Have you seen one of Corbyn’s campaign events on the news?
It’s the usual kind of scene: big crowd, lots of fans, selfies being taken. The man himself takes the microphone and starts his familiar, disjointed rant about the rich. This week he’s had the added advantage of a campaign prop in the form of the Sunday Times Rich List, which has enabled the Labour leader to add some pantomime jeering to his stump speech.
“Greedy bankers, asset strippers and crooked financiers” are the villains of his story. This might be enough to raise a cheer from loyal Corbynistas but it only serves to highlight how unfit he is for office.
As far as Corbyn is concerned, there is no such thing as the deserving rich. The creation and acquisition of wealth is morally wrong, his logic goes. Indeed, he talks about “taking back our wealth” – as if the richest in society have simply plundered a common resource. The simplicity of his analysis is as uncomfortable as the hostility which lies behind it.
He allows no room for nuance, but if he did he would have to recognise reality – as outlined by the IFS this week – that fewer than 60 per cent of adults pay any income tax at all and that the top one per cent pay 27 per cent of the total. That’s up from 15 per cent in 1990. In other words, the public finances are propped up by a very narrow tax base, and Corbyn’s ideological rich-bashing would risk killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
The same is true of corporation tax – another of Corbyn’s magic money trees. In 2010 the rate was 28 per cent and it collected £43bn in revenue. It has since been cut to a more competitive 19 per cent and now yields a cool £50bn. Yet Corbyn wants to raise the rate as part of an assault on what he calls “big business corporations” but which in reality includes almost every employer, manufacturer and small business in the land.
In place of credible economic policies, Corbyn simply offers lazy, ideological attacks.
New York Times has Brexit tour covered
Are you struggling to get your head around Brexit? If the answer is “yes” then the New York Times has got you covered. For a mere $6,000 you could join its Brexit Means Brexit six-day journey to London.
You’ll be joined by experts from the paper for a walking tour of all the Brexit-related spots: Parliament, of course, but also the Supreme Court and the iconic buildings (old and new) in the City of London. “Will London remain a global center of finance, and continue to need all this work space?” asks the blurb. Perhaps your NYT tour guide can answer this question, but given their relentlessly negative coverage of Brexit issues, don’t hold out for much nuance.
“Will London Fall?” was the title of a controversial essay published by the paper recently, in which the author mistook a satirical sketch of a Macron rally by Patrick Kidd of The (London) Times for an actual news report – bemoaning his “hauteur” as evidence of the anti-European sentiment gripping the country. Let’s hope their pricey Brexit tour proves to be a little more astute.
The Ivy winds its way into the City
The City always does the summer very well. Rooftops come to life, tables appear on the pavements and lunch can last just a little longer. Hot on the heals of the fabulous Ned club opening (a Soho House project) another West End favourite is soon to appear in the City: The Ivy. Yes, on 7 June The Ivy City Garden will open its doors off Old Broad Street.
This follows the launch of the achingly cool Devonshire Club and confirms that the City is becoming a destination. The Ivy’s latest venture is throwing an opening party on 6 June – which happens to be my birthday. Cheers!
Farewell to Tom Welsh
News from City A.M. HQ: Our superb business features editor, Tom Welsh, is off to the Daily Telegraph. If you’ve enjoyed the Forum pages or Money magazine over the last five years, you have Tom to thank. His intelligence, curiosity, free-market instincts and sense of mischief has ensured that our comment pages are hugely popular and widely respected.
The Telegraph has several former City A.M. reporters on its team, so I’ve no doubt Tom will settle in. He’ll be missed here – and his successor, Rachel Cunliffe, has big shoes to fill.