Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters love to think that he’s out to bring real change for Britain, for the betterment of the working class. These people are obviously unfamiliar with British political history, as Jeremy Corbyn’s hard-left socialism, or at least aspects of it, have been tried before. We tried big government socialism after World War II, and we called it the “post-war consensus”. The idea was that all British governments after the war agreed on the idea that they were responsible for maintaining the welfare state through state intervention in the economy.
Between 1945 and 1979, post-war governments implemented a regime of high taxes, high spending, and an all-encompassing program of nationalisation, in which everything you can imagine was brought into government ownership. Both Labour and the Conservatives made the same contributions to the creation of the post-war socialist dream, in which the state was supposed to manage everything, and everyone would live in state housing, drive state cars, and work in state industries, and your children would be educated by the state. The state, in theory, would also look after its loyal subjects. That was the idea behind the NHS, one of the last decaying relics of the post-war consensus still around to this day.
The post-war consensus literally was socialism in practice. The problem, of course, was that they never changed direction even as the economic situation deteriorated. During the 1970’s economic growth had become so lethargic that the government’s tax and spend policies had become unsustainable. Adding to the problems facing Britain in the 1970’s was Corbyn’s beloved trade unions constantly agitating the government whenever it introduced policies that threatened their economic bottom line.
In the early 70’s, when Edward Heath was in power, Britain was suffering from high inflation (put simply, everything became more expensive because our currency lost value), and the government attempted to solve this by imposing a public sector pay cap. However the miner’s unions objected, and thus persuaded miners to do no more than the basic requirement of their jobs, causing fuel supplies to drop. The government responded by imposing a 3-day work week for anyone who used electricity, who were only allowed to use electricity for three consecutive days. So yes, if you’re wondering how there was a point in time where you had days without electricity, it was unions’ fault. Keep in mind that much of Corbyn’s manifesto consists of demands from unions, who were instrumental in getting him elected as leader of the Labour Party.
Later on, Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan introduced a policy called “The Social Contract”, in which government ministers and union leaders would meet and discuss policy with each other, and eventually decide on the best course of action. Of course, this gave union leaders more power and influence, and they now felt that they practically ran the country, and set about enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else.
After the Labour government decided to cut government spending, which was necessary as by the mid-1970’s even the left-wing Callaghan himself admitted that they could no longer spend money they didn’t have, the Transport and General Worker’s Union abandoned the social contract, and after the government tried to limit pay increases to 5%, Ford workers from the TGWU went on strike. Ford capitulated, and eventually gave them a 17% pay increase. After that, the unions quickly realised that they could easily make money by calling random strikes for “better pay”, which caused the Winter of Discontent. As a result, we had trash piling up on the streets during the coldest winter in 16 years.
Because of the Labour government’s incompetence, the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher easily won the 1979 election, and once swept into power, Thatcher quickly went to work bringing about the end of the post-war consensus. This meant rolling back the welfare state, privatising failing industries that were previously nationalised, and weakening the power of trade unions, and it worked. Within the next decade the economy bounced back from the brink, and because Thatcher’s ideas worked, the post-war socialist lost the argument, and thus their precious dream of state-owned Britain was dead, kept alive only by the machinations of the European Union.
So when people say that Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies would take us back to the 1970’s, that’s because his socialist ideas, or rather some of them, had already been tried before, with disastrous consequences. If we elect Corbyn, he will most likely take us back to the days of Old Labour, and leave office after we’ve accumulated more debt than we could possibly imagine. Given what we know of his economic policies, I find it baffling that there’s still a third of the population that actually wants to vote Labour on Thursday’s election, also keeping in mind that if we vote Labour, not only will we get Corbyn and his functionally retarded economic policies, but we’ll also elect his cabinet of assorted Marxists and socialists, all of whom are demonstrably incompetent ideologues.
I think over the past few days I’ve made my case, and I this will be the last time before the election in which I write about Labour. Even though I might not vote for the Tories, I still hope that the Tories can still win in a landslide, or at least attain a large enough majority that Labour ends up with less than 200 MP’s, triggering a leadership contest within the Labour Party in which Corbyn is either kicked out of the party, or stays on, forcing the moderates who can’t stand Corbyn to split off and form their own party. It would be the death of Labour, and given what they’ve done in the past, I’d be glad to see them go.