Labour presents its election manifesto

With the title For the many, not the few, the British Labour Party promises in its election manifesto to bring about reforms it claims will benefit the masses. In addition to building council housing and raising corporation tax it foresees the nationalisation of large service providers and the railways. The media take differing views of the proposals.

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The Irish Times (IE) /

Resistance to austerity

With their emphatically left-wing manifesto Corbyn and the Labour Party have finally reinvigorated the public debate about austerity, the Irish Times comments jubilantly:

“For the past two decades, even as inequality grew to obscene levels, the notion that a government could tax the wealthy in order to fund public services had been all but banished from the public square. Similarly, the idea that we could take back into national ownership private companies delivering abysmal but essential public services, such as trains and utilities, was simply not discussed. ... Increasingly, though, it seems he could be the party's best hope for survival and renewal, precisely because he has articulated what opposition to austerity might look like.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

A wake-up call for the over-confident Tories

The recent spate of positive poll results for Labour will only spur on the Tories and their supporters, The Daily Telegraph hopes:

“For one, it helps guard against any complacency within the party ranks; for another, it will surely help galvanise any Tory supporters who thought they needn't bother voting because the result was already in the bag. For all the rows about individual issues, the fact remains that this election is about leadership: about which prime minister the electorate trusts to lead this country through one of the most important political periods in living memory. Theresa May has proved her capability time and again, and has set out a clear agenda for the Brexit negotiations. Jeremy Corbyn, by contrast, is a man not even trusted by many of his own MPs.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Socialist folly

The proposals in the Labour Party manifesto are the wrong approach to helping the masses, the Daily Telegraph objects:

“Not only would renationalisation of water, railways and energy be extortionately expensive; it would also produce worse services. How would that help the many, not the few? … The economic illiteracy and sheer incoherence of Labour's programme does not seem to matter to the party's strategists. … The title For the Many, Not the Few is the complete antithesis of what the party's hard Left really believes. For them, egalitarianism exercised through central state power is an ideological ambition to be forced on the many by the few true believers. Mr Corbyn described the manifesto as 'modern' but it is as old as Das Kapital itself.”

New Statesman (GB) /

More Keynes than Marx

Allegations that Labour wants to revive traditional radical-left ideas are exaggerated, the New Statesman concludes:

“Its proposals owe more to the post-war Keynesian consensus than they do to the Communist Manifesto. The document promises to renationalise the railways (as private franchises expire), the energy system, the water system and the Royal Mail - a clean break with Thatcherism. But in many European countries it remains the norm for such utilities to be in public hands. Unlike the socialists of the past, Labour is not proposing to nationalise the 'commanding heights' of the economy or the top 200 companies, still less abolish private property.”