Socialist Policy for Britain
Are the left wing proposals viable?
Socialist policy for Britain's future in 2019.
Are the left wing proposals viable?
There are press reports about the economic policies that, if elected, the next labour government would enforce.
Some are reasonable and good ideas, I am sure most will appeal to those born after say 1980 or those with very short memories and those who take no notice of history; while the socialist zealots will welcome anything and everything.
The proposal to raise taxes, is one such ideological favourite but is flawed in practice. Political ideology has very little to do with consideration of the long term effects. The basic rule of socialist economic policy is their certainty that the rich can pay more tax and this can be redistributed to the poor. If anyone cares to study history they see that this does not work out as well as socialist propaganda claims. Increasingly people and especially wealth, are mobile, they are easily transported. Finding ways to redistribute wealth to those who both need it and make, or have made, efforts to help the whole economy have proved to be beyond previous socialist governments. In practice the money moves out of taxable areas and so tax income falls, which leads the government to raise tax on goods, property, and middle income wages. This slows and eventually stagnates the economy. The unions representing middle income earners start agitating against the socialist government they helped install. The government sets up a bureaucracy to oversea the redistribution of wealth, the various factions within the socialist political groups campaign for their particular ideas. The money that is to be redistributed, gets used up in the costs of administration and in pandering to special interest groups. All the other policies get priority over redistribution. In a situation of a reducing amount of money, the poor get lots of promises and vast amounts of rhetoric but any extra income gets negated by the fact inflation rises. The poor get poorer still in real terms.
Another reported policy is the return of all public services to the “public sector.” This is one of those things which is both good and bad. The supply of essential services should be safeguarded, they should be run with private company efficiency but without a profit motive; such a thing is very hard to achieve since if the management know they must not make a profit, they tend to spend any “surplus” unwisely; usually on the management. To safeguard these services, the machinations of stock-market manipulators has to be eliminated. May be it will be a good idea to set up Great Britain Holding Ltd, the shares in this to be owned by the Government. This is to be a holding company that could own the shares, in part or whole, of firms supplying energy, water, health care, infrastructure etc. This way they could prevent hedge funds and other financial parasites from deliberately altering the financial stability of essential services.
The reported economic policy also includes a rather typical socialist “central government knows all and controls all,” statement: The setting up of a four day, 30 hour working week for everyone, with no loss of pay. While I am sure some will applaud this but I ask that thought is applied. How will this affect hospitals? Fire service? Police? The needs of arable agriculture, where the changing seasons changes the amount of labour needed? How will those business that rely of 24/7 working to make their products competitive, manage? One size does not fit all. Prices will rise, inflation will mount and employment will actually fall. The hope that firms will take on extra workers is just daft. How can a firm making, say 10 percent net profit, double or treble its labour costs and still stay in business? The mathematics show this is an impossible hope. Firms will close manufacturing in Britain, business will move overseas or go bankrupt.
One suggestion that of inclusive ownership, has a basis in something desirable but the proposed method, compulsory transfer of 10 percent shares to employees, is not the best way of going about this. Unions could buy shares in companies and so gain influence. They have funds enough for huge salaries to their managers. All companies that employ over 100 people, should have profit share schemes, whereby employees get a part of the annual profits as a bonus. If productivity falls and profits reduce, they get less total pay.
Another reported policy is increasing inward migration. I am sure this is an emotional policy rather than a fully thought through practical one. How is any government going to redistribute wealth to existing poor, while artificially increasing the numbers of “the poor?” How will they meet the need to supply health care, education, etc. etc. to an ever increasing population? It seems the wording of this emotional policy mentions the welcoming of “climate refugees” while “taking measures against the displacement of people from their homes.” Just how is this going to work in practice? If the sea levels rise and parts of Asia start to get submerged, just how will the British tax payer stop this? How will the social services of Britain cope with the displacement of millions of people?
Other reported policies include instructing councils to build over three million homes over the next 20 years. Instructing them is one thing, their ability to do it is another. Land prices will rocket, socialist councils will try to use compulsory purchases, the legal sharks will have a feast at tax payers expense, the local bureaucracies will recruit more and more staff to cope. Local taxes will double. The green and pleasant land will disappear. Councils will resort to building “new cities” on marginal or remote areas, the costs of infrastructure, schools, hospitalsm etc. will rocket and inflation will rise back to those of previous socialist governments. Britain will loose the last vestige of ability to feed itself and overseas suppliers will see increased profits, as demand exceeds supply, of basic food.
Another reported proposal is the giving of power to councils to take housing associations under direct control. For those with short memories, it was a socialist government that handed council housing to housing associations. They did this because the cost of maintenance and the need to improve the quality of this housing, were more than councils could afford. Housing associations can raise money that does not go down as government debt; although the government underwrites it. A great many of the housing associations were set up by transferring the housing stock, and the council staff who managed them, effectively a legal and name change operation. Now it is to all be changed back again? At what cost to local tax payers?
Other policy pronouncement appear to be driven by political emotion rather than by any actual need. Ending private schools will not change the existing state education for the better. This is simply ideology at work, not anyone's brain. The socialist dogma of “unless everyone has it, no one can have it” is about as meaningful as a chocolate tea pot. Raising the standards of state education to a level that means no one wants to pay for alternative education, would be a better slogan, too expensive but at least a laudable aim.
Decriminalising drugs, to allow them to be taxed and controlled, is stated as another policy. How many new bureaucrats are going to be needed to register and authorise every street level drug pusher? Will the Columbian drug cartels file tax returns in Britain? This is all sound bite and no substance. Decriminalising sex industry workers and unionising the workers may have some merit but getting clear definitions of what is acceptable, and how to safeguard children and those less mentally able, will be very fraught negotiations.
A policy of zero carbon emissions by 2030 and increasing investment in renewables is suggested. This is a “grab the votes of the young” move with very little consideration of how they are going to do it, and even less reality in considering the overall wider effect. I wonder how many socialist policy makers in Britain, are experienced scientists or engineers. How much do they know about actual real things, such as carbon capturing, hydrogen fuel cells, the progress towards cold fusion power etc.? Making head line statement with no knowledge to back it up, is giving, who ever they listen to, control over the lives of ALL the nations people, for many generation to come. A very dangerous practice. Accepting one opinion with out reservation or even any critical appraisal, is a recipe for disaster. When done by a political party, who have intentions to govern a nation; it is potentially harmful to millions of people for over a 100 years.