Labour’s leaked manifesto and the tyranny of TINA

Do you know what’s far worse than Jeremy Corbyn’s nostalgic manifesto, leaked last night to the press a week before it was due to be published? The response to it. The response to it that says, ‘This is mad’, ‘You can’t do that’, ‘FFS’.

All corners of the media set – from brow-furrowing, centrist Labourites to chortling Conservatives – are lining up to have a pop. It’s the ‘Leakiest Suicide Note in History’, tweeted one Blairite commentator, nodding to Michael Foot’s ill-fated Labour manifesto of 1983. ‘Corbyn’s manifesto to take Britain back to 1970s’, shrieks the Telegraph’s splash.

This reaction is the scourge of modern politics writ large, the scourge of Thatcher’s dictum, There Is No Alternative (TINA), the scourge of the elite effort to keep politics on a narrow, technocratic terrain – where the great goal of economics is to massage decline and any change is laughed out as either idealistic or proto-Soviet. The backlash to the Labour leak is narrow-minded, and mind-numbingly boring, to boot.

That’s not to say there’s much in the 43-page Word doc to get that excited about. This is Keynesianism with a state-socialist sheen. For decades, the state has propped up a decaying capitalism, and Corbynomics just takes that one Birkenstock step further. Sort-of-nationalisation, tax rises and more cash for the NHS doesn’t make it Communism.

At best, it’s a Labour Left tribute act, all the old hits. In our zombie economy, burdened by flat-lining productivity and low pay, this is not the new, radical thinking we need to kickstart an economic revival. But commentators currently sticking the knife in are even more bereft of imagination. We do need big ideas, but this reaction simply says: ‘Enough of the big ideas, thanks.’

The left today thinks kicking against TINA means harking back to knackered state socialism. That’s not good enough. The economic status quo is not one of a red-in-tooth-and-claw capitalism, but a moribund economy on life support. But that Corbynomics can be so rinsed purely for daring to stray from the script is bad news for those of us who want real, radical change, who know that the Tory-touted ‘strong economy’ is nothing of the sort.

The tyranny of TINA is the real story of today.

Tom Slater is deputy editor at spiked. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Slater_

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