Corbynomics: winning with policy clarityBy Michael Burke
Economic policy is central to the survival and eventual victory of the new Labour leadership, even though it is clearly not the only issue. Contrary to the usual Tory media reports, Jeremy Corbyn and his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell registered an advance with the debate and vote on Osborne’s risible Fiscal Responsibility Charter. That advance came because the correct position of voting against was adopted. As this question will not go away, further advances will require even greater clarity.
The measure of the advance can be summed up in its political aspect with an analysis of the vote. Just 20 Labour MPs rebelled against Labour’s line by abstaining on the Charter. It may be recalled that of the 35 nominations Jeremy Corbyn received from MPs in the leadership contest, only about half of them actually supported him. During that campaign the vast majority of MPs followed the line of abstaining on the Tories massive cuts in the Welfare Bill. Now the overwhelming bulk of the Parliamentary Labour Party has voted against the key Tory legislation of permanently enshrining austerity and ruling out borrowing for investment. This is despite the fact that as recently as May the party’s economic line was ‘fiscal rectitude’, ‘zero-based spending reviews’ and sticking to outlandish Tory spending cuts in the first two years of the Parliament (something the Tories could not do in their own June 2015 Budget).
Politically, the 20 abstainers have isolated themselves within the party (although they will no doubt find regular berths in the BBC studios and lots of column inches in the Murdoch press). Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have led the PLP to a much better economic position by opposing Tory economic policies. As the Tories are committed to austerity and this will be central to the economic debate over the next five years, that leadership will need to keep moving forward.
Exposing Osborne’s fallacies
Labour lost the last election because its economic policies were not credible. There is a concerted effort to distort this factual finding to suggest that Labour was too anti-austerity. Therefore the debate on economic policy is central both to the future direction of Labour policy and its election prospects.
Osborne’s great fallacies, like most distortions of the truth, have some connection to popular understanding otherwise it would be impossible to explain their political power. A central fallacy is to treat all debt as essentially the same, with equally negative consequences. Instead, as