Jeremy Corbyn and his acolytes - who now seemingly count Andy Burnham amongst their number - would do well to heed the plea of Rod Tidwell in the film Jerry Maguire. It’s always tempting to counter any proposed policies rising from the Far Left with the ubiquitous Thatcherism regarding Socialists and other people’s money, but in this instance the dated 90’s film reference is better suited. For those unfamiliar with Tom Cruise’s back catalog, the gist is as follows: Maguire (Cruise) is imploring his oft-ignored client Tidwell to remain with him as he forges his own path as a self-employed sports agent. As Maguire bargains, pleads, and begs, Tidwell has but one response: “Show. Me. The. Money.” And that’s what it all comes down to, be it sports, business or politics. The money. Show someone the money and they’ll buy into you and whatever you’re selling.
That’s the issue that Corbyn and Burnham (now he has been dragged further Left) face. It’s all very well to play to the masses and promise them the world, but they have yet to show any indication of how they will pay for all of their fantastical pledges.
Abolish tuition fees? Show me the money.
Nationalise the railways? Show me the money.
Exponentially increase funding to welfare, the NHS, and other public services?
Show. Me. The. Money.
It is this lack of economic visibility that should scare off more rational Labour voters. The mathematics simply isn't there. Even an internal Labour analysis has estimated that ‘Corbynomics’ would cost the country £55 Billion. That’s Billion. With an imposing, bright red capital ‘B.’ He, under the spurious advice of Richard Murphy, has come up with a plan that one would expect from a starry-eyed sixth form socialist - not from a man retaining Prime Ministerial ambitions. It’s relatively simple to tear down any of his idealist policies - if you have any doubt, read former Blair adviser John McTernan’s brutal disembowelment of the proposal to nationalise the railways. The only feasible way to pay for Corbyn’s Socialist utopia would be a vicious tax hike, accompanied by a return to crippling national debt. In one fell swoop, all the economic progress of the last five years would be erased from the national ledger.
Of course, try explaining that to one of the myriad of Lefty politicos that are crawling out from under their 1983 rocks. The most irksome thing is that, in their hearts, the majority of them know that Corbyn’s policies are unimplementable. They just don't want to give up on the dream. Try to explain - and do so at risk of being fiercely rebuked as a condescending Tory - the fallacy behind the Corbyn vision to one of his rabid fans, and you’re likely to receive a response along these lines:
Unfortunately that is the attitude of far too many disaffected Lefties who purchase their Corbyn snake oil by the vat. Like spoilt children pestering a beleaguered parent, they want their delusory paradise NOW, with no care as to how it comes about, or any repercussions the nation would face. As for us grown-ups? Well, Jeremy, feel free to harp on about your Marxist Eden, but one small request: just show us the money.