11 March 2016

McDonnell’s 5 year plan for fiscal responsibility is hilarious


Is that it then? Is that what all the revolutionary talk and taking over the Labour party from the far left was for? In order that the Socialist John McDonnell could stand at a podium and declare his supposed “iron” commitment to fiscal responsibility and balancing the books?

It is impossible at moments like this to avoid thinking of the words of the master, describing the evolution of revolutionaries lured by power. Here’s Orwell at the end of Animal Farm: “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

Almost as funny as that is the text of McDonnell’s speech today, which he finished without taking any questions from the media.

“We should show how we can account for every penny in tax revenue raised, and every penny spent. There is nothing left-wing about ever-increasing government debts, or borrowing to cover day-to-day expenses. Borrowing today is money to be repaid tomorrow. With a greater and greater portion of our government debt now held by those in the rest of the world, government borrowing increasingly represents a net loss for those of us living here. The public, rightly, want a government that is responsible with its finances. We in the Labour Party have to show them how we will act as a responsible custodian. We shouldn’t be the Party that only thinks how to spend money. We are the Party that thinks about how to earn money.”

You can read the whole thing here.

It does not matter if that speech has been put together by nice Keynesian academics who mean well and want to help McDonnell get to a place where he can be taken seriously by voters, or if economics correspondents can say that actually there’s something in this borrowing to invest business and technically McDonnell has a better version of the Gordon Brown golden rules. It makes no difference after what has happened in the last decade. It’s John McDonnell. It’s Jeremy Corbyn. Are they any more likely than Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to succeed delivering broadly the same message as that which was crushed in the UK’s 2015 general election? The pair of them are, short of an apocalypse, never going to be voted into power by British voters in the seats Labour lost and needs to win, not even if for his next trick McDonnell dresses up as the Queen and says his favourite programmes include Antiques Roadshow, the Archers and Strictly Come Dancing.

I must say, however, that what I really want to see next is the reaction from the Corbynistas to this speech.

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX.