Douglas Carswell

26 SEP 2016

What's progressive about the Labour party?

62% of Labour members voted for Jeremy Corbyn. 38% voted for Owen Smith. What percentage of the country still cares?

The Labour leadership election pitted 1990s Blair/Brown nostalgics against 1970s CND throwbacks.

People who, three months on, still haven't come to terms with the referendum result against people who, thirty years on, still haven't come to terms with Thatcher.

South Islington against North Islington.

If Labour is lagging in the polls, it's because its whole internal debate takes place within a tiny inner London bubble. The party has become hermetically sealed off from the rest of the country

Just consider: those parts of the party most in tune with the public mood – Labour Brexiteers like Gisela Stuart and John Mann – didn't have a dog in the fight.

So when Jeremy Corbyn talks about his party as the "engine of progress", it's hard to tell if he's being serious. Britain has progressed a lot faster than Labour.

What's retrograde about Labour isn't just Jezza. It's socialism.

Since the Second World War, no system of government has perpetuated suffering for more people than socialism. Whereas no system of government has lifted more people out of subsistence than free-market capitalism.

From Mao's China to Castro's Cuba to Chavez's Venezuela, socialist statism has done nothing but perpetuate poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

Yet these are the leaders Corbyn and his Comrades seem to admire. Chavez's successor, Nicolas Maduro, even tweeted the Labour leader his congratulations.

The Corbynistas can't shake the fantasy that government is better at running people's lives than people themselves. That's why they're relics of the past: they infantilise the electorate.

In the referendum, the majority voted for control. It's a choice we should have more often.

We should be able to vote for control over how our individual shares of education and health budgets are spent. Control over local planning decisions. Control over how we live – without the taxman punishing people for their lifestyle choices.

Labour's implosion presents UKIP with a huge opportunity at the next election. Control is the real progressive alternative we can offer.

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