Corbyn may adopt a Basic Income!

The Basic Income Earth Network announced yesterday (8th August) that Jeremy Corbyn has enlisted Richard Murphy to draft his economic policy. In April 2013 Murphy co-authored a pamphlet with Howard Reed Financing the social State: towards a full employment economy, in which they advocate a Basic, or Citizens’ Income as part of a comprehensive reform of the tax and benefit system.

This is the most significant news I have heard for a long time. What I have been shouting for 42 years, apparently vainly, has suddenly become a realistic possibility: the adoption of the Citizens’ Basic income by a leading politician. Even if Jeremy Corbyn does not become Labour Leader, at least the idea should at long last get the mainstream airing it should have been given by the Green Party in the general election campaign. Provided Natalie Bennett is properly briefed, recognizing the Basic Income as important, she can now say what she should have said then.

But the reality is sobering. Even though I have been screaming that the anti-authority case is impotent without the Basic income, I realize that its sudden appearance on the scene now presents Corbyn with a very difficult tactical choice. Most of the people who have taken the trouble to put themselves in a position to vote for the Labour leader will also have taken the trouble to hear that interview with Andrew Neil, at which the Basic Income idea seemed not to have been properly thought out, and they will have read in the Guardian that it might make some families worse off (technically true, but maliciously misleading). Richard Murphy and Howard Reed do explain the case for the Basic Income coherently, and argue, convincingly to a layman at least, that austerity policies were predicated on wrong assumptions. But voting closes less than 5 weeks from this announcement, and Ed Balls has yet to comment on behalf of the still dominant Labour view. Desperate as I am to get the Basic Income publicized, it may lose Corbyn the leadership.

But if the anti-austerity tide is sufficient to carry Corbyn to victory without the Basic Income having featured in his campaign at all, he will then have the problem of how to spring it on a Labour Party which will be traumatized anyway.

Jeremy Corbyn would not be my ideal standard bearer for the Basic Income. As I said in response to his emergence as a front-runner, although the Basic income is very socialist in its redistributive effects, I think he will have problems accepting that it opens up some distinctly unsocialist ideas as starting to make sense, for example zero hours contracts.

The clue to Richard Murphy’s approach is evident from the title of his pamphlet: Financing the Social State: towards a full employment economy. He sees the provision of jobs as essential both for personal self-esteem and the macro-economic effect of wages being spent. Fine, until one considers the novel, ecological context, and the destruction of jobs by automation. To be honest, his approach is probably better than mine as a first attempt to explain it to the public, precisely because he is still thinking within the conventional box. Consumer spending must be maintained, there is no mention of ecological, sustainability aspects, and the pamphlet  appears to assume not only that jobs can always be made available for all through government infrastructure projects, with no mention of low rates per hour, but that people should be compelled to accept them. I infer from the pamphlet that Murphy is unlikely to welcome ‘free market’ aspects. I see these in tandem with redistribution as the key to the political future.

Some of the details I envisage differ from Murphy & Reed’s pamphlet. It does not share my ‘Persuasion is better than force’ philosophy that a requirement to work is not only unnecessary, but wrong in principle. But I am impressed by the specific amounts they propose, with unapologetic tax rates to match. I do hope it figures in the Corbyn campaign, and that the Green Party is ready this time.

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4 responses to “Corbyn may adopt a Basic Income!

  1. Hi all, I mentioned a while back prior to the election my interest in producing videos for social media. So far I’ve had little uptake on regards content so was wanting to be more pro-active in getting things moving. My skills are primarily in video production and while I am still learning about policy and process I would like contributors for content to produce a series of continuous online broadcasts. I am attending a rally in Newcastle next week for Jeremy Corbyn, in my position at the People’s Assembly [Complete disclosure – I texted #LABOUR to 78555…]. While I fully support Corbyn’s position and feel he is the only candidate to represent a true opposition to the Tory Party, I am concerned that many of the previously heralded Green Party policies (anti-Austerity, pro Arts pro-migration and anti-negative immigration rhetoric etc.) are quietly being taken oven/appropriated by his campaign, facilitated by other organisations. I want a more definitive online presence to put forward the Green debate in these times where Corbyn is (quite rightly) receiving a lot of attention. I therefore re-propose a YouTube channel to create short videos of material produced on the word press blog by Clive Lord on more National Green Issues on a Wednesday, and by Sandy Irvine’s Facebook Post on more local issues, on a Saturday. As this process involves reworking already completed content I see this email as a general discussion for how to move the project forwards rather than it increasing the already huge workloads of Clive and Sandy. Appreciated this is a fairly ambition so I want to keep them to the following criteria to make it at least feasible: Similar in Style to Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free videos’Promoting Green Party Branding on all contentFocussing on Green perspective and opinions rather than being the ‘Official voice of the Green Party’ as we would obviously need to clear everything through head office. (Although it would be ideal to have some liasing in the future, particularly by the time Natalie arrives in the region). Short & punchy focussing on contemporary questions in the News Ideally 200-300 words for a running time of 90-120 secondsI will record the head shot like a news broadcast and insert links and other footage into the video. Distributed through Facebook and Twitter in order to raise awareness of Green Party Policy. All features MUST be positive – ie. no take down or character assasinations (not that we would!!!) but focussing on solutions not JUST problems.Full credit will be given to content creators Clive & sandy. The title of the YouTube Channel needs to be finalised, it was originally going to be called Blyth Valley News but I think that would be now too colloquial and feel Green Comment may be more suitable. I have done a preliminary audio recording of Clive’s previous Migrants blog post and it runs to about 5 mins but wanted to check this was OK with all parties before proceeding with the actual video and also is clive wanted to make any editorial changes with resect to it being transferred to video from a script. Possibly into a 300 word intro + 500 word extended argument that can be linked to by “if you would like to hear a more in depth discussion on this argument then please click here!”. Or possibly a redrafted 300 word piece focussing on a more singular issues with other issues in separate videos. Please include any links to content or citations as they can be inserted into video. Do people think this is too short to do the arguments justice? Obviously links will be back to the original Clive article as I am trying to make arguments as concise as possible… Next week it would be good to complement the below Citizen’s Income content video with a contribution from Sandy focussing on the Corbyn trip to Newcastle so it can tie in with local press and social media Nest Tuesday 18th. Something like “Why are people waking up to anti austerity now rather than before the election!”, “Why is Corbyn so Popular when the Greens have always been about Austerity?” but obviously a bit less snarky…as long as it is tying in and hi-lighting Green Issues such as Austerity and other core issues. It is my hope that we get some kind of production line going and get a little more traction in the regional and national media on all things Green. Feedback & thoughts.Dawn M: +44 (0)7812 640 734 Skype@DawnFurness

    Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2015 00:50:10 +0000 To: fabulousoperasinger@hotmail.com

    • Hi Dawn. Apols for not replyingimmdiately. Excuse: Trying to limit damage after my Basic Income Conference Fringe did not make the cut. Special apols because I realise you needed a reply before tommorrow 18th.
      You have complete permission to do whatever you want with my material. Let me know if we need to meet up.
      As you may have gathered, I am a bit dissident from the currently projected Green Party image. Neither Caroline L not Natalie B have seen the BI as important enough to take my attempts to brief them seriously. Consequently both have been rubbished on the topic, Caroline by Paxman about 6 years ago, and Natalie last January by Andrew Neil, in the abortive launch of the policy for the election. A U-tube specifically for key party spokespersons would be terrific.

  2. Hi DawnThis looks very interesting. I for one would be interested in something about Basic Income. Never done anything like this so would like to know more about it!I am going to be away now until 30th August but will get in touch cos I know some people who may well be interested too. best wishesAlison

    On Wednesday, 12 August 2015, 17:22, Dawn wrote:

    Hi all,  I mentioned a while back prior to the election my interest in producing videos for social media. So far I’ve had little uptake on regards content so was wanting to be more pro-active in getting things moving. My skills are primarily in video production and while I am still learning about policy and process I would like contributors for content to produce a series of continuous online broadcasts. I am attending a rally in Newcastle next week for Jeremy Corbyn, in my position at the People’s Assembly [Complete disclosure – I texted #LABOUR to 78555…]. While I fully support Corbyn’s position and feel he is the only candidate to represent a true opposition to the Tory Party, I am concerned that many of the previously heralded Green Party policies (anti-Austerity, pro Arts pro-migration and anti-negative immigration rhetoric etc.) are quietly being taken oven/appropriated by his campaign, facilitated by other organisations. I want a more definitive online presence to put forward the Green debate in these times where Corbyn is (quite rightly) receiving a lot of attention.  I therefore re-propose a YouTube channel to create short videos of material produced on the word press blog by Clive Lord on more National Green Issues on a Wednesday, and by Sandy Irvine’s Facebook Post on more local issues, on a Saturday. As this process involves reworking already completed content I see this email as a general discussion for how to move the project forwards rather than it increasing the already huge workloads of Clive and Sandy.  Appreciated this is a fairly ambition so I want to keep them to the following criteria to make it at least feasible: – Similar in Style to Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free videos’ – Promoting Green Party Branding on all content – Focussing on Green perspective and opinions rather than being the ‘Official voice of the Green Party’ as we would obviously need to clear everything through head office. (Although it would be ideal to have some liasing in the future, particularly by the time Natalie arrives in the region).  – Short & punchy focussing on contemporary questions in the News  – Ideally 200-300 words for a running time of 90-120 seconds – I will record the head shot like a news broadcast and insert links and other footage into the video.  – Distributed through Facebook and Twitter in order to raise awareness of Green Party Policy.  – All features MUST be positive – ie. no take down or character assasinations (not that we would!!!) but focussing on solutions not JUST problems. – Full credit will be given to content creators Clive & sandy.

    The title of the YouTube Channel needs to be finalised, it was originally going to be called Blyth Valley News but I think that would be now too colloquial and feel Green Comment may be more suitable.  I have done a preliminary audio recording of Clive’s previous Migrants blog post and it runs to about 5 mins but wanted to check this was OK with all parties before proceeding with the actual video and also is clive wanted to make any editorial changes with resect to it being transferred to video from a script. Possibly into a 300 word intro + 500 word extended argument that can be linked to by “if you would like to hear a more in depth discussion on this argument then please click here!”. Or possibly a redrafted 300 word piece focussing on a more singular issues with other issues in separate videos. Please include any links to content or citations as they can be inserted into video. Do people think this is too short to do the arguments justice? Obviously links will be back to the original Clive article as I am trying to make arguments as concise as possible… Next week it would be good to complement the below Citizen’s Income content video with a contribution from Sandy focussing on the Corbyn trip to Newcastle so it can tie in with local press and social media Nest Tuesday 18th. Something like “Why are people waking up to anti austerity now rather than before the election!”, “Why is Corbyn so Popular when the Greens have always been about Austerity?” but obviously a bit less snarky…as long as it is tying in and hi-lighting Green Issues such as Austerity and other core issues. It is my hope that we get some kind of production line going and get a little more traction in the regional and national media on all things Green. Feedback & thoughts.Dawn M: +44 (0)7812 640 734 Skype@DawnFurness

    Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2015 00:50:10 +0000 To: fabulousoperasinger@hotmail.com

    • Hi Alison. I am not sure how replies to comments works, so in case you don’t see my belated reply to Dawn Furness it says How soon can we start?

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