Sunday, 28 May 2017

Review of Labour Manifesto

This is a quick review of the manifesto of the Labour Party, based on the bullet-point summary provided by the BBC here.  I will make a brief comment on each bullet and award a score as follows:

  • 2 points if I agree and it is important, or I very strongly agree
  • 1 points if I agree but I don't consider it important
  • 0 points if I am unsure or don't care
  • -1 points if I disagree but I don't consider it important
  • -2 points if I disagree and it is important, or I very strongly disagree

To clarify, since I am libertarian I will give a positive score to any policy that increases liberty and a negative score to any policy that decreases liberty.

I have done a similar review of the manifesto of the Conservative Party here.  I'll do the same for the Lib Dems and UKIP over the coming days.  I have already written a detailed review of the Libertarian Party manifesto here.


Health and Care


  • -2: The NHS doesn't need more funding, the system is flawed and we need a free market in healthcare.  £30bn is a huge increase in funding, far more than the £8bn pledge from the Conservatives
  • -2: Privatisation should be extended to cover the entire health care system, not reversed.  The partial and piecemeal privatisation from the Conservatives amounts to corporatism, where private businesses and the state are in partnership.  The full benefits of privatisation will only come when the whole system is private
  • -1: Such a guarantee would require a massive increase in funding, and even then is doubtful.  Private providers operating in a free market are more likely to achieve that target
  • -1: Every person should pay for their own care or find somewhat willing to voluntarily pay for them; taxpayers should not be forced to pay.

Brexit


  • -2: We sensibly voted to leave the EU, and this includes leaving the single market and customs union, as was made clear before the referendum
  • +1: Almost no one wants EU citizens living here legally to be deported.  Even if no deal is reached with the EU, they would not be deported.  This makes it pointless to use them as a "bargaining chip" in the negotiations, and creates unnecessary uncertainty.
  • -1: There are some so-called "workers' rights" and "environmental protections" that should be removed after we have completed our withdrawal, so we should not now hamstring ourselves by committing to maintain them.
  • -2: I can't think of a worse negotiating strategy than to say that we will accept any deal rather than leaving with no deal!  Obviously that creates an incentive for the EU to give us the worst possible deal!  The Conservatives and UKIP are right that no deal would be better than a bad deal (and better than remaining in the EU).

Immigration


  • +1: While the UK has a welfare state, socialised industries and state subsidies, freedom of movement is unworkable.
  • -1: Free markets handle changes in conditions (such as an increased population) better than any state planner ever could, so there is no need for this fund.
  • -1: Why?  This seems like an arbitrary way to manipulate the net migration figures.
  • 0: The main problem with immigration is bad policy, not enforcement; unlike in the US, where ILLEGAL immigration is a major problem, in the UK the problem is uncontrolled LEGAL immigration.  Policies should be changed.  Having said that, additional border guards may be needed to ensure the new policies are enforced; I would need more information to decide whether I agree with this policy.

Economy and Taxes


  • -2: Stimulus packages prevent the market from recovering from a previous distortion of the market caused by central banks.  It is an immoral transfer of wealth from taxpayers to support companies that are wasting resources.   
  • +2: Taxation is theft and economically destructive, so should be eliminated, or at least reduced, and certainly not increased
  • -2: See above.  Theft from "the rich" is still theft, and still economically destructive.
  • -2: See above.  The corporate tax rate was cut from 28% to 19% by the Conservatives and this INCREASED corporate tax receipts.  By reversing these cuts, receipts would likely reduce, as well destroying marginal businesses and jobs, and making products more expensive.

Education and Family


  • -1: People that wish to go to university to pay for it themselves; taxpayers should not
  • -1: Parents that wish to use childcare should pay for it themselves; taxpayers should not
  • -1: Teachers, like everyone else, should be paid according to the value they produce (their marginal productivity), and the only way to ensure this is to have a free market in schooling and let individual schools decide how much they pay each teacher
  • -1: Class sizes should be lower, but the way to do this is to have a free market in schooling, not by increasing funding for a failing socialist system.  Parents (or private charities) should pay for their children to eat; taxpayers should not.

Housing


  • -2: Price controls are always economically destructive.  Maximum price laws create shortages; a maximum rent law will prevent housing supply from rising to meet demand.  
  • -1: Government should not be in the business of owning houses; all council houses should be sold immediately, and the right-to-buy policy is one way to do this, so it should be kept and expanded.
  • -1: See above.  Government should get out of the way so that the private sector can build the houses needed to meet demand.
  • -1: See above.  Private charities can help people that need help, and can do so much more efficiently and effectively than government can.

Welfare and Pensions


  • -1: Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidise pensioners.  Winter fuel payments, if needed, should be paid by private charities, not the state.  It should be up to bus companies to decide whether to allow pensioners to travel for free.  State pensions should be privatised, but until they are they should not increase at a rate above both inflation and wages, because this is effectively a forced transfer to pensioners from younger people who are working hard to make ends meet
  • -1: The welfare system should be privatised, so that everyone can decide for themselves who is deserving of their charity.  Private charity is better targeted and delivered more effectively than welfare payments.  
  • -1: The way to increase employment is to allow free markets: lower taxes, fewer regulations, no price controls and by privatising socialised industries.  With free markets, employment and wages would be maximised, lessening the need for welfare top-ups.
  • -1: People that want or need a carer should pay for it themselves or find someone who will pay for them voluntarily; taxpayers should not be forced to do so.

Foreign and Defence


  • +1: A review is needed, and hopefully it will find that we will be safer if we stop aggressing against foreign nations, and instead refocus the armed forces on defending this country.  
  • -1: We are spending about 2% now, and that should be reduced by refocusing the armed forces as above.
  • -2: Individuals should be able to decide who receives the money they wish to spend on charitable causes.  Government international aid is typically ill-targeted, inefficient and increases corruption, such as by supporting dictatorships in Africa
  • -1: If veterans want home insulation they should pay for it themselves or find someone who will pay for them voluntarily; taxpayers should not be forced to do so.

Future of the UK


  • 0: This would be a waste of time and money; as the example of the USA proves, a Constitution is powerless to limit government or prevent them from violating fundamental rights.
  • -1: Nobody should be able to vote themselves more money at the expense of someone else; suffrage should be reduced, not expanded.
  • -2: If the Scots want to secede, they should certainly be allowed to.  Being kept in the UK against their will is a clear violation of the principle of self-determination.
  • 0: This seems like a waste of time and money, since England already dominates the UK.  Far better to allow Scotland, NI and Wales to secede (or grant them more autonomy) so that UK ministers become de facto ministers for England.

Transport and Environment


  • -2: Government should not be involved in the transport industry; it should end the monopolistic Network Rail, stop subsidising and regulating rail companies and allow genuine competition instead
  • -1: Government should not be involved in running bus services
  • -1: No legislation should be passed in the name of preventing pollution.  The best way to prevent harmful pollution is for the courts to enforce genuine property rights, treating pollution as an invasion of private property.
  • -1: Government should not be involved in the energy industry or deciding between different forms or methods of generating power.

Overall

  • Health and Care: -6
  • Brexit: -4
  • Immigration: -1
  • Economy and Taxes: -4
  • Education and Family: -4
  • Housing: -5
  • Welfare and Pensions: -4
  • Foreign and Defence: -3
  • Future of the UK: -3
  • Transport and Environment: -5

Final Score: -39


Have I been fair in my review?  Do you agree with how I have scored the policies?  Let me know in the comments below.

Don't forget to check out my similar review of the Conservative manifesto here.  Over the next few days, I'll do a similar review of the Lib Dem and UKIP manifestos.




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