Batten down the hatches: a Corbyn government could be on the way

It is, I’m afraid, time to prepare your personal finances for a Corbyn government. The collapse of May’s well-meaning but inept government and replacement by a neo-socialist Labour government is now a high enough risk that not to prepare for it would be pretty foolish. Remember how neither David Cameron nor Jean-Claude Juncker bothered to prepare for Brexit? Quite.

So what should you be doing?

The first thing to note is that whatever you do you will want to do it quite quickly: John McDonnell has said that Labour wants to “hit the ground running”  with tax rises and sweeping changes to employment legislation introduced immediately, and nationalisation proposals “all on the shelf”.

So think first about your income and your savings. It is more or less certain that ncome tax will rise – for “the rich” at least. There may be new bands at £70,000 or £80,000, and rates on current additional-rate payers are bound to rise. So review your spending. Cut where you can and prepare to live on less – and if you are very highly paid, substantially less. There has already been talk of a national maximum wage and it seems unlikely that many multi-million-pound pay packets will last long in a new era of social justice.

Next, think about getting rid of your buy-to-let investments. The current government hasn’t exactly been kind to landlords (buyers now have to pay a 3 percentage point surcharge on purchases and their ability to write off mortgage interest against rents has been slashed). But socialism has a long history of loathing landlords, and Corbyn has already proposed rent controls – something that I suspect will be the last straw for the finances of many small landlords. It also wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see a new annual wealth tax of some kind imposed on holiday and rental properties. Now is as good a time as any to sell up.

You might also fix the mortgage on your primary residence if you haven’t already done  so.  Back in October it came out that Labour had been war-gaming for a proper run on the pound. That’s far from a certainty – today’s markets are remarkably forgiving and a new Labour government could start more carefully than Momentum might hope. But if it happens it could mean rising imported inflation at exactly the same time as huge (and unfunded) public spending promises will be freaking out international bond investors about the UK’s creditworthiness. Interest rates will rise – particularly if a Corbyn government removes the Bank of England’s independence and suggests it prints yet another new pile of money. Mortgage rates will rise with them.

Next look to your savings – both in terms of the structures you keep them in and the asset classes you hold. I’m not much worried about Individual Savings Accounts (Isas). These haven’t quite gained the religious status of the NHS in the British psyche, but they aren’t far off; it would be a particularly stupid politician who meddled with them. Your pension is a different matter.

The current annual contribution allowance for those of us with defined contribution schemes is £40,000 and the lifetime allowance is £1m. £1m isn’t enough to generate a rich person’s income (by a long stretch). But it sounds like a lot of money: the kind of money only “the rich” would have. If you have cash left over after your Isas are filled contribute to your pension sooner rather than later.

Then look at how you invest. The last time the pound fell sharply (immediately after the EU referendum) the FTSE 100 rose nicely in response (a low pound makes it easier for our big exporters to sell abroad). That may not happen this time. Rising sales are likely to be quickly offset by rising regulation, nationalisation and taxation.

According to broker AJ Bell, 42 of the constituents of the FTSE 100 paid less than the UK’s 20% standard rate of income tax last year (for entirely legal reasons); and 11 paid less than 10%. See that lasting? Me neither. Corbyn has already said that the “richest corporations” will be paying a lot more so that his government has the cash to “invest” in infrastructure and public services.

All this suggests you need to be invested even more internationally than usual, despite the fact that UK is one of the few markets offering value anywhere at the moment.

Finally, make sure that the portfolio you end up with is one you fancy for the long term: McDonnell has promised us new taxes on financial transactions, so you could find it more expensive to get out of your holdings than it was to get in.

Next, think about the consequences of a run on the pound. Labour’s war-gaming will have involved talking about capital controls – putting in place systems to prevent money leaving the country and stop complete currency collapse (socialists always blame financiers for pushing down their currencies rather than their own policies). Not many people appear to remember these from their last go round in the 1970s. Those that do will remember that only being able to take £50 out of the country was very restrictive indeed.

Those who are worried that Brexit will crimp freedom of movement might have a bit of a shock in store if the UK goes back to the 1970s. Say goodbye to gap years, cocktails in Dubrovnik and Christmas shopping in New York. It will be over.

You can hedge against the first stage of a weak pound by keeping a stash of foreign currency on a currency card (try Caxton) or on account with a foreign exchange broker (again try Caxton). Otherwise you can open a foreign exchange account with most of the main banks: dollar and euro accounts are relatively easy to get although most providers will either have high minimum balance rules or high charges or both. Or to make absolutely certain that you will still be able to go on holiday even if things do go horribly wrong at home, open an account actually in a foreign country and deposit your cash there.

Finally – one last piece of advice. If you were thinking of avoiding some tax via any kind of avoidance scheme or tax haven, maybe don’t. Corbyn’s reaction to the Paradise Papers doesn’t suggest he’ll be looking kindly on your attempts to optimise your tax affairs. Better to pay up than to be seen as an enemy of the state.

• A version of this article was first published in The Spectator

  • AAJ

    UK politics has been a catalog of disasters;

    *Referendum on leaving the EU – a stupid gamble
    *Terms of referendum – no 16 year olds but people on their death beds? no 60% needed for change. All ill conceived.
    *General Election – against a backdrop of anti establishment and against the fastest growing political party since records began. FFS!

    So, at least this time if you misjudged the referendum or election, you now have a chance to redeem yourself and make some money from the chaos. Is this a sprint for Japan before it becomes over-valued following the recent flood of money heading there?

    • Carl Wells

      Giving 16 year olds a vote is a ridiculous proposition. Nobody who has not worked in the real world should have a vote as they lack the knowledge and life experience to exercise that right sensibly. On the other hand, democratic necessity requires that all groups have representation to ensure their rights are protected and their voice is heard. I think 18 is a perfectly reasonable compromise as that is when half the country first enter the workforce, and one cannot become an MP before 21. I see no reason to change it to 16. As for the unborn billions of the future …

      • ElRoberto

        Compromise? On democracy? There should be no compromise on democracy. No taxation without representation. As soon as you are taxed, you should get the vote. I believe 16 is when people can start earning. Also, when they can start dying for their country. They should also have the right to vote

        • Apollocreed

          If they are 16 and over but not working – no right to vote!

      • Apollocreed

        Should anyone that does not pay taxes have a vote? I think not. Maybe if you take a break from work then you have credit towards the next 2 elections, but other than that, non-taxpayers vote to take other peoples’ hard-earned money for themselves.

  • Nigel Beevers

    I am genuinely petrified, it feels like everything that I have worked for is under threat. There are clearly unacceptable imbalances in our society and the underlying productivity problem is not understood never mind getting fixed, but the foolish and the sinister seem to feel that destroying everything is a route to a solution. We can not afford what we think we deserve yet no party is prepared to face up to this and start a real discussion on how to allocate the scarce resource. We must start to decide what we are not going to spend on rather than what catastrophic borrowing level is needed to pay for everything.

    • Peter Edwards

      Corbyn has zero chance of getting in, this is just scaremongering.

      I wish he did get in though as having the same government with variations of the same policies causes stagnation.

      I like the idea of tax on financial assets, and a tax on higher bands is always welcome.

      • quark

        There is such a thing as fair taxation and theft. A tax on assetts is theft, especially if you have worked for them, taken business risk, provided employment for others and reaped the reward of taking a chance and working for yourself. You obviously wouldn’t know about business risk. The risk of bankruptcy, generating new business and worrying whether your biggest customer will eventually pay his bills. Your comment was crass and typical of an unambitious and envious individual.

        • ElRoberto

          Tax on land is the opposite of theft. Taxpayers increase the value of land by investing in schools, railways, roads, bridges etc. Then the increased value goes to a landlord who has done nothing to earn the increased value. Land value tax would return at least some of that money to taxpayers, allowing tax on work and effort to be cut.

          Although not yet officially policy, Corbyn’s Labour has suggested land value tax to replace business rates and council tax. Both would fall to zero.

          • quark

            There are other assets apart from land, that have been earned. Look at the wealth tax in France, which Macron wants to abolish. They even tax your car and furniture.

            • ElRoberto

              Pure speculation based on what? – he is a socialist – that he is looking to tax such. I see no actual evidence of it. Income tax on those above £80k, and a tax on financials speculation, landlords and property developers – empty properties and landbanking. The rest is the panic of the bogey word socialist.

              Other than that, you have a huge investment/spending – call it what you will – in public housing, and rent controls. The theory against rent controls is nonsense. Acc to market theory, rent controls would lead to landlords selling some properties, which would bring down house prices – absolutely essential requirement – and bring yields back to where they are. In fact, a policy of higher interest rates will probably lead to higher yields – on much lower prices.

              If instead of looking at anti Corbyn sites/ publications including most of the BBC, check out what his supporters and the policy docs are saying: And it is only what I have written above.

              • quark

                Corbyn has actually mooted a wealth tax. Its no speculation. And whilst Corbyn was living in a fine country house with a garden when he was a boy, I lived in a tiny rent controlled flat. I know the consequences. No maintenance for a start. Eventually the Landlord sold out for a song and my mother was forced out by the new Landlord who made living there intolerable. I also know about Socialism. I was a Socialist once because we were so poor. I can tell you, our Socialism was borne out of envy. Its only the middle class Socialists who believe in social justice to salve their guilty consciences. Seamus Milne is a Communist who admired the East German model. O’Donnell believes in revolution in the streets. Corbyn admired the Venezualen system. He also admired the IRA, broadcast on Iranian press TV, a country that executes children, welcomes extremist racist clerics. These three men alone demonstrate that Clement Attlee was a liberal compared to them. Ask yourself why they think that they will need exchange controls if they get into power? Because, like their Venezualen friends, they will eventually ruin this country and strip any middle classes that are left. As always, the poor will suffer most.

          • Apollocreed

            Adam Smith, Henry George, Prof. Mason Gaffney and Fred Harrison have written profusely about why Land Value Taxes are the fairest type of taxation and income and Capital Gains should be tax-free, However, politicians have always ignored good advice, except for Lloyd-George, Philip Snowden and Churchill who were blocked by the House of Lords from instituting an LVT.

      • AAJ

        “Corbyn has zero chance of getting ”

        Looking at the charts leading up the last election. Corbyn was about 2 weeks away. If the election had been delayed by 2 weeks, he would be in power with a coalition.

    • Jonathan Lee

      Nigel I’m totally you on this.
      When BoE bonds are junk
      When we have the most hostile corporation tax in the developed world
      They will bring in a wealth tax.

      The likes of me have no foreign connection. I own my own home (not a liquid asset)I have contributed to my pension for 32 years (I’m 54 so still 14years ahead), I have young children. I’m too old to emigrate nowhere to hide.

      The only answer I can think of is gold. Not etf crap the physical small denotations eg sovereigns.

      WARNING I understand Bullion dealers have to report transactions greater than £8K per annum to HMRC.

      So spread purchases around .

      • King karl Crompton

        Bullion dealers require identification for all transactions even if over the counter, even if they don’t send the details to HMRC.

        So Corbyn’s cronies will come knocking on your door in the end.

        The local Jeweller may be the only option.

        • Horiboyable .

          Who wants to pay retail for gold @ 100% + markup.
          Put an add online and buy old jewelry at weight.

        • Andrew Crow

          Nonsense. Leave bullion to the big boys. Buy some coins. As currency they aren’t taxable. If you can afford enough to worry about ..lucky you. If they really worry you, spend the buggers. You only live once and you’ll be a long time dead.

          • Nigel Beevers

            There you go again Andrew “lucky you” you seem to know a few lucky people.

      • Horiboyable .

        I dont know whom you have your pension with but I would take a very close interest in it. Many municipalities in the states are starting to have issues already. In this age of interest rates suppression it is causing many pension funds to take on water and in their search for yield they are being forced to take on riskier positions. Most pension schemes when they started had modeled a 6 to 8% interest rate which of course they have not been able to achieve for the last decade and there have been reports that UK pension funds are 600 to 800 billion short.

        This is not going to end nicely.

        PS: from a very young age I knew I had to be a multiple passport holder. You never trust the state, they eventually turn on their own citizens hence the second amendment.

      • Andrew Crow

        And consider cryptos carefully too. Gold is not currently behaving as it ‘ought’ to do. Bitcoin looks like a bubble, but to some extent it’s doing exactly what gold (and other precious metals) would be expected to do with Trump threatening nuclear war with N Korea).

        • ElRoberto

          I’m so pissed off that i went heavily into gold and silver as MW recommended. Had i followed the advice of others – on exactly the same rationale as for gold and silver – and instead gone for bitcoin, I could now afford a home.

          As it is I will be enthusiastically be voting for Corbyn.

      • Andrew Crow

        Technically your home is not a financial asset at all. It’s a material asset because you can live in it but financially that makes it a liability.
        The nonsensical belief in homes as financial assets is one major reason why the economy is such a mess. Remember what caused the GFC?

        A home is a home. And if you own it think yourself lucky: many of the upcoming generation never will.

        • ElRoberto

          And they will be voting for Corbyn as a result.

          Corbynism is simply due to this current economic system being a failure. Many people are whingeing here because they believe the earned the value of their house. People’s high house price is down to banks printing money, and then when the collapse came, the corrupt system has been kept going by central banks and this government (Help to Buy) printing money.

      • ElRoberto

        I’m 44. I cannot afford a home. I have worked all my life, got two degrees, speak two foreign languages. Evidently i do not deserve a roof over my head.

        Corbyn’s polices should be focused on bringing house prices down. That will mean at least a small rise in interest rates, and taking back some of the QE money for banks. Long overdue.

        That would be the best policies for narrowing the horrendous wealth gap in Britain.

        • john h

          44 and not in a position to own a home. Are you in the south ?

          In the north you could easily own a house.

          The main issue with housing is the supply and this is artificially restricted by planning. We need a big look at the planning system

      • Apollocreed

        Buy with the Perth Mint in Australia or Global Gold in Switzerland.

    • AAJ

      “I am genuinely petrified, it feels like everything that I have worked for is under threat”

      I can certainly relate to this. My personal situation is that after years of being a financial disaster I am finally making some money and paying into a pension. I am desperate not to have a miserable retirement living in poverty. However, the future is not looking so bright and I am sure it is just a matter of time that politicians will take my hopes and dreams away from me.

      • Horiboyable .

        The social contract in this country was you could retire at the age of 60 – 65 and you paid accordingly but they keep pushing the age further away. Now they run TV campaigns; “I’m In”, encouraging me to pay in again. Why would any body pay in a second time when the state has already stolen your first contribution. Don’t be a sucker for punishment, they will take the second contribution too.

        Make no mistake they will steal your money. In Hungary citizens woke up one morning to an announcement that the state was confiscating ALL private pensions. Gordon Brown already did that with the “Windfall Tax”.

        When the state is broke, nothing is safe. They will send HMRC goons to your home to stick their hands down the back of your sofa.

        • ElRoberto

          Gordon Brown, Cameron and this lot along with bust banks and the BoE have stolen the entire dreams and hopes and futures of the young. And all those hopes have instead gone to older people’s house price and other asset bubbles.

          All that brick wealth has been stolen from the young via a corrupt and failed economic system.

          That system has to go. and there is only one man to do it. And he will

          • quark

            And you genuinely think, that a man who celebrated the Venezuelan system can change our system for the better? Good luck with that then.

            • Andrew Crow

              Don’t underestimate the extent to which US foreign policy has consistently destroyed South American economies. Not least via its drugs policies, but oil price manipulation has been a major factor in the chaos we live amongst.
              And Brexit will leave the UK economy wide open for plunder. That is what it’s for.

            • ElRoberto

              McDonnell is the important man, not Corbyn. He is the shop window. And Venezuela is a third world country, not a mature industrial democracy. His emotional support for it is irrelevant.

              Britain has its own deep problems, based on record and rising consumer debt levels and a govt that thinks you can solve that with lower pay (er, more debt required), higher house prices through money printing for banks and Help to Buy (lots more debt), and trebling tuition fees (more debt). They are idiots, and must go. And yes, Corbyn would be better. The ideas coming out of Labour include: Soft Brexit, land value tax to replace council tax and business rates, build council flats, end tuition fees. All of that would mean lower consumer debt. I sincerely hope it includes ending QE – although i would support some for cutting student debts – and some rise in interest rates. The latter would create deep problems, but along with higher pay, and no council tax, it would be doable.

    • Andrew Crow

      I’m pleased you are having to think about the consequences of having enough to worry about. Lucky you.

      You’ve done well out of a broken and abusive economic system. Now all you have to do is rethink how to adapt to changing circumstances. There will be no shortage of opportunities to invest in an alternative future.

      Don’t succumb to fear. Get your brain in gear. And for heavens sake try to understand how the economy and the banking system work. All money is debt. Banks create money by creating debt. That’s how it works. If you simply accept the orthodox mainstream narrative you you will get minced.

      • Nigel Beevers

        Hi Andrew, I guess you would expect me to balk at the phrase “lucky you” however my post dose seem a little “selfish” in retrospect. Whist I understand your technical point about debt being a mechanism but the level of indebtedness you would accept is drag on the ability to generate and realise value. If central government policy succumbs to the idea that debt is just a mechanism and hence can be abused I assert that we will all suffer as options diminish and the cost of servicing that debt diverts valuable resources. My “pile” is not about greed as I think you imply but about resilience , or would you have me rely on the already overburdened state?

        • Andrew Crow

          Look, I don’t expect you to feel guilty about having worked hard and kept your head above water. It’s what we’re all supposed to do and it’s worked out quite nicely for some people and not so well for others. People who are worried about the level of national debt should welcome the prospect of a Labour government because the debt usually only goes down when there’s a Labour government. Tory record on increasing the debt is not widely reported, but it’s what they generally do. Current policy since 2008 has been utterly useless as a strategy to reduce debt: entirely counterproductive. Austerity has closed down the economy and made it impossible to generate recovery. All that money is in the wrong places. And the people who have it are hiding it because they’re terrified they are going to lose it and don’t know how they made it first time round, so not likely to be able to do it again.

          All that QE and low interest rate stuff is a nonsense. All it’s done is piled up heaps of inflation in the asset markets in such a way that they will inevitably come crashing down and destroy everybody’s savings and pensions. It’s quite deliberate I think. 2008 hammered the poorest and the next crash (which will be a lulu) will hammer the middle classes.

          I’m cool about it because I’ve got bugger all to lose. I recommend that if you want to survive financially you get some financial education and don’t expect to find anything very useful in Money Week if Merrilegs’ offering today is the best they can do.

          More wisdom is required to profit from good advice than to give it. Orthodox wisdom will see your savings disappear down the toilet unless a benevolent government is prepared to arrange another massive bailout. Let’s hope they don’t give it all to the bankers next time.

          Start hunting for gurus. And beware of the frauds and wily chancers. Good luck. You’ll need it. We all will.

        • ElRoberto

          Govt using debt to: cut tuition fees, build council houses for cheap rent, fund the NHS, public sector driven industrial investment (the private sector ain’t doing it) will lead to falling private sector debt.

          Free tuition = less personal debt
          Far lower rents via council housing = lower debts
          lower house prices = fa far far lower debt

          Policies in the opposite direction are driving up debts, which yet again are now at record levels, and rising

  • Journolust

    Wow, you’ve really outdone yourself with the speculation here, even for MoneyWeek. No doubt the spectre of the 1970s works well with your readership and their subsequent ad clicks on the website. What sensationalist nonsense. In order to scare us into subscribing to your publication, you should stick to constant warnings about bubbles as usual. You clearly are not up to the job of accurate political analysis.

  • Jack Worth

    The closer a Corbyn government gets the more money will leave the country. I know of two families with foreign connections making plans, disposing of surplus property and opening foreign bank accounts. several others with modern style working practices have mentioned that they can work from nearly anywhere and will leave if necessary.. The trickle will become a torrent and if, god help us, the puppet Corbyn does get to No 10 (for a very short while until he is dispatched) the country will be well and truly up s*** creek.
    As for 16 year old having a vote carefully consider all the other things that would have to be legal for 16 year olds as it would have to become the age of majority.

    • ElRoberto

      Dis[posing of surplus property? Wonderful. In case you are living on another planet, there is an enormous housing crisis: rents too high, not enough property available, sky high prices.

      Corbyn will lead to sales and lower prices? About bloody time. We live in a corrupt, counterfeit economic system that is failing millions. Why the Hell do you think people are so ready to vote for Brexit, Corbyn etc? Do you think it is because the country is at ease with the way things are?

      Get real. If that is remotely possible

  • quark

    How does Merryn feel now about support for leaving the EU? This mess is entirely the fault of the Tory party, David Cameron’s referendum, plus the hard line Tories who forced him into it, Theresa May and her pathetic election campaign …..I could go on, but these clowns have enabled a potential neo Marxist government to sniff power. To my mind, it’s like the neo nazis capturing the Tory party. 2 unacceptable extremes. The Tory Brexiteers are ultimately responsible for this trail of events and they should be ashamed of themselves. What do they prefer? Brexit or a Corbyn government? Oh, and nobody thought about Ireland and the border question, they just posted a disgraceful racist poster which appealed to the lowest common denominator. At 48% to 52% the country is basically split because of the Tory Brexiteers. Corbyn will be a disaster for this country. And the Tories are letting him walk into power. This country is crying out for moderation. Instead we get extremists. I am not crazy about the EU. The structures are undemocratic; but Brexit has turned out to be a politically destructive event for the UK. It’s all the fault of John Major’s “bastards”.

    • Horiboyable .

      I would normally vote right but if there is another election I will vote for Labour because it will bring on the collapse, which will happen anyway just bring it on a lot faster.

      Corbyn will not be able to borrow a single pound on the markets, if he tried to sell any Gilts they would receive “no bids” then its game over. After which no one will be stupid enough to try socialism again. The UK will become the Black Swan event that will send the world into panic and the Euro will fail.

      Get yourself down to Homebase and buy some pitch forks.

      • Andrew Crow

        “Get yourself down to Homebase and buy some pitch forks.”

        Do they accept Bitcoin? The bankers and the Tories have got all my money.

  • disqus_x5UmkDRb7H

    re Brexit and Ireland, I would suggest the answeris very simple
    The Republic is trying to bully UK by saying our terms or we veto. their terms are no hard border. So….
    Call them. Agree no hard border. When they say how, reply No Hard Border. We are not in favour of restrictions on Trade, so won’t impose any.
    There may be a small impact on us, but the Republic would find it hard to argue against it, given its demand for no hard border.
    Europe would hate it (bonus), but their only option would be to impose border controls with the Republic or try to force the Republic to impose a border on us> neither would play well in the Republic. Meanwhile ask Dublin to consider how much of its trade is with the UK.
    Instead of sitting wringing our hands, waiting for a solution to be imposed by Brussels, take the offensive.
    We have nothing to lose but our chains

    • LG

      “We have nothing to lose but our chains”

      You certainly appear to have lost your marbles anyway.

      • disqus_x5UmkDRb7H

        Well, I certainly can’t argue with a well considered and structured arguement like that, can I?
        I suppose insults are all you have left, you poor thing. Hope they keep you warm

    • ElRoberto

      What you are saying is Soft Brexit. No trade restrictions with Ireland means Soft Brexit. Simples

      And on that: Here here

      And a World to gain

  • Andrew Crow

    “……it seems unlikely that many multi-million-pound pay packets will last long in a new era of social justice.”

    Good that you are prepared to call it what it is (or might be).

    “All this suggests you need to be invested even more internationally than usual, despite the fact that UK is one of the few markets offering value anywhere at the moment.” Heaven forfend that the people who have made their ‘pile’ whilst living here should invest in their own country.

    • polidorisghost

      “Heaven forfend that the people who have made their ‘pile’ whilst living here should invest in their own country.”
      How quaint. Still, I used to think that way too, but I no longer recognise this as a country to invest in or defend.

      • Andrew Crow

        And that’s what 40 years of neoliberal pillaging has brought us to.

        Time for a change of plan don’t you think?

      • Hibernating Dormouse

        I’ll donate my pile to a cats home in Mumbai. Shall not
        invest in a country that no longer has my best interest. I’ll
        do no more than invest hazelnuts in the UK and for a dormouse
        that is generous.

    • disqus_x5UmkDRb7H

      People do not invest out of patriotism, but out of a desire to make money whether it be to fund retirement, lifestyle or another other choice.
      What people give to the country, they do through taxation. Do you send the Chancellor an extra cheque to show him how much you love him and your country?
      I didn’t think so

      • Andrew Crow

        No but I spend what I’ve got. And spend it locally.

        Follow your money. Show me an intelligent and financially literate chancellor and maybe……

        • disqus_x5UmkDRb7H

          Your comment was about investing not spending locally. Two very different things. I spend locally and invest anywhere to make a return.
          If you want an intelligent and financially literate chancellor, we may have to pay a lot more than MP wages. People like that command high salaries in the business world. Not footballers £5+ million a year, but a few hundred thousand. We don’t offer that

          • Andrew Crow

            “If you want an intelligent and financially literate chancellor, we may have to pay a lot more than MP wages.”

            No, I don’t think so. You need a chancellor who hasn’t got his snout in the trough. Cutting stamp duty will do him more good (via his property portfolio) than it will to first time buyers. Hammond’s budget favours those already firmly on the ladder.

            Sheer hypocrisy. Unless he really doesn’t understand what he’s done, but I think that unlikely.

  • Carl Wells

    Even if Corbyn does get in, surely it is unlikely that some of his most radical proposals would get through parliament, and could also be blocked by the Lords. Although we saw little of that with Art. 50 powers given to the gov despite apparent impassioned speeches to the opposite.

    • polidorisghost

      What have impassioned speeches got to do with it?

      • Carl Wells

        usually when one makes an impassioned speech to vote a particular way, one might be expected to vote accordingly, and especially on a subject such as Brexit, one of the most important and controversial policy changes in decades, and where one might reasonably be expected to rebel. But no … even Labour MPs voted to empower the government to exercise Art. 50, and the Lords did not see fit to block the legislation despite populist under (or even, overtones), despite that being their constitutional role.

      • Andrew Crow

        Hilary Benn’s impassioned (BS) speech on Syria seemed to be quite effective. Unless you happened to be living in Syria. I’ve rarely heard such emotional drivel, but the BBC seemed to like it. Apparently it was a remarkable piece of oratory.

        • ElRoberto

          Mr Benn is yesterday’s man. the last futile cry of the neoliberal, warmongerer falsely trading as a progressive. A bit like the Beeb, too

          New Labour is dead.

          • Andrew Crow

            New Labour will be officially dead when it has the appropriate stake hammered through it’s heart. At present it’s just playing possum.
            Hilary Benn is alive and well and malevolent as ever.

    • ElRoberto

      The Lords can block manifesto pledges for just one year., Were I Corbyn, I’d flood the Lords with his own. The set about turning it into an elected Senate.

      the Beeb will probably call it a purge

      • Carl Wells

        one year? it used to be two … but that would be sufficient to block populist legislation as it would not return or support would be weakened if truly populist.

  • DLl M

    How do you feel now about your ‘Leave the EU’ vote, Merryn? I’m having severe doubts about mine. Clearly, it was a mistake to trust the Tory Government to negotiate competently for a sensible, pragmatic Brexit: Theresa May’s objectives (including immediate exit from the Single Market) were at best overambitious, and at worst fundamentally wrong. And the operational ineptitude that you mention appears to grow worse day by day.

    So I understand why you’re making ‘prepare for Corbyn’ investment recommendations, but trust you realise that if everyone follows them (i.e. moves their savings out of the UK and Sterling) then the impact of a messy hard Brexit will be made even worse. If that is followed by a Corbyn/McDonnell government, the debacle will be complete. So should the editor of a major UK investment publication be making such recommendations? I can’t answer this question, but I do know that if Corbyn is elected, then a mismanaged Brexit will have been the primary reason.

    You refer to Brexit above only in passing, but it’s the elephant in the room, I’m afraid. Despite my firm belief that the UK should not be part of the EU project, I think that I’d like the clock to be rewound to 23 June 2016. We should leave the EU, but not like this.

    • disqus_x5UmkDRb7H

      I doubt there was ever any other way to leave. Europe doesn’t want us to go, not because they love us but because we might encourage others. They will very much miss our financial input as well. So they intend to make it as hard for us as they can. That is their right, but it only goes to show themselves in a bad light.
      Free trade is not a bad thing, it is a good thing. Barriers to free trade are a bad thing. We should have as few barriers as possible. I would like to see us tell Europe that we will not impose barriers, but they can if they want or feel they must. That way the victims of their barriers will understand who is imposing them.
      A calm, sensible discussion was always going to be the best way to organise the leaving process. It was also never going to happen because the wants/needs of the two sides are diametrically opposite. We want a nice, peaceful divorce with minimal impact on people here or in Europe. That doesn’t suit them, it might encourage others.
      Few divorces are ever simple or friendly. Adding lawyers inevitably makes these matters worse. But this too shall pass and we can get back to being good neighbours

      • DLl M

        There were, and still are, other ways to leave. We should do so gradually, because our economy has become deeply interwoven with the EU over 40+ years, under an increasingly complex set of market rules. Detailed plans have been recommended by those who understand those rules – for example the Leave Alliance’s Flexcit proposal (

        These recommendations have been ignored by a cavalier and ignorant Government that decided, without proper analysis, to quit the Single Market immediately, because it wrongly prioritised immigration cuts over everything else. At the time of that decision it had no real understanding of the economic impact, as David Davis has finally admitted at today’s Select Committee meeting.

        Now that the Government is hitting the buffers (e.g. over Ireland and the non-existent impact assessments) it will perhaps be forced to change course: we must hope so.

        • disqus_x5UmkDRb7H

          While it may have been theoretically possible to leave in a gradual process, it would be politically impossible.
          Those who wish to leave because of immigration, whose views I understand but do not agree with, would not accept a leave on the never never. These voters are sufficiently large in number that mobilised as they were before by UKIP they could wreak havoc in parliament. People felt sufficiently strongly in enough swing seats that we would have ended up with a more extreme government, bound to the whims of a single issue party.
          Accept it. This is happening. We march forward and make the best of it. Always have. Always will

          • Andrew Crow

            Nobody could ‘wreak havoc’ in parliament and it be noticeable. It’s an effin’ shambles.

          • DLl M

            I have to disagree. Firstly, the current Government plan (insofar as there is one) will have us continue in the EU for c. two more years of ‘implementation’, during which free movement will continue – so we’ll be on the ‘never never’ anyway. The Flexcit proposal would have us join the EEA as the first step, where there’s a good chance (no guarantees, of course) that we’d be able to work out some form of initial relief on free movement via Article 112 of the EEA agreement. We’ll never know unless we try.

            And when you say ‘This is happening’, after the events of this week I have to ask what you think ‘this’ is, unless it’s just ‘no deal’. Because at present they appear to be trying to square a circle. Let’s hope for a miracle!

      • Andrew Crow

        There’s no such thing as ‘free trade’. Don’t be silly.

    • ElRoberto

      The major reason for a coming Corbyn govt is high house prices. That comes from a rigged and corrupt economic system – most who have profited from it evidently do not recognise they have and presumably believe they earned those insane house prices.

      But it is fundamentally because that corrupt system has also failed. Negative interest rates may keep it going a while longer like a life support machine, but they are a drug with terrifying side effects: record consumer debts, and houses no one can afford.

      People are desperate. And there is no way out of this. The young to middle age are voting Corbyn. There will be more of them next time. the old are voting Tory. there will be fewer of them

  • Dan C

    What they should aim for is:

    *introduce a land value tax of 0.5%
    *flatten income tax to 25% for ALL, starting at 15k
    *dividends and interest tax free except being caught by income tax rule
    *cut corporation tax to 10%
    *eliminate business rates
    *outlaw the use of tax havens
    *eradicate VAT
    *public servant pay rises to match higher of CPI or RPI


    *raise interest rates – say to 3%
    *nationalise those industries which can never really be privatised effectively – trains, water, power etc
    *stop TFS, QE etc
    *energy security
    *stop expensive wars in other country
    *start a social housing building spree