top of page

Why Corbynism is radical (and what it means for pensions)

The most tweeted action of Corbyn’s first 24 hours as Labour leader was to choose to go to a constituency engagement rather than go on the Andrew Marr show. For Labour apparatchnick schooled in two decades of Blairite PR and spin, this was heresy. But Corbyn is adamant- his outbursts against the media in his acceptance speech demonstrate that he is not going to use the conventional pitches – PM Question Time included – to get his points across.

The press, business leaders and most of all – the City, have got used to pulling politicians’ tails. I doubt they will be pulling Corbyn’s. Indeed, his strength- if he has one – will come from his distancing himself from these paymasters and aligning himself with the people who gave him the mandate he has, the 450,000 people who voted for him- and by extension the voters of this country who he hopes will follow in the same direction.

This refusal to cow-tow to Marr, or the accepted media obligations of a political leader are the outward signs of a much more profound change of direction he wishes to bring to British politicians.

The economic theory is very simple. It is Keynsian, reflationary and deeply socialist. It uses the apparatus of the City (the Bank of England) to regenerate, redistribute and re-organise the British economy.

To what extent he achieves what he is setting out to achieve, is anyone’s guess. We may look back at Corbyn and his policies as an aberration. He may be squashed like the SDP or as Farrage is being squashed. Corbyn may be just another spasm in the death throes of socialism.

But I suspect that a dialectic between left and right is needed in this country. The Conservative- Liberal Coalition more or less extinguished the Liberals as a dissenting voice and the feeble post-Milliband alternatives to Labour leadership were what gave Corbyn his opening.

He has seized it brilliantly – look at the numbers – now he has created a cabinet in his own image and put as his shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. This is a radical declaration of intent that demonstrates he has every intention of turning words into deeds.

The impact of this new way of doing things is going to be interested to watch. In my opinion, there is significant popular support for any politician who is seen to be making his or her own way and speaking his or her own mind. Corbyn has 32 years practice at this and he now has a mandate he could not have considered possible before the last election.

The dialectic between a reformed left and the established right is surely better for Britain than the homogenised stale political and economic quagmire into which we have been sinking.

For small businesses there is hope, for big business there is a challenge and for the financial services industry there is an opportunity to restore some confidence in itself. Let us hope that John Kaye, Con Keating, David Pitt-Watson,George Kirrin, Hilary Salt, Chris Sier and others with radical views on how financial services can serve, are given a platform,

Let’s hope that Corbynomics will  work with the consumerist agenda of Ros Altmann, the Regulators and yes- the Treasury – to deliver something better for the British worker (especially in sickness and in later life).

*this article first appeared on

bottom of page