Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Corbyn Bananas


Was watching Michael Moseley on iPlayer talking about genetic screening. Apparently you can get a kit that you spit into, send off and by return get a report on your chances of getting a certain disease. Hay reckons my test would come back to say I'm a banana.

Jeremy Corbyn has been in the news for some reason. Let's have a look at his policies:
  1. The Economy: An end to austerity through higher taxes for the rich. Well, the rich already pay more by virtue of a progressive tax system; however, I guess he means more tax bands beyond the 40% rate. There is the little problem that exorbitant taxation simply encourages tax evasion and tax avoidance. He does promise a further crackdown on tax evasion, but previous governments have already done that, with little result beyond the odd high-profile case - and it won't end austerity. Not for me I'm afraid, 
  2. Foreign Policy: Less intervention, which I can't disagree with - most of the problems with terrorism emanate from good intentions with poor follow-through. However, he advocates talking to everyone in the middle east to generate peace - people have been doing that for decades and there comes a point when Hamas' avowed intent to kill every Jew on the planet needs some alternative strategy. We're talking about religion here, and there's no debate with militant Islam (or any militant religion) and it's immune to rational argument. My jury is out and slightly jaded.
  3. The EU: Stay in. I'm not against staying in the EU - better to change it from within than try to do it from without. I'm on his side there, but a no to political union.
  4. Education: A return to LEA control. Can't disagree there - there's been too much playing around with education and trying to push through ideology that hasn't been tested. No-one can say Academies are a resounding success. On side again - also on ending public schools' charitable status (that's just a joke), as well as the charitable status of religions.
  5. Housing: Right to Buy at discount. I support this so long as it enables more social housing to be built from the proceeds on a 1 for 1 basis. However, it seems at odds with standard Labour policy. Got my vote again.
  6. Defence: Wind down the defence budget and exit NATO. Rank stupidity when we have a radical Muslim threat (partially caused by misguided foreign policy, admittedly) on EU borders and Putin is heading to make himself dictator of Russia for life. Unless, that is, Jeremy expects nations closer to the threats to bear the burden. A resounding no from me - it's far too ideological.
  7. Royal Family: Not a fight he's interested in, so no comment.
  8. Transport: Re-nationalise  the railways. Good idea - it's not as if the independent railways don't have problems with labour relations anyway. It's incomprehensible that I can fly to the continent and back for less than a 2nd class return fare to London. While he's at it, re-nationalise the telecomms companies, the post and the energy sectors - for too long they have only focused on the profitable parts of their businesses to the detriment of the countryside or whatever. At least the postie knows where I live, whereas the courier companies haven't a clue and only manage to deliver 50% of the time. Try to get broadband in the countryside and you'd think you were asking for manna from heaven. I have no problem whatsoever with key strategic industries, where the product is almost a human right, being in the hands of the government (to say it's in the hands of the people is a joke, as the people have no say whatsoever). However, take it beyond that into Clause IV and he's in USSR territory and loses by vote.
  9. Political Reform: 50% of shadow cabinet to be women. Again, too ideological and risks handicapping himself in the interests of tokenism. Women are no less daft than men.
  10. Health: Eliminate all elements of privatisation from the NHS. A contentious issue. More and more screening tests are becoming available, which add to the lifetime cost of looking after a person in the hope of allowing him or her live a bit longer. Many of these tests are outsourced, as the NHS simply doesn't have the equipment or experts available to run them. Ban all private medicine (i.e. nationalise all medicine) and we'd have the people, but not the money to pay them, or get the equipment, without continuous, massive tax increases that are an election no-no. My jury is out, yet slightly against - although that's at odds with my support of the nationalisation of key industries, and health is certainly a key industry. Perhaps I need a rethink on this.
He's by no means the rabid Marxist people portray him as - many of his policies are eminently sensible, but a handful are just too ideologically driven without evidence of them being beneficial. On the whole though, old left and nothing to get too upset about, unless you're consumed by the desire for power at all costs and want to appeal to the slightly left of Tory electorate. It certainly opens some clear blue water between the parties and provides a real choice between left and right.


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