Why Bernard Ingham was totally wrong about Jeremy Corbyn and Labour in his latest article: Yorkshire Post Letters

Yorkshire Post columnist Bernard Ingham.
Yorkshire Post columnist Bernard Ingham.
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From: Dr Simon Sweeney, Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy and Business, University of York.

Bernard Ingham’s article on Jeremy Corbyn (The Yorkshire Post, November 6) is a disgrace even by his standards. To label the Labour Party as ‘totalitarian Marxist’ is absurd.

Totalitarianism advocates complete state control over thought, the economy and property. It demands subservience and loyalty to single Party control over elections, all publishing and media. It militarises the state and places rulers above the law. Nothing resembling this is in prospect no matter who wins the election in December.

To argue that EU membership condemns the world’s fifth or sixth largest economy to ‘penury’ is outrageous. Is it not possible that this prosperity (not shared by all, of course) is precisely because the UK is a leading player in arguably the world’s largest single market?

Ingham wants us to quit this market, even though it is the UK’s largest export market worth £263bn in 2018, more than five times trade with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa combined.

Ingham says Corbyn ‘would break up the UK’. But the Brexit he craves is a far greater threat. Johnson’s ‘deal’ has alienated the Democratic Unionist Party – justifiably shocked by Tory willingness to put a border down the Irish Sea despite the PM’s promise last year that no such arrangement could be contemplated.

We also know from polling by Tory donor Lord Ashcroft that 76 per cent of Tory Leave voters in England would accept Scottish independence to get Brexit, and 76 per cent would accept a united Ireland. It is a bit rich to accuse others of threatening the Union.

Ingham says Corbyn will ‘open the floodgates to immigrants’. This is gas-lighting of the worst possible kind. No one legally enters the UK without showing a passport. EU citizens entering the UK without employment or independent means can be returned to their country of origin after three months, according to EU law.

EU workers are already leaving the UK, or not coming, because of the threat of Brexit. The NHS, social care and the hospitality sector are all suffering labour shortages. A dire lack of agricultural and horticultural workers has led to thousands of tonnes of fruit and vegetables rotting in UK fields this autumn.

These are facts. The real threat to UK democracy is not a Labour government, but that hysterical bluster rather than truth may be more effective in securing voters’ support in the election.