Beware of the watermelons!

hi‘Imagine a world of efficient and welcoming public services, coordinated action on climate change, equality, workers’ rights, an economy that works for people and planet at a human scale, restorative justice, and real care for the future […] Imagine a political party that prioritises the protection of the land, the seas and their inhabitants.’

The slogan of the Green Party manifesto is “for the common good”, the typically presumptuous mantra of the collectivist. Above all others, the Greens are truly the party of utopianism; their manifesto is a vision of the kingdom on Earth. The party is an odd hybrid of a hard left socialist/60’s counter-culture political movement and a sort-of religious cult. This is a form of middle-class communism designed by a coalition of sad middle aged women, washed up commies and wet hippies.

When properly scrutinised the Green Party crumbles because their aspirations are built on a weak foundation of fantasy and blinkered dogma. Natalie Bennett is a weak performer, but she is caught out under pressure because her plan for Britain is not in the realms of reality economically or socially; it is just a risible leftist fantasy that has been discredited so many times its astonishing that the Greens are taken seriously at all.

Ludicrously, their populism and good intentioned extreme leftism coated in environmentalism is marketed as “fresh”, as if it offers something new that has not been tried before. Similar attempts to create this political paradise have failed all over the world, causing misery and poverty, not to mention tyranny.

There is nothing new on offer, just old school socialism and the high minded self righteousness of the ideologue.  The Greens believe in their own benevolence and want to expand the power of the state to dictate and impose their beliefs on the rest of us, while at the same time completely destroying the economy with their delusional policies.

The harshest criticism of the media is reserved for Ukip, the Green Party have escaped the ridicule they deserve because of the perceived virtue of being left-wing. It is deeply lamentable that a party that aspires to be influential in a coalition, has a greater membership than Ukip and the Lib Dems, and at its peak polled 11%, is not examined more closely and attacked more vehemently across the media spectrum on a sustained basis.

A party with a proclivity for announcing economically dubious policies without being able to offer details on how they would be funded should immediately set alarm bells ringing. The manifesto attempts to put its readers at ease, apparently everything is “fully costed”, there is even a section at the end of the document hilariously entitled “it does all add up”, just in case you still had doubts.

Let me examine that for a moment because it is abundantly clear that a Green Party government (*shudder*) would be the most haplessly profligate the country has ever known. Ending austerity is the standard cry of left wing populism, ignoring the reality of a £90 billion deficit and the relative modesty of the cuts in spending we have undergone in the previous five years. If you really want to end “austerity” then look no further, vote Green.

One of the few indisputable achievements of the Coalition has been to reduce spending by shrinking the size of the bloated public sector and simultaneously facilitating the creation of private sector jobs. This has, contrary to the warnings from the left, led to the creation of millions of jobs that have more than replaced those lost. No matter, the private sector is inherently immoral and the public sector automatically desirable and beneficial whatever the cost.

The Green Party would create “over one million good jobs that pay at least the living wage” (my bold). At least, because they would also whack up the minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020, so actually the plan is for the government to create a million job that pay £10 an hour. Fantastic, it’s just so easy this governing lark. In-fact, why not create two million and pay them £20 an hour? That solves the unemployment and low pay problem at a stroke!

The private sector will see its wage bill sky rocket. This must sound fantastic to students and air headed leftists, but will that encourage small businesses to hire more staff? You do not need to know much about business to understand how the young and unskilled would be shunned by employers who deem them not worth this new high minimum.

It’s classic false economy, protecting the already employed but hampering job creation and leaving those with no or few skills unemployed, how very progressive. Luckily the poor who have been priced out of work will be receiving more benefits under the Greens, so that’s that sorted.

Needless to say the Green Party will take some pretty drastic action on climate change, but no other party has a pledge quite as grandiose as their plan to “hold the increase in global temperature to below 2 degrees”. The environmental lobby will be happy with a Green government, but the poor certainly will not be.

Inflated energy bills caused by mad, reactionary “green” policies are already directly harming the poor; the Green Party want to take this to a whole new level. Since 2005 there has been a 50% increase in electricity prices, and heating a home in the UK has become 63% more expensive, all the while real wages have been in decline during the recession and the slow recovery. This is impoverishing to those who cannot afford to pay and leads the poor to consume less energy and suffer the consequences.

Green policies also restrict industry, hamper growth and disadvantage the UK against its international competitors, so the party pledge to “ban fracking, phase out coal power stations and say no to new nuclear” seems like a fast track to an exodus of industry and energy reliant business and the total depletion of the UK’s industrial base. Luckily they have this covered by the plan to “invest £85 billion to create a public programme of renewable electricity generation, flood defences and building insulation”, £45 billion of which is reserved for free loft insulation for us lucky citizens. Phew, for a minute there I was really worried.

The policies I have already discussed are eye wateringly expensive, so I think you are getting the gist. So I can brush past the plans for the massive expansion of the welfare state- including doubling child benefits and increasing the state pension to £180 a week – and investing £12 billion in the NHS while providing free universal care for the elderly and cancelling all private sector contracts; the nationalisation of the railways and the cutting of fares by 10%; cancelling all owed student debt and abolishing tuition fees. All in all, their economic plan would increase public expenditure by approximately £177 billion a year by 2020.

It does all add up” though remember, because they plan to raise £198 billion a year in taxes to pay for all this and be running a budget surplus after five years. Yep, cuckoo, cuckoo. La la la, la la la, la la la la la…

Now this is what you call a tax bomb shell: Corporation tax (the reduction in which has led to mass job creation) will be raised to 30% and bring in £12 billion. A new wealth tax “on the top 1%” of earners will bring in £25 billion. A levy on financial transactions dubbed the “Robin Hood tax” will boost the coffers to the tune of £20 billion. Abolishing capital gains tax allowance for another £3 billion. Duty on alcohol and tobacco will be increased by £1.4 billion annually and bring in £5.7 billion over the course of the parliament. A £16 billion green tariff on air travel will kill two birds with one stone, boosting income and the environment. The top rate of tax will be raised to 60% for an extra £2.3 billion of revenue. Most genius of all is the move to clamp down on tax avoidance for a whopping £30 billion a year. So there you have it, “it does all add up”, and you doubted them, you cynic you!

It is a suicide note for the economy, clearly. You do have to wonder whether the people who think this up, and those who believe in it, are mad, idiotic or just in the grip of a kind of political faith that defies rationality. Only being hopelessly captured by blind dogma explains this total lack of reason. It is typical of the utopianist to believe they can alter human nature and of the statist to believe they can force this change and impose their will.

Raising the top rate of tax to 50% did not bring in more revenue, in-fact it is likely to have had a net negative effect. This is because, humans being humans, they change the way they behave in response to circumstance, in this case punitive government policy.

So raise the top rate of tax and tax the assets of the rich, the most mobile section of the population, by 2% and watch the exodus. The exits will be pretty crowded though, as the investment banks rush out to avoid the “Robin Hood tax” and businesses the heavy corporation tax. The Green Party would certainly bring a vast boost to exports; Britain would be the biggest exporter of wealth, talent and jobs in the world.

It’s the left wing intellectuals, artists, film stars and comedians I feel for. Think of the strained excuses they’d have to dream up to explain why they’ve moved to the US or Monaco, or created a new company located in the Cayman Islands. Poor fools.

Natalie Bennett has a “brain fade” moment when she was utterly unable to explain how any of her ridiculous proposals would be funded. Caroline Lucas explained the Green Party position very well on her recent appearance on Any Questions? She said that anyone who was rich and not willing to pay the new taxes wasn’t someone they wanted in the country anyway, if they leave, then “good riddance”.

I’m sure they believe their economic policies are for the best. Nonetheless it is the stated position of the party for the “current dependence on economic growth to cease, and allow zero or negative growth to be feasible”. In other words, they actively seek a permanent economic depression for the good of the environment. There would be mass poverty, starvation and social unrest, but we’d meet out emissions targets. It defies belief.

The Green Party are clearly not going to win the election, so why the need to tear into them like this? Because even though there vote share has dropped, 5% is still just too much. Nor is it reasonable or understandable why they have had a relatively easy ride from the media.

They are not a credible political party, not even as a minor part of a coalition let alone as a government. Their policies range from the ruinous to the ludicrous, their so-called “long term aspirations” are often just plain barmy and their plan for the country is economically illiterate. This is an extremist political force with a manifesto that is patently absurd and worthy of aggressive ridicule, mockery and critical analysis until the day they collapse.

A harmless, good intentioned movement they are not. The Greens are actually malevolent and regressive as well as laughable.

Red meat for the 35%

Well, that was a drab affair. There was not much energy or excitement around the Labour conference and this year Miliband was not able to find the same spark as he had in previous speeches; those that led to a resurgence of spirit in the Labour ranks and surprised the public, the punditry and the party. They were rife with big ideas, big slogans and door step friendly sound bite policies that led to a post-conference poll bounce. I doubt that there will be any significant movement in the polls as a result of this conference. Ed Miliband has consistently surprised me with his ability to give great speeches, and right when he is under pressure too. Not that his policies or ideology attract me but I had to admit to being impressed when he managed to enrapture an audience without notes and capture the attention of the public. This time he fell short, it was not a good speech and it revealed just how narrow an election campaign Labour plans to run. Gone was the whole notion of “one nation” or any attempt to meet issues such as the economy and immigration head on. This was all about throwing enough scraps of red meat to their loyalists, activists and core tribal voters; they are now the party of the 35%.

Ed Balls speech the previous day was even worse. It was uninspiring and did not address any concerns over Labour’s management of the economy. Ed Balls swung from left-wing populism, designed to get the seals to clap, to token disclaimers about the reality of Britain’s financial situation. It seems that the Labour Party is willing to nod its head towards the vast deficit and national debt but is not brave enough to explain what it plans to do about it. Ed Balls announced the already leaked plans to raise the minimum wage, axe the “bedroom tax” and put the top rate of tax back to 50p. Clear answers to the issue of “difficult decisions” were absent, he said labour would maintain the child benefit restrictions, saving a meagre amount of money in the grand scale of things. Given that the state of Britain’s finances is nothing less than a national crisis, making hollow concessions about the need to make ‘difficult decisions’ while planning to put in place new punitive taxes that will bring in meagre amounts of money is a pathetic response. The Raising of the top rate is a counter-productive populist policy for the electoral base, it might excite the 35% but could lose the treasury revenue.

Ed Miliband’s speech was chock full of the kind of fool’s gold idealism and flatulent progressive language that so excites the left. He used the word “together” an absurd amount of times, to convey the image of Labour as the party of social solidarity. They are the party for the many, and their movement is a collective endeavour… the usual socialist hot air. All eye rolling bilge of course, especially from a party with an electoral strategy to limp over the no. 10 threshold with only the votes of their core supporters and a few lapsed Lib Dems. The speeches highlights involved bashing the rich and the Tories, linking them all together with predatory big business and oligarchs. He played to the electorate’s perception of the Tory Party as being representative of the privileged few, contrasting the Conservative ‘leadership that stands for the privileged few’ with Labour’s leadership that fights for you’. Such lines hit the target but were drowned out amidst the tiresome anecdotes in an overlong speech of vague aspirations that failed to make Ed Miliband seem any more prime ministerial.

The Labour Party are on the retreat because Ed Miliband no longer seeks to unite one nation, instead he plans to cobble together a majority by pandering to the party faithful. Left wing populism for the 35% target that ignores thorny issues like the welfare state, spending cuts, immigration and constitutional reform. We now know that the key policies of the campaign will be the plan to raise the minimum wage and invest in the NHS through the “Time to Care Fund”, true Labour populism. Although raising the minimum wage will inevitably lead to job losses and increased difficulty in the job market for the young and unskilled, no matter, it’s a great sound bite and the activists will have a spring in their step when they knock on doors. Investing in the NHS and pledging to hire more nurses, doctors and midwives by clamping down on the tax avoidance schemes used by evil corporations, taxing properties worth more than £2 million and raiding the tobacco companies is a great red meat policy for the party base. Still, it is essentially a foolish avoidance of NHS reform; this behemoth of a health service, creaking and overstretched, that teeters along the edge of insolvency will eventually need more than cash injections from the tax payer.

Labour are ducking the most serious issues and this failure is thankfully likely to keep them out of power. Ed Miliband “forgot” the part of his speech when he was meant to talk about the deficit; basically he bottled it and instead clung to his comfort blanket. For this folly he will be ravaged in the in the media and rightfully so. The economy is the number one issue and the public are wary of Labour’s record yet Miliband was silent and Balls unimpressive on the topic. The potential future Prime Minister forgot to talk about the economy! This is not someone to lend your vote to; there is no sign that the £75 billion in spending cuts that are needed are being contemplated with any seriousness. Maybe I’m wrong, perhaps they will get away with it, perhaps by rallying their loyalist troops and benefiting from their fixed electoral advantages Labour will manage to form a weak majority government. Then we all get to see the British François Hollande swing into action, with his dismal cabinet behind him, ready to implement his ten year plan to realign Britain to Milibandism. Ugh.