17 June 2019

McDonnell reveals the true intent of Labour’s foreign policy revolution

By Peter Young

Thanks to an exposé from the Mail on Sunday, we now know the true enormity of the foreign policy consequences if Jeremy Corbyn ever makes it into 10 Downing Street.

Speaking at a Cuba Solidarity event, Corbyn’s shadow chancellor and staunch ally John McDonnell spelled out just how far Labour would be willing to go in “solidarity” with the communist regime.

Standing next to the Cuban Ambassador, McDonnell declared:

“We’re here in solidarity with the Cuban revolution, in solidarity with them. And I want to say this to our Cuban comrades. When the election comes and I believe when a Labour government is elected, not if, we will be your staunchest allies to support the Cuban revolution. And that means the support, the political support of course, but it means also the support, financial and on trade, to ensure that we prevent any attacks on Cuba that Trump may launch, economically or politically, or any other form. We stand with you comrades.”

It is no exaggeration to suggest that a Labour government would oversee a revolution in British foreign policy. Instead of being allied with the USA and NATO we will line up with the remaining communist states and assorted enemies of the West – all the people Corbyn and McDonnell have spent their political careers defending.

Worse still, a Corbyn administration would put hard cash behind its new stance. People were wondering where the Cubans would get their subsidies from after the collapse of the Maduro regime in Venezuela. The answer is now clear – it’s us.

Cuba is essentially a parasite state which can only survive if it can bleed off some external source of funds. Its own command economy cannot produce enough food and essential goods, or the hard currency to import them. Without the Venezuelan subsidies it is essentially bust. “What are the three main faults of the Revolution?” goes the Cuban joke – “breakfast, lunch and dinner”. With food rationing now imposed and basic items often impossible to find, it is a painful joke for Cubans not part of the cossetted communist party elite.

Between 1960 and 1990 Cuba received $65 billion from the Soviet Union. When this dried up the regime tottered until it was able to replace the Soviet subsidies with Venezuelan ones.  Cuba used to receive over 100,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela. With that now down to about 55,000 barrels, the country is in great difficulty. If McDonnell and Corbyn want the UK to to be Cuba’s “staunchest allies”, it would likely cost somewhere between $2.5bn and $5bn a year, quite possibly more.

Shortages of personnel in the NHS?  Guess where the new doctors will be coming from.

Cuba, whose regime earns some $8bn per annum selling doctors to various countries. It’s a lousy deal for the doctors themselves, who get just 10 per cent of the amount paid to the Cuban government, have their passports confiscated and are forced to leave their families behind in Cuba as hostages.  Look forward to being treated by one of these slave doctors in Corbyn’s NHS. You may laugh, but the idea is already being promoted by Corbyn acolyte Aaron Bastani on Twitter.

It’s not just the Cubans who will be able to rely on Corbyn and McDonnell’s largesse. There’s also Labour’s two other favourite regimes in the region, Venezuela and Nicaragua, who join Cuba in what John Bolton has called a ‘Troika of Tyranny’. All three are sordid dictatorships where dissidents are tortured, the media is muzzled, the judiciary is under state control, and free elections are a distant dream.

It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest a Corbyn-McDonnell government will also try to strengthen ties with other deeply unsavoury states – Iran, Russia and possibly even North Korea (or ‘People’s Korea, to quote Corbyn adviser Andrew Murray).

There’s not much here in the way of economic incentives. Corbyn’s favourite countries are, to varying degrees, economic basket-cases, which offer little hope for increased trade.  For example, UK exports to Cuba in 2017 amounted to a tiny $31.6m.

Yet none of that matters to the hard-left ideologues in charge of the Labour Party, who are more than happy to show “solidarity” with brutal dictatorships, even if it means frittering away British taxpayers’ money and destroying our hard-won international alliances into the bargain.

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Peter Young was formerly Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute.