Jeremy Corbyn’s retro-socialist Labour party have been defeated in a general election. Not merely bested, but genuinely beaten. Their hare-brained prospectus for government was unpopular enough that the party is the first opposition in British history to have substantially fewer seats after nine straight years of the wilderness than they had to start with.
But Labour’s failure should not bring complacency to opponents of socialism. In many ways, socialism is stronger in Britain than it has been for many decades and it will take far more than one election to reverse that trend. Many of society’s great influencers – celebrities, the media and most of all academics – are unabashed supporters of left-wing politics. There is a worrying degree to which that has filtered down to young voters, who are of course the future of the nation. Ultimately, we have to keep making the arguments against the hard left to anyone and everyone.
While TaxPayers’ Alliance polling has foundwidespread support for tax cuts among most of the population, many members of the public are still backing (and voted for) policies like the nationalisation of most public utilities. This is best highlighted by one statistic; the most popular argument in favour of re-nationalisation, more popular than any argument against, is that industries “should be accountable to taxpayers rather than shareholders.” A more pithy argument of the (incorrect, but apparently sometimes persuasive) arguments for socialism would be hard to find. These are the sort of arguments that need to be rebutted.
It is also important to note that while Labour ran on an incredibly radical manifesto, proposing the highest tax burden in British history, the Conservatives were not pushing radical free-market reforms. Indeed, under Conservative manifesto plans the tax burden willstill be at its highest since Clement Atlee’s premiership. Yesterday’s result may have been a blow to socialism, but it was not an unadulterated victory for liberty either. Instead it was a win for tax cuts on working people – encapsulated by the Conservative tax triple lock and national insurance cut. These things should be the focus of taxpayer champion groups like us over coming months.
All of these factors means that the battle for Britain’s soul will continue to rage long after the dust has settled on the election. To win the fight not just against socialism, but in favour of freedom, liberty-lovers must make the case for lower, simpler taxes, better public services and more accountability over how money is being spent. We plan to do just that.