The Labour leader gets his facts wrong and employs hyperbole and social media just like the US President, writes Brian Monteith.
On Friday a YouGov poll gave Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party an eight point lead over Theresa May’s Conservative Party. I have intentionally stated the leaders’ names at the front of those respective labels for the fortunes of either political tribe have a great deal to do with the comparative performances of each personality.
It has now become a tedious cliché to point to Theresa May’s poor general election campaign and pick over the bones of what went wrong.
That the Labour leader could not defeat the worst Tory campaign in living memory has not stopped him claiming victory.
It has also not stopped Jeremy Corbyn or his shadow chancellor John McDonnell from honouring their pledges to resign if they lost.
Instead Corbyn is like Dianna Ross at the opening ceremony of the 1994 World Cup when she missed a staged penalty kick but carried on to celebrate as if she had burst the net and picked up a trophy.
Corbyn himself did not himself have a particularly great election campaign, performing poorly when questioned closely by interviewers, but he did have a campaign with strong and consistent messages that motivated voters, especially the young.
In our modern times there appears to be no more a divisive or hated figure than the US President Donald Trump, and he is especially reviled by the left.
It is therefore strange that when one looks at how Corbyn campaigns there is a great deal that resembles the approach of Donald Trump; both are apt to make sweeping generalisations, take exaggeration into hyperbolic overdrive and not be afraid of telling blatant lies.
By the time opponents have calmed down and thought what to say in response Trump and Corbyn have moved on to the next blitzkrieg of Tweets or statements.
It is straight out of Machiavelli’s playbook written in the sixteenth century but no less effective today.
Since the election Corbyn has become even more Trumpian; using social media extensively to build a mythology through misleading messaging that the Tories, so obviously distracted by achieving Brexit and the accompanying internal manoeuvring, have been slow to correct.
Indeed it is often Corbyn’s own shadow cabinet that are left with the job of explaining away his porkies, such as yesterday when the Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner admitted that Corbyn’s offer to write off student debt would cost £100bn that she does not know how to fund.
Corbyn had stated that students leave university with debts that are with them until they retire – a self evident falsehood and a gross misrepresentation of how student loans work, for all loans are written off after thirty years irrespective of the sums paid or the outstanding balance.
The repayment of loans is through a nine per cent levy on earnings over £21,000 – which means that a graduate earning £31,000 will pay an additional £900 tax per annum whether the loan was ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred thousand pounds.
A graduate earning £41,000 would pay £1,800, or £2,100 if earning £51,000.
The point is that graduates need to be earning well above average earnings of circa £25,000 to be likely to pay back their loan in full and once the thirty years cut-off is reached it does not matter how much remains due or what the interest rate had been.
The system is not strictly a loan at all but really a contribution towards the funding of living costs that carries an inbuilt incentive to encourage higher borrowing – as it may never be paid back over the thirty year period – and if it is, it is because the graduate has done exceptionally well.
Last week Corbyn said that fewer people from disadvantaged backgrounds are going to university but Rayner also had to admit that the reverse is true, the number of students from the poorest of backgrounds attending university has never been higher.
Other lies include blaming the Grenfell Tower tragedy on austerity politics when the cladding that appears to have been a root cause of the disaster cost over £9 million during the “austerity” years.
This compares with other towers that did not receive such spending for cladding and cannot burn like a torch in the same way.
Corbyn’s biggest lie has been “For the many not the few”.
At the polemical level it is outrageous for there has never been a British Labour government that has left office without increasing the level of unemployment it inherited.
That is hardly a record of providing a benefit for the many.
In the particular the abolition of the student loans system and ending tuition fees would be a highly regressive change in our tax practises that would be of benefit to the wealthiest by giving them financial benefits that would be paid for by the general taxes of the lowest paid.
With such exaggerated claims being made by Corbyn on an almost daily basis there is a crisis of confidence within the Conservative Party about how to respond – just as Republican presidential nominees and then Hilary Clinton could not figure how to respond to Trump.
I still hold to the view that Theresa May might yet rebuild her authority and trust if she is given time and support by her party. The appointment of Robbie Gibb as Director of Communications at Downing Street is exceedingly good news in that respect.
Despite being the Head of the BBC’s Westminster programming Gibb is of a free market libertarian bent and a Leaver to boot, all of which are insights that May’s patrician outlook badly needs.
Corbyn needs to be tackled on a philosophical and ideological level, every outrageous claim needs shot down in flames by hard facts and evidence – and he needs to be called out for being repeatedly wrong at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Be it queues for bread in Venezuela, or the dole office in the UK it is demonstrating the failure of socialism by fact after fact after fact that is needed to confront Corbyn.
Socialist failure needs to be contrasted with how open markets have raised living standards for the poorest in society, not just in the UK but around the world even though our planet’s population is growing by billions.
Only by shining the light of truth on Corbyn’s falsehoods can we have a genuine debate about what policies work for the many and not for the few that want to control our lives.
Brian Monteith is a Director of Global Britain.