Tim Evans on the 2016 Budget

Tim Evan’s recent talk at the Two Chairmen was delivered in three sections: the strategy of the new Corbyn axis in left-wing politics, the budget and the EU “Brexit” referendum. This article summarises the section on the budget.

This country is now in debt to nearly £1.6 trillion. The deficit is approximately £70 billion. In 365 days that is £192 million per day of new debt.

The fact that Corbyn is leading the Labour to the left means that expert triangulators Osborne and Cameron will try to appeal to voters as diverse as classical liberals and social democrats.

Osborne’s view is that Britain has onerous debt levels and reducing the deficit is a huge struggle. His department are playing for time.

Osborne is seeking to rebalance and broaden trading relationships, for example, angering the US to do deals with China and entering into projects with Germany to trade Chinese bonds. He also wants to retain relationships with Europe and ramp up trading with India.

His target is 36.5% of GDP – lower than Thatcher – without looking like a right winger.

His advantages are that the UK is a strong  reputable state with good rule of law and a highly skilled workforce (an example of Tim being very much in the mind of No 10!). They are also good at triangulation. For example he was not accused of being especially right wing when he made the Lib Dem coalition ministers supervise the sale of Royal Mail. He also keeps right wingers like us whining.

Corbyn’s Mission

Tim Evans, professor at Middlesex University came to deliver a talk for us at the Two Chairmen in Westminster. He tried to be as scholarly as possible. Cutting through the ideological debate and dealing solely with what the actors are thinking, not his own thoughts. He delivered his talk, below, in three sections. The summary here deals with the first section: on Corbyn.

Corbyn is an interesting character who is bound to be attracting the attention of the establishment especially generals and the secret service. Tim detailed Corbyn’s very left-wing upbringing to a middle-class couple who met at Conway Hall. He described Corbyn as an academic under-achiever who rose up through the trade union movement and local councils. He has an almost comically left-wing record of endorsing unsavoury left wing figures in public via Early Day Motions, however he has avoided becoming a member of the extreme or Stalinist left, unlike his friends and romantic partners from the Militant tendency. He is neither a Christian nor libertarian left winger but a “democratic socialist”. The distinction is at least as important as the difference between anarcho-capitalists and objectivists, for example, that is: the distinction is quite profound. For example Corbyn is more likely to be interested in worker councils than top down nationalisation.

One of the new Labour leadership team’s early pronouncements was to offer “the right to own” as distinct from the “right to buy” your home. The conservatives did not respond strongly to this odd message and this reminds Tim of how the Tories were unable to understand where Tony Blair was coming from during his early career as leader. He suggests the Tories must make an effort to understand where Corbyn is coming from if they want to deal with him effectively. Corbyn is predisposed to countries like Venezuela. Democratic Socialism is very different from Parliamentary Socialism such as that advocated by the Fabians (our former neighbors). Instead democratic socialists such as Corbyn “somehow” elevate institutions of worker councils, mutuals, and party democracy above the institution of Parliament.

Historically Labour has ended up “managing capitalism” for over 100 years i.e. “State Capitalism”. Corbyn’s associates therefore want to do something quite different. They are engaged in analysing the current capitalist power structures, central banks and the role of money. Tim suggests there is considerable overlap here with Libertarian Home audiences and other groups like Positive Money.

Tim also suggests the New Economics Foundation as a group to look at to understand the intellectual background of the Corbyn and Momentum axis (Momentum is a campaign group allied to Corbyn).

This group is sick of “triangulation” at least in so far as it is done to them. New Labour, which was partly constructed by the British American Project and known as the CIA Left, out manoeuvred, marginalised and out-triangulated. Therefore Corbyn and McDonnell will want out-triangulate everyone else. For example, citing the idea that helicopter money was suggested by Milton Friedman. However, it’s unlikely Corbyn truly believes he will be Prime Minister.


© Global Justice Now

 Rather he is developing institutions and a base for more left-wing ideas and moving the Overton Window leftwards in the way that Barry Goldwater moved the Overton window for Reagan.

Tim also believes that Corbyn’s team is not really working to win the next election but is building that base of institutions and activists and is developing the Overton Window in preparation for a longer term plan into the mid 20s. They are not likely to win the 2020 election but will see constitutional changes aimed at reinforcing Corbyn’s movement.

The Momentum campaign will be at the centre of this movement building effort drawing in the likes of Paul Mason and Yanis Varoufakis. While this is going on the Conservative Party must prepare the stay in power until after this new wave of left wing thinking has broken perhaps 30 years from now.
LATER: from Tim:

THE key book on New Labour, BAP and their role in the maintenance of the UK/US special relationship:

I hope this helps.

How Corbyn is Winning

Shlomo Maistre at Samizdata:

What we are witnessing in the United Kingdom’s Labour Party is one of the main ways in which the Overton Window is shifted leftwards, as it has been doing for centuries in the Western world.

According to Overton’s description, his window includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being considered too extreme to gain or keep public office.

Jeremy Corbyn is probably unelectable in today’s United Kingdom, but by controlling a major political party the Corbyn gang are presenting dissenting Labourites with a simple offer they can rarely refuse: get with the (leftwing) program (or face the consequences, which can vary). Ultimately those who do not accept said offer will almost certainly be eventually rendered irrelevant to the Labour Party.

Many (probably most) of President Obama’s policies would be considered politically unacceptable by the climate of public opinion that prevailed in the United States circa 1980, for instance.

Like the leftists who have preceded him, Corbyn will lose the battle but win the war. Time degrades all things, after all.

This is what democracy looks like: the Left is shifted left by leaders and the Right’s politicians compete to acquire the support of those the Left abandoned in the center.

Rinse. Repeat.


See also Libertarian Alliance Tactical Note 17:

extremism really does shift the middle ground. In the main pamphlet above, I was unable to give examples from my own experience. Since yesterday morning, I can. Someone from a shooting club called in, and said: “I want to take a middle view between the speakers.” He then argued against any change in the gun laws. Without me there, he could never have got away with that. He would have been denounced as a potential Thomas Hamilton, trying to save his penis extension.

I think that perhaps extreme views like those articulated by Sean Gabb are one thing, but there is also a role for slightly-less-extreme views in paving the road in that direction. Either way, libertarians are the group most qualified to move the window back in the other direction. We cannot trust conservatives to do it for us.