Jeremy Corbyn: My Part In His Ascent

Or: The Robin Hood Tax And Unintended Consequences

First, disclosure: I am rather right wing, from the school of “take some of my income in taxes but otherwise leave me alone, please.” And as a general rule I believe that the Conservatives are the best party to run the country.

Second, confession: I was one of the “Tories for Corbyn.” During the first post-Miliband election for Labour leader I paid my £3 and voted for Corbyn. This was a cunning plan devised by Toby Young (of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People). The intention was to give Labour a leader so bad that they’d be out of power for a decade. Our motivation was a decent one, in the interests of the country and the British people.

“How did that turn out then, Paul, Toby? Eh, Eh?”

Not as intended, indeed.

But it gets worse.

Confession continued: It is no secret that I have been an advocate of a Financial Transactions Tax, a.k.a. Robin Hood Tax. Nothing wrong with that, I still am. However I promoted this tax as part of my “back story” when I did the Channel 4 Dispatches undercover TV programme in 2015. For example, it was the major part of the discussion when I met, and secretly filmed, Labour MP Chris Leslie, then Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He wrote in an email to “me” (actually emailed to a dummy account read by Channel 4) “Many thanks for this Paul… I think you make some good points about the best way to introduce an FTT… I’ll have a good think about some of these good points ahead of our manifesto.” Two years later this Robin Hood Tax did make its way into the Labour manifesto. The manifesto that people liked so much we almost got a Labour government.

“Great work, Paul!”

Boy, oh boy, were these consequences unintended.

And I’m now getting invitations to Labour party events to promote the FTT.

The only reason I’m writing this is to say that Labour have got it wrong. The size of the tax they are suggesting is 20-100 times what it should be. It is clearly punitive. Marxists punishing capitalists…who’d have thought it?

Now, back to reading Das Kapital. Best be prepared.

Repeat after me:

“The greater the productiveness of labour, the less is the labour time required for the production of an article, the less is the amount of labour crystallised in that article, and the less is its value; and vice versa, the less the productiveness of labour, the greater is the labour time required for the production of an article, and the greater is its value.”

You’re going to be tested on this.

Now where did I put my Little Red Book?