In June, Lord Saatchi wrote a piece in The Telegraph saying ‘The Tories must find a moral message or die’. So it would seem. Never in my lifetime have the Conservatives appeared so lacking in moral superiority.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s 21st century Socialist policies are continuing to gain momentum. Before the 2017 General Election, a Corbyn government seemed wildly incomprehensible. But his outstandingly Left-wing manifesto is winning over hearts and minds, filling the moral vacuum left by the Conservatives.
Corbyn’s rise is quite remarkable. A rank outsider to the Labour leadership in 2015, in two years he has catapulted himself to become a PM in waiting. He has successfully navigated a leadership challenge and now is the undisputed leader of the Labour Party.
After the announcement of the General Election, YouGov put the Labour party at 24% in their voting intention poll, with the Conservatives on 48%. The last poll before the election gave Labour 38% and the Conservatives 42%. Given another month or so, Labour could have even won the General Election.
Corbyn’s rise has unquestionably been helped by the younger generations. The unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds was 10.8% in June, compared to the UK average of 4.3%. Furthermore, just 38% of those aged 25-34 own their own home, compared to 59% just over a decade ago. This could help to explain why in the 2017 General Election, 66% of 18-19 and 62% of 20-24-year olds voted Labour.
Another probable reason is that young people are less aware of the dangers of Socialism. In 2016, a YouGov poll showed that the over 60s were the only group in the UK to view Socialism unfavourably.
People are signing up to Labour in support. Labour membership, now at 570,000, has almost tripled in the past two years. The British political debate has polarised. This troubling marriage of a potential Socialist government and a polarised political landscape should be opposed by anyone who cares about our basic freedoms.
This is because polarised politics can lead to political and moral wrongdoing. In 2016, a Corbyn supporter threatened to kill Angela Eagle after she challenged Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour party, and her office was vandalised. Corbyn’s ‘kinder politics’ also included threatening MPs with deselection in the wake of the leadership challenge.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote the following in his great work ‘The Gulag Archipelago’: “Ideology – that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and other’s eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors.”
This warning must be taken seriously.
Corbyn’s plan to “lay the foundations of the new world that awaits us” is purely ideological. The party slogan, ‘For the many, not the few’ is a captivating call to arms. But it is also very sinister. Those who fall into Labour’s arbitrary understanding of ‘the few’ will find themselves with a Government actively working against them.
‘The few’, antagonised by a Corbyn government, would bear the brunt of a proposed £48.6bn per year tax rise. The IFS disputes Labour’s ability to raise this much tax revenue, even in the long-run. Who will be the next to become ‘the few’ after they cannot meet their initial spending promises?
Never mind the economic disincentives of such a large increase in taxation, it is the type of state coercion that would leave Hayek turning in his grave. It is simply two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner.
Yet polls suggest Labour policies are very popular. In May, YouGov found that 58% supported a rise in income tax for those earning £80,000 a year, 49% supported abolishing tuition fees and 46% supported the renationalisation of the national grid.
However, there is good news. Even at Labour’s peak of popularity in the days before the election, centrist voters said Theresa May (38%) would make a better Prime Minister than Corbyn (30%).
Whilst it would certainly be a step too far to compare Corbyn to 20th Century Socialist dictators, there is a worrying trend. He famously called Fidel Castro, a man who killed hundreds, if not thousands of his own people, a ‘champion of social justice’. His appearance on Iran’s state-funded Press TV, which OfCom banned in the UK for filming the torture of an Iranian journalist, was also bizarre.
Similarly, John McDonnell’s support of authoritarian Left-wing regimes is alarming. He was rightly criticised for waving Mao’s little red book in the House of Commons, and declaring himself a Marxist on the Marr show just a few days after giving a speech at the May Day rally earlier this year.
Corbyn’s ideology is unequivocal. “Taking back power for the many should be fun and exhilarating”, he ominously writes in The Guardian. Finally, in 2017 Corbyn hired veteran Communist Party member, Andrew Murray, to be his election campaign manager.
That being said, some of Corbyn’s aims are noble. A fair and free society, where everyone has equal opportunities for prosperity and increasing their wealth is ultimately our goal. But this is exactly what the Conservatives must start conveying – these ideals are not unique to Socialism.
The Conservatives’ path to moral victory should not be hard. The bar is not set high. By championing freedom, and the power of the market, the Conservatives can crush the Corbyn revolution. Corbyn’s Labour party represent the power of the State over the individual. They represent moral typecasting, judging people for what they are, and not who they are. If Corbyn were to become Prime Minister, we would be taking the first steps along a road that we do not want to go down.