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July 23, 2015


Mark Braund

If I were a Corbyn supporter, I'd point out that not only did Botham and Dilley (with a little help from Bob Willis) win that test match, but England went on to win the Ashes. Of course what Labour really needs is a Mike Brearley.


"What strikes me about Corbyn is just how uninspiring his economic programme is"

To be fair, he's not going to be Shadow Chancellor is he? Thatcher and Blair didn't have much interest in economics but had Howe and Brown to sort that side of things out. And Osborne's more powerful than Cameron at the moment.

In that regards, wouldn't a Corbyn-Cooper double act be just the ticket?


Funny, it feels like this post could have come straight from the bubble you complain about so much.


Sorry Chris, but I reject the premise of the paper which you have asterixed where it asserts that corporation tax is incident on natural persons and not the company itself. Such a view seems to reject the legal reality and privileges given to companies.

Companies are legally separate entities from their owners and managers. They are protected by human rights legislation as if they were natural persons. That's just one reason for corporation tax, IMHO.

The issue of corporation tax incidence is a complete red herring. All business taxes are ultimately incident on their paying customers via higher prices. So why single out corporation tax for analysis? This selectivity seems to me to be special pleading by interested parties. If corp tax is a bad thing then so is all business tax. Bingo! Let's abolish all business taxes! Triple brandies all round. Job's a good 'un.

If corporation tax is so harmful to business then would not owners unincorporate and trade through unincorporated vehicles? They don't seem to do this much. Why not? Because of the benefits of incorporation.

Moreover, if corporation tax really is incident on workers (as many anti-tax campaigners say), then we would expect the wages of company employees to be lower than their peers working for unincorporated firms. Again, I doubt there is evidence of this.

Finally, the owners of a company get favourable income tax treatment on their dividends compared to other business owners. This is in part because the legislature recognises that corporation tax is borne by shareholders, not workers.

And in any case, taxation usually benefits workers because of its re-distributive effects. This point is rarely mentioned in those ever-so clever papers that seek to show that corporation tax is a bad thing and should be abolished.


It's the first time I've heard Corbyn criticised for *not* talking about the "transition to post-capitalism". To believe the Speccie and the Telegraph he talks about little else!


Ticky W
"If corporation tax is so harmful to business then would not owners unincorporate and trade through unincorporated vehicles? "

1. Probably because they're not that keen on unlimited personal liability down to their last cuff links. Many Lloyd's names (insurer, not bank) were wiped out. All the big professional service firms switched to limited companies/LLPs as soon as the law allowed it. LLPs are, I think, tax neutral as compared to traditional unincorporated partnerships.

2. Apart from professional service firms, you can't, in England and Wales at least, have partnerships with more than 20 partners. So it's pretty difficult for companies with lots of shareholders to turn themselves into unincorporated bodies (ie partnerships).

I don't know about the tax incidence stuff.


Corbyn leading the Labour Party could well win in 2020 simply by coming out strongly in favour of EU exit. This would open up a lot of policy areas for him (even Miliband's more modestly left wing ambitions were going to be very difficult to deliver as a matter of EU law). He'd also have a simple message to deliver for the EU referendum where he could defeat Cameron without the need for much scrutiny of his economic policy details. I doubt that Cameron would survive a defeat in the EU referendum and it would then be possible that an alternative Tory government would not command a majority so an early General Election would be a possibility.



We always knew what Labour thought of the Left, but at least it is finally on record. The Left are "morons" who "throw tantrums" and are in need of a "heart transplant".

Why would anyone on the Left want to have anything to do with with a political party like this?

There is an element of truth, however, in all this. It is "moronic" for someone on the Left to campaign for a party that has nothing but contempt for you. Not only do you need a "heart transplant", a brain transplant is also necessary to campaign and fund a party that despises what you stand for. Those on the Left who are asking a reactionary rightwing political party to implement leftwing policies are indeed like children who "throw tantrums" when they're confronted with the sobering reality that they are considered pond life.

Why the Left doesn't start a genuinely social democratic party is baffling. After decades of evidence to the contrary, the Left still puts its trust in the reactionary Labour right in the vain hope that they're different to the Tories.

Steven Clarke

If politics was a one-shot game, I'd have more sympathy for your cricket analogy. But it's not.

Getting back in power could well take another two Parliaments. Labour needs to establish a credible direction of travel, and keep to it. I don't think they can veer one way this Parliament, then change in the next. There's a certain path-dependency in politics.

More importantly, I think the Tories have written off Labour, and are pushing a more radical agenda than they would if they feared them winning in 2020.



Point taken about size limit on partnerships. But is not the absence of a size limit on companies a benefit/privilege of incorporation, and hence a justification for corporation tax?


Sure. As I say, I am pretty uneducated about tax incidence. (I think I may once have mansplained it to you on this blog -sorry). My point was purely about the practical and legal point of view. Take it from me, being a partner in a business with unlimited personal liability is nerve racking - I never thought about tax.


Perhaps this explains it...


"Now in our age of austerity the Labour Left is proposing something very different. A small modicum of human decency towards the unemployed, those in poverty, and disabled people. The Labour Left’s centre of gravity has shifted from proposing an entirely new economic system, via the AES or otherwise, to an actually very, very moderate proposal"

So raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy and reduce tax avoidance/evasion, to fund extra public/welfare spending...

Who can object to (or fail to understand) that? And it is way ahead of the other candidates who offer nothing.

Redistribution from the rich to the poor will increase the velocity of money.

The rich invest in assets, the poor spend money...


"Corbyn is the only candidate offering a bang"

Well, he was sat in Portcullis House with McGuinness and Adams just the other day, people who know all about bangs.



It's fascinating to me how the Smith Institute releases a report and many commentators use it to bash the left, but few of them seem to have read beyond the executive summary.

Points of interest:

1) Looking at historical vote swings, there's a clear pattern. It's rare for a party to turn things around in 1 cycle. As such, the staunching of the loss of Labour vote share is an interesting event, as small as it was.

2) When the report gets down to discussing the policy mix that would be needed to win, it becomes apparent that:

a) It's actually internally contradictory and thus very problematic. Labour may indeed be doomed. But, it's just as doomed with Kendall, Cooper or Burnham, as with Corbyn. This is because you can't win (for example) Margate and Glasgow with the same set of policies. In fact the policy stances needed would appear to be mutually exclusive. Yet the report suggests that Labour needs both.

Likewise, on the age issue. You can appeal to older voters, but you'll lose your younger ones. To out-bribe the Tories stuffing money into pensioner's pockets is again contradictory to winning the votes at the other end of the age scale.

b) More than anything this is a clash forming on 2 axes. One, much like the Republican party in the USA, the Tories are a strange coalition between hedge-fund donors and pensioner voters. Two, urban areas vs the rest.

To echo someone you linked to - if Kendall or Cooper or Burnham want to fight off the Corbyn menace, they need to up their game.

If they would take on one of these contradictions in detail, rather than the windy generalities, they might be more credible.

In the end of course, the report also falls back on windy generalities about "economic credibility, patriotism, etc." Which is why the commentators and the candidates are still failing...


The idea of Jeremy winning the next general election by leaving the EU is delightful. In one go Labour defeat Tories by stealing UKIP and Tory votes and splitting the Tory party. After all cameron wants a referendum so he can appease the bastards without actually leaving, while Corbyn wants to leave. Bill cash can help him bring socialism to Britain!

Off course if he appoints his brother Piers as sec. of state for climate and energy, that will be the end of green energy and we will have to build lots of new coal power plants to fill the air with co2. Since he is of the view sun spots control the weather. So no wind farms and lots of new miners to recreate the NUM. A winning radical set of policies. Uniting the old left and tory voters to create a new majority. Only the out of touch metro elite like Cameron and the shadow cabinet would be upset. Considering what has been done to Greece leaving is getting more left wing and attractive daily. Only the metro elite and New Labour sellouts feel sorry for rich creditors. Rather in the same way as PFI inflates the cost of the public services. National independence and financial freedom with Corbyn. Money spent on patients not accountants. Gets better and better.

Not to be too silly, I do think the other Candidates are dismal. Corbyn may be wrong or outdated if you like, but all the rest are Blair lite. They have the same theory but are not as good at embodying it. I have a difficult time believing any of them would win an election.

I also wonder how much of Blairs' success was an accident of history which cannot be repeated. The macro economy was very favorable for him in his period as Leader of the opposition and indeed his time in office as PM and he could move the Labour party right while keeping a lot of its old vote.Even so the Labour vote fell steadily as disillusion set in with the turnout going down. Attempts to copy Blair by Brown and Miliband failed. All the other candidates and those who withdrew were all ok with the failures since Blair retired so they cannot claim to be brilliant at strategy.

Neither Atlee or Wilson came to power by trying to ape the Tory party but by creating a new vision for the country, or at least selling a vision created by themselves and their allies and independent thinkers.
They bypassed the other party rather than copied it.

If a candidate for leader can do this they would win.

None of the candidates look like they have a clue about repeating the achievements of Atlee or Harold wilson. ideas just seem to be redundant in party politics. We get a pattern of recycling tricks that are familiar to political nerds but which are not a strategy.

Dave Timoney

One of the paradoxes of the Labour leadership campaign is that the right are insisting on delegation ("we must accurately reflect the views of the voters", albeit mediated by the Tory press and centrist think-tanks) as opposed to trusteeship (the Burkean model). I think the institutional dimension of the struggle is under-appreciated.

Like the SDP before them, the Blairites want to appeal over the heads of party members directly to the electorate, thereby presenting the party as a dead form that must be sloughed off if the "new" is to emerge. The popularity of Corbyn is less about his mild and antique policies, or even resentment of the "bubble", and more that he treats the party with respect. If John Prescott had still been Deputy Leader, does anyone think he would have made Harman's mistake?


Wilson might have been good at winning elections but his record in government was woeful so he's hardly somebody for any future labour party to want to emulate.

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