Corbyn is mainstream

by on June 3, 2017 in society

In an ideological campaign driven by the interests of its owners the “free” (as in free-market) press in the UK is telling its readers that Labour under Corbyn represents some kind of radical fringe.

This is not remotely true. The motive for this distorted picture is to maintain the gains for private capital secured to private capital by Britain’s relentless privatisation programme carried out since the 1980s.

A few points (this article is a stub due to time constraints):

i) Corporation Tax. Corporation Tax in the UK is currently 19%. Corbyn wants to increase this to 26%. Radical? Well; it is a big increase. But still less than rates in Germany (up to 33%), France (33 – 36%) and Belgium (34%). [1]

ii) On nationalisation. Corbyn wants to nationalise rail, the Royal Mail and part of the energy industry – including state control of the National Grid. But, noticeably, not BT, the water companies, oil or gas. Radical? Not really.

In France the state owns: the postal service, some national media companies (e.g. Radio France), and the railways, amongst others. The state owns a large and controlling stake in the private national electricity generating company. [2]

In Germany the state owns the railways (through ownership of a private company). The state has significant but not controlling shares in a number of businesses including Deutsche Telekom and significant shares in the banking industry. In addition there is a significant amount of state ownership of smaller businesses at a regional level. [2]

In Belgium the state owns the railways, the postal service and has a considerable stake in the media. [2] In Denmark the state owns the largest oil and gas production company. [2]

In short; while privatisation has been a trend in recent times across Europe including in Britain’s main competitors, France and Germany, it is the case that it has not been taken to such an extreme as in Britain. Were Corbyn’s plans on nationalisation to be realised the UK would be more aligned with the model prevalent in other European countries. That is: direct state ownership in one or two key sectors (rail and the post) and some degree of ownership in others e.g. energy. So; nothing radical there.

This is the reality. Corbyn’s programme is in line with mainstream social democracy in Europe. Even the proposed increase in the top-rate of income tax has equivalents in some European countries – though it looks like it would be higher than the top rate in France (49%) [1] and Germany (47%) [1]. The message that this is a ‘radical’ programme is simply propaganda by capitalists to protect their interests. This also shows us all too well how the “free” press in the West acts in the interests of its owners – that is finance capital – in just the same way that state media companies (such as RT) acts in the interests of their owners.

Notes

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_in_Europe (sources unverified)

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-owned_enterprise (sources unverified)

 

Add to Favorites Print article