrainian Famine and mass cannibalism in China. He is not a Socialist, he’s more extreme than that.

          • Frank

            Agree with you, but Japan is no golden example, they have no idea of how to break out of their economic situation.

          • jennybloggs

            I think it is possible that technology now is destroying jobs but cannot create an equal number of new jobs. If that is so then Japan’s policy which seems to be to manage what they have as as effectively as possible, and in the interests of their indigenous population, is the right way to go. Our Ponzi scheme of unlimited immigration can only mean a race to the bottom.

          • Frank

            Blame Labour!

        • Frank

          That must be why life expectancy has grown, why the trains work pretty well, why more people in Britain than ever go abroad for their holidays, etc, etc, etc. If Labour had not opened the doors to virtually unlimited immigration, no doubt more of our un-employed would be employed and the downwards pressure on wages would not be nearly as strong.
          Do try and wake up – look at Venezuela to see what socialism of the Corbyn type has failed to achieve.

          • greggbayesbrown

            Venezuela is hardly one of the richest and most developed countries in the world. Comparing them with us on socialism is like going “Why should China bother fielding an Olympics team? Trinidad and Tobago tried it and they totally sucked!”

        • Dexter vs Sinister

          You are a tw@t.

          • Ha ha ha – look in the mirror if you want to see what one of those is…. What a fool.

        • Folk like you fail entirely to see the real cause of the most destructive feature of ordinary people’s quality of life – the cost of housing. The cause of this is NOT Thatcher’s sale of council houses – those houses are still lived in. It is the massive immigration we have tolerated during a long period when we built few houses. So few were built during a time of burgeoning households that prices doubled in a handful of years under Labour while Blair and Brown and most of the Milliband shadow cabinet were waving Poles in by the million. The natural and predictable result of this has been impoverishment of young families and single people under about the age of fifty something – a massive loss of disposable income. This year as in most years in the last decade we will accept more than 300,000 migrants – a population far larger than a city like Newcastle upon Tyne. Have we built a new Newcastle somewhere? Of course not. Under Labour, we received 5 million new migrants – five times the population of our second city Brimingham. Do we have several new Birminghams? What a silly question.

          • greggbayesbrown

            I wouldn’t disagree with you that one of the most destructive aspects of our society is housing — I’m one of the many young people who, despite getting paid pretty well for what I do, can’t afford a house.

            However, that’s hardly something that can be tagged to socialism (the topic of my original post). If the left had much of a say since 1979, we would’ve just built new houses instead of handing it over to people looking to get their optimum slice of the pie.

            More people living in the UK would obviously do something to raise demand, but I’d need to see the stats that immigrants are indeed taking up all the property – as opposed to our landed elite and foreign investors – before I made the assumption that immigrants were the root cause.

            Personally, I’d point to the fact that house building has been lukewarm, and hasn’t been encouraged by the governments of Thatcher onwards, largely because by limiting demand, the price of houses goes up, making the voters living inside think, somewhat inaccurately, that they are better off because of it.

          • I regret your problems buying home. Your whole generation were shafted by Labour over thirteen years. Where do you think the five million migrants who came under Labour live? Under hedges? Look around you. Forty percent of London’s population were born abroad. Of course as a person under the thrall of left minded thinking, you prefer to blame landed elite for taking up the houses. Get real. They are all around you, occupying property and under Labour which had massive majorities mostly, fewer homes were being built than at any time in a hundred years. You cant see the wood for the trees mate.

            By the way – I vote Conservative, but they have done no better, but don’t blame them and ignore what your own party did to you, for they were FAR worse on the mass migration and no new homes front. Had they come out with a massive home building plan, no one could have stopped them, but they threw money away on foreign wars and patted themselves on the back on a ‘fabulous’ economy that was based on massive debt – public and private. They actually grinned and clapped as a huge housing bubble took off in 2002 – 2008. THAT was when you were priced out of buying your own home. Across the country house price rises have been MUCH slower since 2010.

          • greggbayesbrown

            I agree with you that Labour definitely shafted my generation substantially during the Blair and Brown years – so much so that I resent your implication that I see Labour as “my” party. As long as I’ve been alive, Labour has not been my party. That said, I did end up voting Labour in 2015, but it was probably my most begrudgingly given vote of all time.

            But what you say about Labour is quite true. They massively failed on the housing front, and of course a large part of why we don’t have new houses now is because no one thought to start building them at any time since the turn of the millennium.

            However, housing is only a piece of the puzzle. The wider economy has been under the thrall of neoliberalism since the Thatcher and Reagan years which has seen an unprecedented transfer of wealth upwards. That fabulous economy founded on debt began back in the 1980s when we decided that we can stop increasing wages and begin putting our financial lives into one giant game of kicking the can down the road.

            And don’t get me wrong – I’m a Keynesian. Debt for the right reasons can work wonders. QE, for example, was free market economists dusting off the Keynes book, but they only seemed to get as far as borrowing the cash. Instead of that money going into infrastructure (and homes), it went to the upper echelons of society and never came down. This, again, was a collective failure of a lack of direction by Labour when the policy started, and a lack of management by the Tories since.

            Essentially, I’ll accept that there have been numerous failings by Labour, but there have been just as many by the Tories. Both are equally complicit in forcing economic ideology which is not backed by economic fact, and both are clearly interested in representing the needs of the few, the wealthy, and the corporates as opposed to the wider electorate of which I assume we are both a part.

            Living in a fantasy world where two parties pursuing the same policies which contributed to 2008, will inevitably lead to the forthcoming crash, and which ruled out a whole generation is as laughable as it is dangerous – hence the support for Corbyn offering an alternative. Currently, we are being offered two shades of the same failure, and expecting anything different from more failure is a fallacy in that setting.

            Facts and figures on immigration tend to be knocked around and bent on bias depending on who’s attempting to fit them to whatever narrative – and “40%” sounds like an all round too complete scare figure to me – but I will acquiesce that immigrants do indeed need houses. But immigrants are just a part of the wider picture affecting us. Blaming them wholesale isn’t just not seeing the wood for the trees, it’s a dangerous fixation on a one element that allows your view of the whole puzzle to become biased.

            Immigrants do contribute, and immigrants don’t call the political or economic shots. They can be and are a highly useful part of the economy, but are misused. Who’s at fault here – the five million or whatever it is that came here to work (especially in the NHS which would have failed without them) – or the politicians who failed to house them and our own people and the financial professionals who failed to capitalise on their contributions?

          • Thanks for your reply. We don’t agree on some things but I see you are a thinker. I don’t blame immigrants as individuals. My own family on both sides came here as economic migrants in at the end of the 19th century. The problem is that we live on a small island which is already vastly over-populated. Try driving anywhere. Compare to driving in France or Spain – worlds apart. France is almost twice the size of the UK and has a lower population. England is the most densely populated country in Europe (leaving aside city states like Monaco). There comes a point at which we must close the door except to high value migrants with special, in demand skills. The people most shafted my the unprecedented migration of the last few years are the low skilled working class whose wages and working conditions are suppressed by eager migrants keen to tolerate minimum wage and poor working conditions. Many work as self employed subcontractors in the building industry and work piece rate, which means they for example fit a kitchen for a fixed fee – irrespective of the fact that they are in the end working below minimum wage – perfectly legal, but deeply unhelpful to the working man and woman.

            You write about the terrible state of our economy…. Really? It is without doubt creating more jobs and wealth than any other in Europe right now. The only two countries with growth in the developed world are the UK and the USA. My brother lives in France……. A socialist government there has destroyed jobs by demanding high taxes and suffocating regulation. Spain has almost 50% of its youth as long term unemployed. I think you should stop focusing on Thatcherism and neo-liberalism and see what is actually going on.

            I have three sons, probably not far different in age from you. They range between 28 and 35 years old. They are all doing very well after their comprehensive education – extremely well, but they have from an early age been focussed on developing skills in a highly demanded work area. One of them pays £90k in tax each year. He is 31. Two of them are self employed and between them earn over £300k. One employs 12 people. He created those jobs since 2010. One of Labours vilest crimes was to set up the great con for your generation that 50% of the population should go to university. The idea was that lending hundreds of thousands of kids a fortune to blow on arts degrees would lead to a great economy. What a croc of sh|t that was. The graduate premium as they called it was based on experience of a time when 5% of the population had a degree. Did they REALLY expect that to be the same when 40% had one? Really? Each year we turn out hundreds of thousands of arts graduates with nowhere to go but call centres and shops or bar work (where they compete with bright Polish migrants). We need many technology, science and maths graduates – not media, English and History. those degrees will lead most of the graduates to a life of penury.

          • greggbayesbrown

            Thanks, Arthur. It’s a good back and forth!

            I must admit, I’m more a cycling and trains kind of guy – you can probably fish two big topics out of those two forms of transport that Corbyn represents my views on, hence the support. My experiences of driving lately tend to be rentals on the motorway on an infrequent basis.

            On over population, yes, I can see your point. And yet, there’s plenty of land not used, or cities not exploited to their fullest. There’s definitely a draw to London, but last time I checked, Scotland was still pretty vast yet pretty unpopulated, as is much of the north. And do we truly need the green belts? While it might be nice to take a walk outside the city limits sometimes, there’s plenty of places in the UK one could potentially move to and have all the space in the world. And is that more important than people of your sons’ and my generation getting the places we need?

            To that end, I’d say that an ambitious plan to engage and utilise that migrant population to become a workforce that could build homes and modernise both our infrastructure and our economy could be particularly advantageous. We have the people, we do actually have the space, let’s figure out how to get these two things to work together.

            I also spend much of my time working with developing technologies, and can see what’s around the corner. Just by way of example, you have electric cars, self driving technology, and wireless energy transfer all just around the corner from wider adoption. Who would need HS2 when you could modernise our roads to deliver electricity to self driving cars? You’d tackle road deaths, car emissions, and your congestion in one swoop while creating an industry we could export around the planet – and that’s just a taste of what could be achieved.

            That’s why I can’t agree with you enough that we need more STEM graduates, and this ties into a lot of things. Britain truly was great once, now we more or less bumble our way through the global scene. We have a diverse range of people here, yet we are all at each other’s throats instead of realising the opportunity. We may have growth at present, but we pursue policies such as austerity which even the IMF and the OECD say its hampering our ability to grow more, and we remain dependent on a financial sector which is massively overexposed, unregulated, and self interested. And possibly the greatest fallacy, we allow ourselves to live in fear of pretty much everything despite being one of the safest, most well off, and longest living peoples in all of recorded time.

            With all that in mind, I’d say we should be pursuing technological development above all else. We have the brains and the spare hands to both develop it, implement it, and then sell it across the world. In order to do that, we’ll still need a fair amount of graduates coming through, but totally right that they should be led down the STEM route. I wish I had – I went for media and while I do fairly well for myself, I can’t say I’m having as much success as your sons!

          • I cycle loads. I rode up to 4000 miles a year at one time. love it. I drive a 68mpg diesel when I drive and only covered 25000 miles in five years. Now diesel is the new bad boy…. mainly based on emissions in Oxford St and a few gridlocked hell holes.

            Have enjoyed our talk and would like to continue, but these threads shut down. my email is volpoon(at) if you want to exchange views further. Cheers lad – and good luck. Also remember – success isn’t your bank balance it is whether you are content and making a contribution to the world. That can be done in many forms. Good talking to you.

          • A couple of things jump out of this response at me:

            HS2 – what a waste of money. If they spent that money creating new affordable homes on a shared basis maybe or maybe as housing associatio dwellings we could stop the worst curse on your generation that we have – vast housing cost. You’d need to protect the taxpayer’s investment against speculators buying them and selling on at full market value, but changes of law could do that. Housing is the biggest problem we have in the UK. £52bn invested in building homes would be a massive boots to the economy as we would have to train thousands of new apprentices in building trades. Of course they know this (both parties) but who wants to be the government that caused a fall in house prices? The electorate would tear them apart. It would be suicide, so what we end up with is the stupid HS2. What is the point of shaving half an hour off the trip between London and Birmingham? Is that the best way to spend £52Bn? I doubt it.

            On electric cars – My next car in about ten years time if I’m still driving will be electric, BUT it must be equipped with a petrol generator so I am able to go to the other end of the counrty if I want to. there are cars set up like this now Mitsubishi do a horrible big people carrier thing which is a petrol electric hybrid. It would mean that most of my driving would be pure electric, but if I wanted to drive from the North East where I live to Cornwall, I’d just put in some petrol and set off and when the battery ran down, the generator would start up and I would continue on to Truro or wherever. That kind of technology would really make the number of sales commercial and the price would fall. At the moment they are still very expensive. There are interesting developments in battery technology, but the pur battery car will always be up against the range anxiety problem for most people. Oil has a massive power to weight advantage in comparison to batteries. A gallon of diesel weighing about 7 pounds can cover more miles than a modern Lithium battery weighing half a ton. That is a hell of a power to weight advantage.

          • The forty percent figure for Londoners born abroad comes from the census figures. It isn’t a scare and is obvious when you go and visit the capital. The average rent in London is something around £1000 a calendar month now and that buys you a grotty place with drug dealers around the corner and stabbings. I was a student in London between 1970 – 1974. It is a far worse place now. More expensive, more congested, more criminal and more dangerous. I couldn’t wait to get out of it in 1974….. Now, I rarely go there. One of my sons lives there for work. He just had to pay half a million quid for a flat.

    • blandings

      “I fully expect that there would be a shift in political mood as people
      snap out of apathy and realise there’s something more durable and
      positive on the table.”
      Dream on by all means, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you and few of your like-minded friends are representaive of the people as a whole.

      • Baron

        But your take on things is, blandings, representative of what people think, is it?

        • blandings

          I hope not Baron.
          And you?

      • Frank

        He may of course be being ironic and suggesting that the pissed off middle classes finally rise up and burn down Tower Hamlets, Camden and all strong Labour areas!!

  • Ted

    Probably Liddle should stick to posting racist tweets on the Millwall supporters website. More his level.

  • Precambrian

    As opposed to your Blairite buddies who stuffed the economy to buy votes and opened the borders to provide cheap labour?

    • Abie Vee

      And the Tories are doing such a good aren’t they?

      • Precambrian

        Did I say that they were?

        • dalai guevara

          you didn’t

  • Baron

    In a sense, this chap Corbyn (just like Farage) is a natural reaction to the sameness of policies by the three major political outfits in things that matter to us. People want choice, in a free country they always do, have been denied it, he furnishes an option, even if his alternative is nothing but a re-packaging of past policies that had failed to deliver.

    • blandings

      Agreed, and I voted for UKIP and Green (possibly the only person in England to manage that combination) as my natural reaction, but things will have to get far, far, worse before the likes of Corbyn, Farage etc get elected to high office. Until the situation becomes “grecian” the majority will back off when they go into the voting booth. I’m not blaming people for that- I can afford to be reckless (No mortgage and a large allotment) but most can’t.

    • jennybloggs

      I agree absolutely. Also I think a lot of people like him. I like him. I would not wish him to be PM but he is refreshing. A man who stands by his beliefs, puts in low expenses, can’t be all bad. He is in the English tradition of Dissent.

    • Georgina

      What policies failed to “deliver”? For example, Corbyn wants to stop foreign investors buying up swathes of property in Britain, leaving them empty, and driving prices of accommodation through the ceiling.

      Sounds like a good idea to me . What have you got against it? Has it been tried before and has it failed? I don’t think so, do you?.

  • Faulkner Orkney

    Democracy means we should be able to have primeminister Corbyn and that we should also be able to then vote him out 5 years later…mad as the fellow undoubtedly is, this is a good thing.

  • Jugurtha

    It’s all too late…and all too sad. Traditional labour supporters have finally acquired a bit of a backbone, declared “enough is enough” where slick PR style, managerialist politics is concerned and have retraced to their roots back to the “old fashioned socialist” Jetemy Corbyn. Only two problems…
    1) The Labour Party is now irrelevant and this ‘revolt’ is nothing more than an agonised thrashing before the whole corpse lies still and starts to putrefy. There’s no intention from Corbyn’s supporters that they should ever achieve power; this is virtue signalling pure and simple; a declaration of ‘purity’.
    2) “old fashioned socialist” Corbyn is no such thing. He’s the grand viceroy of tweedy Islington liberalism. He’s all corduroy and identity politics with some highly dubious friends and preoccupations which doubtless earn him kudos amongst his Guardianista confederates but just leave looking distinctly odd and morally inconsistent to the real people.
    No. Labour’s gone…for a considerable length of time…until it regains a leadership with sufficient credibility to ever again meaningfully speak of forming a government. Ten years minimum.

  • mg

    Somewhat belated contribution but it’s been on my mind for some while. I suspect that there is a substantial part of the population which would be happy to see Corbyn as the leader and perhaps prime minister, not because of Mr Liddle’s 3 reasons,but because they hate this country. They don’t all hate the same things of course, but they do want to change things. They fear immigrants as native populations always have, they hate the preponderance of Etonians in positions of power, they hate the fact that senior civil servants are apparently impregnable, they hate Brussels, though they like Europe, they hate the influence of Trades unions and bankers and lawyers and so on and on. The trouble is that nobody has a sound philosophical basis for any alternative form of social organisation. Socialist states have led to appalling crimes against their populations while capitalist states keep their populations in line with bread and circuses. (No bread in socialist states).
    So I think we may get Mr Corbyn as the nihilists alternative and God save us all.

  • Mhjames

    I thought Rod Liddle favoured renationalising the utilities.

    • Frank

      I do when I read that the departing CEO of some water company got an £8M bonus – for running a water company! What were the shareholders doing?

      • mhjames

        Good point, but I was highlighting that Corbyn promises to implement some left-wing policies that Rod Liddle has espoused in the past.

        • Frank

          OK noted, but then again journalists are rather like actors in having slightly “innocent” political opinions!

  • Richard Eldritch

    No doubt about it, we’re going through an extreme polarisation. Half the country want to forget they were ever British the other half are just thankful that they’ll be dead soon so won’t have to suffer the clusterf*uck to come.

  • Frank

    Agreed that the Tories didn’t win the last election, because labour comprehensively lost it.
    Curious as to why you are a Labour voter – your pet issues seem to be much more in tune with UKIP than any other party!!
    As for Corbyn and your article, it is absurd. One decent whiff of Corbyn and all those voters who can never be bothered to vote would probably rise like Lazarus and give the very lack-lustre Tory party their biggest victory in decades. Look what snippy little Sturgeon achieved in terms of scaring people to vote Tory and magnify that 10 times to allow for Corbyn’s barmyness.

  • BoiledCabbage

    Corbyn is just another tax-and-spend guy. If the
    Czech Republic can have an 18% top rate, why cant Britain? What has gone so wrong with our Welfare Industry?

  • Lady Magdalene

    Even if Corbyn is elected Leader, I very much doubt he will be left in place to contest the 2020 General Election.
    Let’s face it ….. the reason he is possibly going to win is because there isn’t a credible candidate standing against him. Not one of the other candidates is really leadership material. They are all second-raters.
    If the choice is between platitude-spouting second-raters or another second-rater who does at least believe what he’s saying, it’s not surprising the one who appears to have some principles is in the lead.
    I very much doubt that Labour, even under Corbyn, will support leaving the EU. The Party Grandees (mostly in the Lords and pro-EU to a man and woman) won’t allow it.
    If we are to get OUT, as I hope we will, it will be thanks to Farage and UKIP and a few patriots in the Conservative Party.