Lu­nacy, yes, but vot­ers could still be tempted

Daily Mail - - News -

SANTA Claus Jeremy Cor­byn had some­thing for ev­ery­one in his con­fer­ence speech. To the young and their par­ents, he promised more cash for schools and at least 30 hours’ free childcare a week for the un­der­fives – all cour­tesy of a gen­er­ous state.

To com­muters and those strug­gling with rip-off util­ity bills, he of­fered ‘rad­i­cal new forms of own­er­ship’ (by which he meant the ex­pen­sive, in­ef­fi­cient old ways of na­tion­al­i­sa­tion).

To work­ers in large com­pa­nies, free shares pay­ing up to £500 a year in div­i­dends have been pledged. There would also be more state cash for a mas­sive home-build­ing pro­gramme and an ex­tra 10,000 po­lice – and yet more for green en­ergy ini­tia­tives.

He had good­ies galore for the el­derly, too (or ‘you, the older gen­er­a­tion’, as he said, ap­par­ently for­get­ting that at 69, he is no spring chicken him­self). Not only would he pre­serve the triple lock on pen­sions, win­ter fuel al­lowance and free bus passes, but he would de­vote ex­tra state fund­ing to the NHS and so­cial care.

As for where all this money is to come from, in a coun­try al­most £2tril­lion in debt, he was less spe­cific. In­deed, he men­tioned only a levy on sec­ond homes. But his mes­sage was clear: the ‘rich’ alone will pay, while ev­ery­one else will be quids in.

It’s sheer fan­tasy, of course. As any re­al­ist can see, his pro­gramme of Marx­ist eco­nom­ics, class war­fare and un­fet­tered union power is a recipe for mass unem­ploy­ment and na­tional ruin.

Yet the dis­turb­ing truth is that his speech will have struck a chord with many vot­ers. Yes, unem­ploy­ment is at a record low – an achieve­ment min­is­ters trum­pet far too sel­dom. Mean­while, con­trary to Labour’s claims, the gap be­tween rich and poor has shrunk re­lent­lessly un­der the Tories.

But mil­lions are frus­trated by failings in the pub­lic ser­vices, the short­age of af­ford­able homes and the way bosses of banks, pri­vate util­ity firms and train op­er­a­tors ruth­lessly ex­ploit cus­tomers while greed­ily lin­ing their own pock­ets.

It is sim­ply not enough for Tories to point out the truth that Mr Cor­byn’s poli­cies are dis­as­trous, or that he’s sur­rounded by anti-Semites and sym­pa­this­ers with anti-West­ern ter­ror­ists.

Nor will it help them, while they fight their own civil war, to ar­gue that the Labour leader is ut­terly clue­less about Brexit (in one breath yes­ter­day, he said he would re­spect the ref­er­en­dum re­sult, while sug­gest­ing in the next that he might keep Bri­tain in the EU!).

No, at their con­fer­ence next week, the Tories need to set out their own so­lu­tions to the griev­ances Mr Cor­byn has iden­ti­fied. Above all, they must find pos­i­tive lan­guage to con­vince the coun­try that un­der them, the fu­ture for all will be bright.

Af­ter this week’s dis­play of far-Left lu­nacy in Liver­pool, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

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