Not literally, but their policies amount to the same.
Labour will raise taxes for the better off – despite the fact that every piece of research ever conducted on the subject shows that the way to increase revenue is to reduce taxes : because lower taxes increase incentives to work. Lower taxes mean that people have more of their own money to spend. So general prosperity is increased. This is so elementary that you would think even a Labour Chancellor could understand it.
I said of workers “their own money,” but there’s the rub. Socialists don’t believe that anyone’s money is his own. According to their collectivist dogma, money belongs to the state to distribute as it sees fit.
Now here’s a funny thing: at the height of the Victorian age in Britain, when capitalism was red in tooth and claw, the richest earned twenty times as much as the poorest. Now, after more than a century of social democracy and levelling down in the name of “equality,” the richest earn 200 times more than the poorest.
Of course, the government must find something on which to spend taxation revenue. Jeremy Corbyn says the increased revenue from higher taxes – but there won’t be any, Jeremy – will be spent on the NHS and state education.
This is what I meant when I said figuratively that Labour plans to chuck £billions in high denomination notes on the fire. For both the NHS and state education are economic basket cases, financial black holes, bottomless pits of futility. Because both these institutions have been failing – and the rate of their failure increasing – for decades.
Half our children leave school after eleven years of compulsory state education unable to read, write and count efficiently. It gets worse, and it is bound to get even worse, with every generation: because nowadays teachers are themselves “beneficiaries” of this useless system and so they know nothing and thus have nothing to impart to their pupils. That’s not quite true: they know a bit about Hitler and they have learned a corrupt version of the history of the slave trade which forgets that it was abolished by English toffs and the ban was policed by the Royal Navy. Teachers know all there is to know – which isn’t very much – about Mary Seacoal. And they can obsess about saving the planet by windmills and the destruction of forests in Central America to provide fuel for our power stations.
Otherwise, they are functionally illiterate and innumerate. If you want practical illustration of the educational standard of adults in Britain today, I recommend you watch the BBC’s daily quiz show Pointless (5.15pm BBC One.) Most contestants have encyclopaedic knowledge of the pop charts and the doings of celebs, but they know very little about history and geography and next to nothing about English literature and the classical musical tradition from Byrd to Benjamin Britten.
When the NHS was founded in 1945, it was run like a military operation: disciplined and hierarchical. Now it is a gargantuan shambles. As recently as 25 years ago, the NHS was controlled by 500 senior managers. Nowadays – and I am quoting the NHS’s own figure – there are 43,000 senior managers. When an organisation grows to be as large as this, it no longer exists for the benefit of those it was originally created to serve but for the hordes of highly paid, intensely unionised functionaries and bureaucrats who operate the system. The NHS is beyond repair. We need to rethink health care afresh.
The truth is that socialists are not interested in raising taxes for any good which might thereby accrue: they are interested in raising taxes because that is what socialists do. They use the tax system as a means to political and social control. When socialism is practised moderately, the result is inefficiency endemic. When it is practised thoroughly, we get the USSR, the gulag and genocide. Don’t take my word for it. Read Eric Hobsbawm: he got the Order of Merit for defending Stalin’s murder of 20 million of his own people in the interests of socialism.
Labour party manifestos are always the proof texts of the politics of envy.