In a conference video call with 125 MPs, Prime Minister Corbyn yesterday outlined his plans for handling the post-pandemic pandemonium.
What? It isn’t Corbyn but Johnson who is our PM? Could have fooled me.
Looking at Boris Johnson’s pronouncements, one struggles to discern anything that Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t have said. For every measure mooted by Mr Johnson is as socialist as it’s possible to get this side of concentration camps.
The MPs reported that, according to Johnson, “There was no question of moving to austerity and he would double down on capital projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail.”
The second promise, that of doubling down, was worded in blackjack terms. This would suggest that Mr Johnson sees socialism run riot as a gamble worth taking, whereas in fact it’s suicidal recklessness, like doubling down on a pair of twos.
Giant construction projects financed by the Exchequer are a short-term measure whose long-term effects are invariably ruined public finances, an increase in the number of people dependent on the government and a growing power of the state.
Such measures are called socialist, and in the last century they were put into effect, albeit for different reasons, by every known type of socialists: democratic (Roosevelt), national (Hitler) and international (Stalin).
Then, anyone who describes post-Blair economic policies as austerity is either dishonest or stupid, and Mr Johnson isn’t stupid.
When a state practises economic austerity properly defined, it shows a budget surplus and a reduced sovereign debt. Stretching the term as far as it can go, perhaps austerity could at a pinch mean merely a balanced budget.
None of those conditions was met during so-called austerity. The term is misused to mean the deficit and the debt growing at a slightly slower rate than before.
To scale this model down, when a family used to spend 20 per cent more than it earned and is now spending only 10 per cent more, it’s not practising austerity. It’s still being irresponsibly profligate, but slightly less so.
No Tory who uses the term the way Mr Johnson used it is really a Tory. This he joyously acknowledged with his usual bonhomie.
According to the MPs, he repeatedly said that “unlike any other Conservative government we have had, we are going to make sure we level up across the country and keep faith with the people who voted for us.”
Not being like any other Conservative government in history means not being a Conservative government at all, and Mr Johnson must be complimented for being upfront about it. His frankly expressed commitment to socialist levelling should further enhance his burgeoning reputation for honesty.
However, he then undoes his good work by claiming that going all-out socialist is a way of keeping faith “with the people who voted for us”.
The people had the option of voting for a socialist government – and rejected it. I’m not convinced they had a clear view of what the Conservative alternative would entail, but they certainly believed it was indeed an alternative.
The word, as the classically educated Mr Johnson doubtless knows, derives from the Latin alter, meaning other. Hence the people voted for something other than socialism, and imposing it on them anyway means betraying, rather than keeping, their faith.
Mr Johnson then flaunted both his vocabulary and his vacuity by complimenting “the marmoreal Mount Rushmore common sense of the British people”. First, Mount Rushmore is American, not British. Second, it’s granite, not marble. Third, it’s a rotten metaphor, most unfortunate in a professional writer.
The PM’s attachment to giant socialist projects seems to be not only intellectual, but also emotional. Thus he claimed that his own Covid ordeal taught him “love and admiration for the NHS”.
This is a classic trick of socialist propaganda, encouraging people to love and admire socialist enterprises, rather than weighing their pros and cons rationally.
Instead of worshipping the NHS like some pagan demiurge, people should be encouraged to compare it with other ways of providing medical care, those practised by other Western countries. Such an exercise would show how woefully ineffective and exorbitantly expensive the NHS is.
The word “taught” suggests that before his own illness Mr Johnson had felt no love and admiration for the NHS. That certainly didn’t come across during his campaign, when he pledged unwavering loyalty to that socialist contrivance.
The crisis could be a “springboard for our ambitions”, Mr Johnson concluded. That much is doubtless true, if “our” means the modern socialist state, and the word “ambitions” denotes its in-built imperative for self-aggrandisement.
Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t have put it better himself.