“Old Macdonald had a farm, eeh-ei, eeh-ei, O: And on this farm he had some pigs…”
The old nursery song needs some rewriting:
“John McDonnell will wreck the farm: that’s what you should know. “ Let the farm represent British industry and commerce. The shadow chancellor’s industrial policy, set out in a speech to the TUC on 11th September, told us very clearly what we’re in for when Corbyn is in Number Ten and his commissars are running the country:
“Labour’s programme of workplace reform will restore the balance between employer and worker with a significant extension of trade union rights, modernising corporate governance structures and extending the opportunity for employees to share collectively in the benefits of ownership of their company.”
That Labour will win the next general election is a forgone conclusion, since the Tories are in complete disarray and “led” by the most incompetent prime minister ever. Theresa May’s serial unfitness and utter deviousness makes the treacherous Ted Heath look like a man to be trusted.
John McDonnell, like his leader Jeremy Corbyn, is a socialist ideologue of the most extreme sort, despite the fact that socialism has been intellectually discredited times without number. Socialism doesn’t work: where it is practised moderately, it leads to economic stagnation, queues, shortages, rationing and all the impediments to efficiency which a cumbersome bureaucracy brings; where it is practised thoroughly, it leads to general impoverishment, centralised control, state persecution, the gulag, mass starvation and finally genocidal purges.
Examples abound: the USSR, China, Cuba, North Korea and the eastern European states between 1945 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In passing, this is a good moment to correct statements issued daily by the BBC and the rest of the left wing press concerning what they call “parties of the far right.” As a regular example, they refer to Hitler and the Nazis as “the extreme right,” quite forgetting that the Nazis were the National Socialist Party which created an economic system in Germany between 1933 and 1945 similar to that operated by Stalin in the USSR. Moreover, Corbyn idolises Maduro’s Venezuela where people are eating out of dustbins and there are no medicines in the hospitals.
So what are we to say of those Labour leaders who, knowing that a particular doctrine is false, persist in believing it to be true? Fortunately, we have Catholic theology on hand to help us answer this question with its concepts of vincible and invincible ignorance. The first Pope to use these terms officially in modern times was Pius IX in Singulari Quadam of 9th December 1854. But the usage is far older than that and is found in St Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century in his Summa Theologica; and there is discussion of the concept as far back as the 3rd century. The subject is moral philosophy.
Invincible ignorance is blameless: for example, if you couldn’t have known that some event was about to happen which would have disastrous consequences – such as an earthquake – you are not to be blamed for failing to take evasive action. By contrast, vincible ignorance is not blameless. Take the hurricane threatening to batter the eastern seaboard of the USA for instance: residents have been warned about this for at least a week, so those who refuse to obey the instruction to leave the area deserve all they get.
There is a similar concept in the General Confession in The Book of Common Prayer where we ask forgiveness not only for doing “those things which we ought not to have done” but also for leaving undone “those things we ought to have done.”
Specifically then, we have had so many demonstrations of the fact the socialism doesn’t work that, if we yet persist in socialist policies, we are not merely stupid but culpable. We must not duck the fact that political decisions and policies involve morality. They are matters of right and wrong.
Thus, by persisting with policies they ought to know don’t work, Corbyn, McDonnell and their colleagues are moral failures: in a word, bad men.